British Empire Exhibition 1924 London - Canadian Pacific Steamships - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
British Empire Exhibition 1924 London Canadian Pacific Steamships - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
The British Empire Exhibition was a colonial exhibition held at Wembley Park, Wembley, Middlesex in 1924 and 1925.
In 1920 the British Government decided to site the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley Park, on the site of the pleasure gardens created by Sir Edward Watkin in the 1890s. A British Empire Exhibition had first been proposed in 1902, by the British Empire League, and again in 1913. The Russo-Japanese War had prevented the first plan from being developed and the First World War put an end to the second, though there had been a Festival of Empire in 1911, held in part at Crystal Palace.
One of the reasons for the suggestion was a sense that other powers were challenging Britain on the world stage. Despite victory in the First World War this was in some ways even truer in 1919. The country had economic problems and its naval supremacy was being challenged by two of its former allies, the USA and Japan. In 1917 Britain had committed itself eventually to leave India, which effectively signalled the end of the British Empire to anyone who thought about the consequences, while the Dominions had shown little interest in following British foreign policy since the war. It was hoped that the Exhibition would strengthen the bonds within the Empire, stimulate trade and demonstrate British greatness both abroad and at home, where the public was believed to be increasingly uninterested in Empire, preferring other distractions, such as the cinema.
A world tour headed by Major Ernest Belcher in 1922 that lasted 10 months was mounted to promote participation in the Exhibition, with Agatha Christie and her husband among the participants.
The British Empire Exhibition would run from 1924 to 1925 and made Wembley a household name. In 1919 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) had become the President of the organising committee for the proposed Exhibition at Wembley Park, although the closing ceremony was presided over by his brother, the future George VI.
A purpose built “great national sports ground”, called the Empire Stadium, was built for the Exhibition. This became Wembley Stadium.