Festival of Britain anniversary to be celebrated in Wymondham

The 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain will be celebrated with a film show at the old Wymondham Regal on Sunday. Derek James reports.

It's time to remember the party staged to cheer up a country still rebuilding after being knocked to its knees by the Second World War - the glorious Festival of Britain.

Victory had come at a cost.

Times were hard and the festival was set to kick-start the recovery and put a smile back on the faces of the people.

The whole idea was to turn a dull grey world into brilliant technicolour as Britain was being put back together.

Did it work?

You can see for yourself on Sunday by heading for Wymondham where the Regal Experience Group is putting on a special show to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain.

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The top British film of 1951, the Lavender Hill Mob, is being screened along with footage of festival celebrations in Norwich, Wymondham and London.

The Oscar-winning Lavender Hill Mob was one of Ealing Studios' greatest comedies starring Alec Guinness as a timid bank clerk who commits a bullion robbery.

The film was shown at the Carlton and the Odeon in Norwich during the summer of 1951, but didn't reach Wymondham Regal until April 1952.

Supporting it will be an evocative documentary made at the time featuring the Festival of Britain exhibition on London's South Bank with its Dome of Discovery and Skylon, as well as the fun park at Battersea Pleasure Gardens and the magnificent Royal Festival Hall.

There is also the chance to see fascinating footage of the festival in Norwich, featuring a variety of events, from a carnival parade and a beauty contest to a railway exhibition and fun fair - and also a film showing how Wymondham celebrated the occasion.

Tickets for the 2.30pm film show on Sunday, June 5, at the Wymondham Ex-Services Club (the old Regal) costing �5 (�4 concessions) are available by calling Maureen Dodman on 01953 605593 or Michael Armstrong on 01953 603246. They are also on sale at Wymondham Heritage Museum.