Empire Exhibition, Glasgow 1938

My grandfather used to talk about this lots. He would have been around twenty-two years old and lived pretty much next door in Mosspark, so I guess it would've been a big thing. Well, he always talked about it as such, although it's only in the last ten years (he passed away in 1994) that I've seen pictures of what it was like. It's now clear why he went on about it lots. It's quite amazing. Considerably more amazing than the Garden Festival of 1988, which was so unmemorable, the only thing I remember is my brother eating a baked potato. Not even any gardens. The only remaining building from 1938 is the Palace of Art, which is actually a Palace of Fighting these days, though it still says "Palace of Art" on the front.

It may seem odd that all there is only one remaining building, but it turns out that most of the buildings were only temporary buildings anyway and not built to last. The only two that were supposed to remain after the exhibition were the Palace of Art and the Tait Tower; however, with it being 1938 and war looming, the Tait Tower was taken down, presumably to avoid it being a handy way for German planes to find the Clyde shipyards.

There is a quite remarkable film of it here. Incredibly, for the time, all the film shot of it is in colour. A piece at the beginning looking at the whole thing looks to have been shot practically on the roof of my Grandfather's house, if I've got my bearings right.

The photos were taken by a guy called Reverend Allen. You can see loads more here, which is part of this site, which is dedicated to the exhibition.

The Palace of Art, as was in 1938. The building looks much the same, although the surroundings are good deal duller
This is a smaller tower, not the Tait Tower. I think there may have been three of them
Nice mix of styles here. Most of it is strikingly modern, but there are some exceptions
The entrance
The Tait Tower

These buildings are remarkably modern looking. An element of Art Deco, but in a very minimal style. Indeed to my eyes, the Tait Tower looks considerably more 'modern' than the tower at the science museum.

The typestyle (the one that says "Southern Rhodesia" and is used throughout) is called "Twentieth Century", and was designed a couple of years before. Century Gothic is a modern clone.
The route up to the Tait Tower

It is noticable how many of the notable buildings of the 1950s bear a resemblance to some of the buildings at the Empire Exhibition. It does seem to present a bridge between pre-war styles and the modern approach of post-war Britain.

The reason everyone turns up to art events, to get a cup of tea
Here's hoping they were selling the famous sandwiches
Not really sure what the angle is here, but it's good to have a massive gold, friendly lion. Looks a bit like Noel Edmonds. Maybe not, but Noel Edmonds does look like a lion
The chap in the background has a definite 1930s look
All aspects of the design at this exhibition look amazing