Great Britain - Expo Antwerp 1930

Great Britain at the Exhibition Expo Antwerp 1930
© Hersleven

As was natural, Great Britain was one of the first nations to accept the invitation of the Belgian Government to participate in the International Colonial, Maritime and Flemish Art Exhibition in Antwerp.
The Exhibition commemorated the centenary of Belgium's independence.
The British people had helped to win this independence. A colonial section was inevitably necessary for the country, which had acquired territories all over the world for the British Crown. The maritime part of its involvement is equally significant, for a nation of navigators with a long and glorious history1 in the navy. Finally, as a country whose artistic development is largely due to Flemish influence - was Van Dyck not born in Antwerp? - England also wanted to show its appreciation. The prompt decision of the English Government to participate in the Exhibition enabled the British Commission to choose an admirable site, of which the best use was made. The British Government Pavilion is accessible by two bridges, built permanently over the ditch of the fortifications. The building, the plans for which were drawn up by Sir EDWIN LUTYENS, R. A., is circular in shape, flanked by two wings and surmounted by a dome. The interior decoration is by Professor A. E. RICHARDSON, F. S. A.
It was important to decorate and furnish this building within the general framework of the Exhibition. It is to be hoped that this has been achieved by a successful combination of the historic and the modern. As far as possible, the progressive development of industries, such as shipbuilding and aviation, from their beginnings to the present day, and the improvements which it is hoped will be achieved in the near future, have been shown by historical sketches.
The centre is occupied by a court of honour, approximately 120 feet (.36 metres) in diameter, and in the middle of which is a planisphere, showing the extent and resources of the British Empire. Maritime communications are represented by miniature ships, which move along the Itineraries of the main shipping lines. This planisphere is surmounted by a blue canopy, supported by the wings of eight large albatrosses, due to the talent of Mr. P. G. Bentham, A. R. B. S. All along the walls of the Court of Honour there is a frieze, painted by Mr. Maurice Greiffenhagen, R. A., representing the Court's Apparatus. We also see faithful reproductions, either of the sterns or the cabins, of four ships famous in the annals of the British Navy, the "Golden Hind", the "Mayflower", the "Endeavour" and the "Victory". The first is the stern of Drake's 'Golden Hind'. Among the exploits of the intrepid Admiral Drake was his circumnavigation of the globe with an expedition of five small ships and a total crew of 168 men. The voyage lasted two years and ten months, from 13 December 1577 to 26 September 1580, when he returned to Plymouth with 57 survivors out of the 166 men on board.
Next is a cabin from the "Mayflower", the ship of the "Pilgrim Fathers", the refugees who left Plymouth on 6 September 1620 and arrived in America on 11 December 1620, where these 100 Pilgrims founded the first colony in New England, on the site where the town of Plymouth in Massachusetts now stands.
The stern of the 'Endeavour' shows Captain James Cook's departure from Plymouth on his voyage of discovery, the result of which was the founding of the two great Dominions which have played such an important role in the affairs of Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
On 25 August 1768, Captain Cook set out to discover a continent believed to be south-east of New Zealand. His attempt failed, but he did explore the coasts of New Zealand and New Holland (Australia).

Finally, from the aft cabin of Lord Nelson's 'Victory', the visitor can see the area around Cape Trafalgar in 1805, moments before the famous battle.

Across the centre of the main courtyard, a gold strip has been stretched to represent the construction of the new 75,000 ton Cunard Line liner, on the same scale as the old ships.

Opposite the main entrance we see through a Tudor window (which is an exact replica of the one in Sir Thomas Gresham's house) the expanse of the Thames opposite the Tower of London. Against the window, courtesy of the Museum of London, is the original romaine, or balance, which was made for the first London Stock Exchange, erected in 1566, by Sir Thomas Gresham. He was one of the most famous English financiers of the 16th century. He spent most of his career in Antwerp as an agent of the crown under four different reigns. These duties involved buying provisions for the army and negotiating loans for the state treasury. On his return to London he succeeded in securing the cooperation of the merchants of that city in the construction of a stock exchange similar to that of Antwerp. The execution was entrusted to a Flemish architect named Henrick. The building was destroyed by the great fire of 1666, but the marble slabs, placed by Henrick, still remain in the present building. Near the Court of Honour is a model of Old London, containing in the foreground the old Exchange built by Gresham.

The Court of Honour also contains reproductions of a number of historical documents, the originals of which are held in the City of London Archives Office.

Along the corridors leading to the wings of the pavilion, illuminated dioramas have been installed on either side, showing the gradual growth of the British Empire throughout history. There is also a model of the "Armada".

The wings are divided into several rooms. The exhibits are labelled in three languages: English, French and Flemish. We will therefore limit ourselves to a brief description of the main items below.

Origins of the breed (Hall F.)
Thanks to the support of Mr. Ernest Makower, it has been possible to show, by means of a series of dioramas, the development of the British people from the Stone Age to the Norman conquest. The views, especially those from the third to the sixth diorama inclusive, recall the part played by invasions and conquests in the growth of the British race.

The last major invasion in British history was that of William the Conqueror in 1066. The sixth diorama shows William the Conqueror near the Tower of London, 'during the construction of this great fortress, which still stands as a reminder of the last conquest of Britain by a foreign power. Successive emigrations, especially those of the Flemish in the Middle Ages, were of great importance to English trade, especially in the woolen textile industry. Sheets had been made in England for a very long time, but in small quantities; for until the middle of the 14th century, sheep farming was mainly for the export of raw wool. Belgian weavers imported English wools for the manufacture of their fabrics.

Around 1106, many Flemings, driven from their homes by floods, migrated to the county of Norfolk, where they continued their trade. In 1271, the English government invited experienced weavers from Flanders to settle in England and in 1331, Edward III brought seventy families of Walloon weavers to England under his royal protection. In exchange, they had to practice their trade and teach it to young English workers.

For the next 150 years, Britain owed much of its prosperity to the wool industry, and today the great English worsted industry is named after the small village of Worsted in Norfolk, where the first Flemish weavers settled.

British possessions (Halls D., E. and H.)

In Halls D. and E., dioramas show some of the main resources and industries of the British possessions. Here are the subjects represented:
India (the Temple of the Sacred Mountain, Khajrabo; the new Government Palace at Delhi), Ceylon (tea plantations), Burma (a gold temple), Malaya (rubber plantations), South Africa (fruit growing; a native "kraal; a typical dwelling), Southern Rhodesia (tobacco cultivation), Gold Coast (view of Takoradi harbour), East Africa-Kenya (coffee plantations), Northern Nigeria (courtyard of the Emir's Palace in Kano), Australia (sheep farming; wholesale dairy; fruit growing), New Zealand (sheep farming; wholesale dairy; fruit growing), Newfoundland (fishing fleet), Canada (wheat growing; apple growing; a fur trade post), English West Indies (sugar cane plantations), Irish Free State (rural scene).
Hall H. relates to the resources of English East Africa, West Africa (Nigeria and the Gold Coast), and Malaya (Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States).
Section of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine (Hall B.)
This section provides a brief overview of the work undertaken to improve living conditions in tropical countries.
The benefits of modern methods of preventive medicine are illustrated by illuminating statistics, showing the great progress made.
The great role played by insect bites in the transmission of disease is demonstrated by means of six showcases, containing wax models of various insects which transmit certain tropical diseases.
A series of illuminated display cases and photographic enlargements give precise details of the main diseases; portraits honour the memory of the many pioneers of tropical medicine who themselves succumbed to one of the diseases they were trying to combat. Thanks to the initiative of Patrick Man-son, who has been called the father of modern tropical medicine, the need for a special education in this branch of medicine is now fully recognised in Great Britain, as evidenced by the establishment of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. A model of the London School is shown, with a description of its various departments. Further on, a special tribute is paid to the memory of Patrick Manson.
Hospitals for the treatment of tropical diseases are represented by consignments from the Seamen's Hospital Society, London. Photographs of eight hospitals for sick and injured seafarers of all nationalities are displayed. Included in this number is the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases, which is also run by the Society.
This section also includes a small historical exhibition of plague and leprosy in Britain.
It was organised by a committee under the chairmanship of Sir Wilfred Beveridge.
The exhibits are from a variety of sources, including the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the British Museum (Natural History Section), the Seamen's Hospital Society, Dr. P. H. Manson-Bahr, the Wellcome Museum of Medical Science, the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum.

Scientific Research Section (Hall C).

The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is exhibiting objects relating to two of its activities directly related to navigation.
The William Froude National Tank is a special tank, which was built from 1909 to 1911, with funds provided by Sir Alfred Yarrow, Bart, F.R.S., to allow tests with model ships and propellers and for hydrodynamic research in general. By means of this tank, experiments can be carried out with model ships, enabling builders to calculate the resistance of the large ships represented by the models, as well as the force necessary for their propulsion. The models are moved in the tank at speeds that correspond to those of real ships. They are attached to a trolley, which follows them on their way and from which calculations are made during the journey.

A wax model, as used for these experiments, is on display. The rudder and propeller are shown; the latter is driven by an electric motor installed inside the model, which therefore moves under its own power. We are also shown some very interesting reductions of many propeller models from different sources, which were tested in this tank at different times.

Another subdivision of the department in question is that which deals with research into fuels. An investigation, which lasted from June 1, 1925, to May 31, 1928, and which was intended to investigate the causes of fires in coal bunkers, showed that the major part of these fires was due to bunker coal. 336 cases were examined during this period on 272 different ships.
The many causes to which these fires can be attributed are illustrated by drawings.

Maritime section (Halls C, F. and G.).

Two paintings of ships (Hall F.), show the progress of the merchant navy, since medieval times. Among the ships represented are: two caravels from the time of Queen Elizabeth, during whose reign mercantile activity developed markedly; a fine three-masted, square-rigged sailing ship of the middle of the nineteenth century; a wheeled steamer (built of wood) of the same period; and, finally, one of the more recent four-propeller steamers.

Hall F. contains models, representing the British war fleet through the centuries; from the frail canoe of primitive times, to the dreadnought of the present day.

Some of the leading British shipping lines show us the latest improvements in their ships. The Cunard Steamship C°, Ltd. (hall C), exhibits a specimen of the bedrooms and bathrooms installed on board one of its liners, as well as a third class tourist cabin with bed, and a model of one of its steamers. The Union-Castle Mail Steamship C° Ltd. (hall C), exhibits a single stateroom and a single first class cabin, both in natural size. In addition, it showed a large model of its liner "Carnarvon Castle". The stand of Elder Dempster & C° Ltd. (hall F.), contains a large model of the port of Accra (Gold Coast). This model, which is about 27 feet (8 m. 25) long, gives a very realistic impression of the working methods used in the ports of the Gold Coast. Models of the latter company's liners are also among the exhibits. The Clai, Une Steamers Ltd. (hall F.), presents a model of the s/s ". Clan Macdougall". The Houston Line (hall F.), shows a model of the s/s "Halizones", which we see very often in Antwerp, as well as the other ships of this company.

Harland & Wolff Ltd. in collaboration with Heaton, Tabb & C° Ltd. (hall C), allow us to admire a beautiful panorama of their large shipyards in Belfast. The White Star Line (hall C), shows part of the promenade deck of one of its steamers.

Ports and Docks Section (Halls C. and F.).

The Port of London Authority (Hall F.), exhibits a diorama of the Victoria, Albert and King George V Docks, whose total area of 245 acres (118,1850 hectares) forms the largest expanse of docks in the world. Illuminated diagrams show the extent of the port's shipping and trade.

At the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board stand (Hall C) we see an animated model of part of the Mersey and the latest and most advanced docks in North Liverpool, including the new Gladstone Docks. Eighteen small steamers, reproduced from the various models that regularly enter the port of Liverpool, float on the river and in the docks, which are represented by real water on the model. The main purpose of the model is to demonstrate the ease with which ships can enter and leave the basins, through the Gladstone Lock (30 feet wide), at any tide. Ships can move from the Gladstone basins to the southern basins at any time of day.

Aire and Calder Navigation, Leeds (who run the port of Goole), exhibit in Hall C. a model of the hydraulic lift used for loading coal, which arrives in compartment boats from the Yorkshire coalfields. The five such lifts were able to ship one and a half million tons of coal in one year.

The Tyne Improvement Commission (Hall C), shows a model of that part of the Tyne which extends from the sea to Scotswood.

Railways and Travel Section (Hall C. and G.).

The Travel Association of Great Britain and Ireland, which is, in short, the British National Tourist Association, has recently been founded, with the support of the Government and of the principal parties concerned in trade and transport. This Association (Hall C.) presents, by means of four dioramas: a view of Dover, showing the white cliffs of England; a view of York Minster, one of the oldest cathedrals in the country; a view of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, showing the famous castle; a picturesque view of beautiful Ireland. This stand also contains many photographic enlargements of the most remarkable sites in Britain and Ireland.

The London Midland and Scottish Railway C° has set up an information desk (Hall C), where a life-size model of the front of its famous "Royal Scot" locomotive can be seen. The London and North-Eastern Railway C° stand (Hall C.) includes a replica of a single berth cabin from one of their steamers operating between Harwich and the continent. It also contains a large illuminated map, showing by means of moving lights the routes of the shipping lines, as well as the main railways with which they connect. At the same stand, the "Société Belgo-Anglaise des Ferry-Boats" exhibited a large animated model, representing the arrival and departure of one of its ships, as well as the loading of wagons. The Southern Railway C° (hall G.) presents a series of models, posters and brochures relating to the development of this company in the port of Southampton.
Aeronautical Section (Hall A.).
The aeronautical section consists of a large room with terraces on both sides, where models of aircraft and airships can be seen, arranged as if in flight. These reductions give a very clear idea of the evolution of aeronautics, from the first tests to the achievement of the largest airship, the R. 101, and the "Rolls Royce S. 6 supermarine", which won the Schneider Cup last year. (Thanks to the kindness of the Belgian Exhibition authorities, the aircraft itself will be displayed on the Exhibition grounds). The Schneider Cup will also be on display (courtesy of the Royal Aero Club). The Rolls Royce company has lent, with the permission of the Ministry of Aeronautics, the engine of the aircraft that won the race for Great Britain. Other machines on display include the "Napier Lion", which won the cup for England in 1927, the "Bristol Jupiter" and the Armstrong-Siddeley 860 H.P. "Leopard". In curious contrast to these powerful engines, we see, further on, one of the first of light construction, the 90 HP "Cirrus", which was adopted throughout the world for light aircraft.
A large map shows the existing and projected air routes in Great Britain; airship bases and masts and land which will probably be given over to aeronautical use in the near future. Imperial Airways Ltd. exhibits a model of a passenger facility on board one of its largest and most luxurious aircraft, which can carry 40 passengers with baggage, etc.

Industrial Section (Halls C, F. and G.).

The management of the British Industries Fair have reserved a stand in Hall C, where they will provide full information about the Fair, which will be held from February 16 to 27, 1931, at Olympia London, and Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.

Most of the major British industries participate in this national exhibition which has been held annually since 1915 under the auspices of the Government. The increasing number of foreign visitors year by year shows that overseas importers greatly appreciate the opportunity to see the many British industries at one time and in one place.

The British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium has set up an office in Hall F.

Messrs. W. & T. Avery Ltd. (hall G.) exhibit samples of their scales, measuring, calculating and testing machines. The Beldam Packing and Rubber C° Ltd. (hall G.) show the complete range of their packings and gaskets, as well as their articles of asbestos, belts, rubber and other objects of interest to machinery. Booths Ltd, A.G. Richard-son Ltd. and W. Moorcroft Ltd. exhibit their pottery in Hall C. In Hall G. we see the articles, manufactured by The Ideal Electrical Appliances Ltd; the invention of Messrs. M. P. G. Mileage Multiplier, which reduces the fuel consumption of cars by 25%; articles for divers, various masks against dust, smoke and gases, oxygen breathing apparatus and a number of other protective devices from Siebe Gorman & C° Ltd. Steel Scaffolding, C° Ltd. (hall F.) exhibits its "Bettaskaf" accessories and its patented "Marshor" metal scaffolding for use in construction and mining. Messrs. James Walker & C° Ltd. (hall G.) display their full range of specialities for steam, air and liquid resistant seals of all kinds.

Outdoor exhibits

In the grounds adjacent to the British Pavilion, Mssrs. Calders Belgian Agencies S. A., agents for Allsopp's Burton Pale Aie, Graham's Golden Lager and Calders Milk Stout, have installed an English restaurant. In addition, the following statues will be seen:
"Fisherman and Nymph", "Children on a Turtle" (plaster group, natural size); a plaster model of the great monument "Navigation", -the original of which, carved in Portland stone by P. G. Bentham A. R. B. S., stands over the main entrance to the new offices of the P. & O. Shipping Company, Leadenhall Street, London; and "Inspiration", by W. Reid Dick, R. A.

© Guide Officiel - Anvers 1930