Preview: Story Of London Festival 2011

By Lindsey Last edited 136 months ago
Preview: Story Of London Festival 2011

Vintage may be over but retromania persists. The Story of London festival, throughout August, focuses on 1951.

In its first two years, Story of London acted as an umbrella for a "sprawling conglomerate of events", gathered beneath its all encompassing awning in a Londony yet hotch potch fashion.

This year the Mayor's office has sensibly handed curation to Museum of London and piggybacked on the Southbank's celebrations of the Festival of Britain. Which means a tightly focused and rather subdued selection. We can't help thinking that it's basically been forgotten about this year as everyone in City Hall focuses on the hoo ha to come with Olympic year.

Still, it's good to see five regional museums are involved. The borough museums of Brent, Barking & Dagenham, Haringey, Redbridge and Wandsworth all stage exhibitions and events about how the Festival of Britain was celebrated in their neighborhood. There's an indoor street party at Brent Museum and the world famous Dagenham Girl Pipers recreate their Dagenham Pageant performance at Valence House. Plus you can attend various vintage making and doing sessions, including period swimming hat creation, knitting and decorating bicycles with flowers.

Museum of London throws a Fabulous Fifties Late on 11 August (£8 adults – book now) and there's a day of free stuff at Southbank Centre, including a floral bicycle parade, Asian folk dancing, a revival of a comic opera, Merrie England and the famous Punch and Judy shows that were staged in the Battersea Pleasure Gardens in 1951 on Sunday 28 August.

Find out more (there's not much more to find out) at the Mayor's website.

Last Updated 01 August 2011