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The 1951 Liverpool Festival - Merseyside 22nd July - 12th August

Part of the Festival of Britain.

Liverpool Theatres Index

Outdoor Spectacle

Mersey Pageants

Brochure for the 1951 Liverpool Festival - Merseyside 22nd July - 12th AugustThe greatest firework display in the entire Festival of BritainON THREE evenings THURSDAY, 26TH JULY, WEDNESDAY 8th AUGUST and FRIDAY, 1OTH AUGUST, there are to be spectacular displays on the River Mersey.

Starting at 9.30 P.m., there will first be a parade of the Merchant Ships of the Mersey. This will pay especial tribute to the smaller craft which are necessary for the smooth running of a great sea-port. Next, the Royal Navy will thrill the crowds with an exciting and noisy action by motor torpedo boats which roar up the river to stage an attack on "vital port installations."

Finally, on each of the three evenings, at about 10.30, the greatest firework display in the entire Festival of Britain is to be fired from two trains of barges. Starting two miles apart, the barges will converge in mid-river, and in half-an-hour a programme of fifty separate items will light up the shores of two counties. The display will reach a climax as the barges meet opposite Egremont, and a flight of 2,000 rockets soars into the night sky.

The principal vantage point will be the Wallasey Promenade, between Seacombe and New Brighton, though the fireworks will be visible for many miles. In the case of extremely bad weather being forecast, any of the Pageants may be postponed for 24 hours; news of the postponement would then be announced by the B.B.C., the Press, and all the principal transport undertakings, not later than 8a.m. on the day affected.

Summary of Programmes

Summary of Programmes

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Film Festival

A season of British feature and documentary films will be shown at the PALAIS DE LUXE Cinema, Lime Street. The films will demonstrate the advance made by British film producers since the introduction of sound. On each successive day, films of a different year will be shown, starting with 1930 and coming forward to the present day.

Brass Bands

At least seven brass bands will perform in the city during the Festival. Lunch time concerts will be given at Lord Street each day on a site adjoining the Industrial Exhibition.

On each Friday evening a brass band and choral concert will be given in the PHILHARMONIC HALL at 7 P.M. Leading choirs of the north will also take part in these concerts.


A guard will be mounted by the King's Regiment (Liverpool) at the Town Hall throughout the Festival, and a ceremonial guard-changing will take place at 10.30 a.m. each day.



For details of the history of the Theatres and Halls mentioned above click here

Fleet Visit

Fleet Visit.The Festival will open with a five-day visit by H.M.S. " Indomitable," flying the flag of the Commander-in Chief, Home Fleet, together with four destroyers and two frigates. These ships will arrive on 2oth July and will be open for public inspection each afternoon during their period in the port.

Music Hall

A Festival season of Lancashire Music Hall will be presented twice nightly at the PAVILION THEATRE, Lodge Lane. The names of the principal artists will be announced later.


Chipperfield's Circus and Zoo will appear at the Review Field, Sefton PARK, with a "Big Top" capable of seating over four thousand people. There will be two performances daily.



For details of the history of the Theatres and Halls mentioned above click here

Street Processions

UNDER the personal direction of Tyrone Guthric, there are to be three huge processions through the streets of Liverpool, each culminating in an impressive ceremony at St. John's Gardens. Among the novel features of these events will be the large number of participants, the colourful emblems and symbols they will carry, and the dramatic mass effects of the ceremonies.

The three processions will follow the same general pattern, but each will have a distinctive theme. First, on Wednesday, 1st August, in the afternoon, comes "Merseyside and Youth," when school-children and youth organisations will play a prominent part. Next, on the evening of Tuesday, 7th August, there will be "Merseyside and the World," featuring the many countries linked with Liverpool by trade and commerce. The final procession, on August 12th, may well be the most stirring of all, since many hundreds of torchbearers will march through the darkened streets of the city to assemble for a midnight ceremony on the last night of the Festival. The theme of the ceremony is "Merseyside Resurgent," and it is intended as an act of faith in the future of this war-scarred region.

Festival Conductors and Orchestral Concerts

Festival Conductors and Orchestral Concerts

For details of the history of the Theatres and Halls mentioned above click here

Festival Conductors and Orchestral Concerts

For details of the history of the Theatres and Halls mentioned above click here

Otterspool Regatta and Air Display

As a strongly tidal estuary, the Mersey is not normally the scene of small boat racing, but on Saturday, August 4th, from 11.3o a.m. to 3 p.m., the stretch of river opposite the new Otterspool Promenade will be used for the "Cock o'the North" race for sailing dinghies of the "Firefly" class. There is probably no other type of yacht racing which is so interesting and exciting for the non-expert spectator, and as entries have been received from all parts of the country, this should be an excellent day's sport. Later in the afternoon from 3p.m. to 5.30 p.m. the Liverpool Flying Club will present an air display of the most spectacular kind in which formation flying, aerobatics and dive bombing will be carried out by aircraft of many types including the most modern jet fighters of the R.A.F.


A Marathon Race will be run in and around the City on Saturday, 11th August, finishing at the Anfield Football Ground shortly after the conclusion of Liverpool Football Club's trial game.

Sports Day

The Dock Workers of the Port will hold a Sports Day at their new Sports and Social Centre, Breck Park, on Saturday, 28th July. The Programme will include athletics, brass bands, fun fair and other attractions.



For details of the Empire Theatre click here



SailingAn International Athletic Meeting will be held at Stanley Track on Wednesday, 8th August, at 6.30 p.m. United States and Commonwealth champions will be among the competitors. Reserved tickets may be obtained from the Festival Office.

High Diving

The A.S.A. National Diving Championships Will take place at the New Brighton Swimming Pool from the 23rd to the 28th July.


A Championship Gala will be held at Dovecot Baths, Liverpool, on 28th July. Famous British and Continental swimmers will compete.


Special cricket weeks are being organised at Sefton and Liverpool Cricket Clubs. Among the matches so far arranged are Northern Nomads v. Arabs, 23rd and 24th July; Lancashire 2nd v. Yorkshire 2nd, 6th and 7th August; the Northern Nomads v. Lancashire League, 9th August; Liverpool Competition Match, 11th August; and a week at Sefton beginning 30th July.

Motor Cycle Racing

On Saturday, 28th July, at Altcar Rifle Range, many international riders will compete in an exciting programme of small-circuit Races.


The North Western Area of the A.B.A. will present an Amateur Boxing Tournament at the Liverpool Stadium, Bixteth Street, on Monday 30th July. National and Regional amateur champions will be taking part.

Morning Concerts

Morning Concerts


Except where otherwise stated, the following exhibitions are open throughout the Festival.

"Daylight on Industry"

Is the title of a large and interesting exhibition designed to show the variety and vigour of Merseyside industry. It will be held in the open air on a blitzed site adjoining LORD STREET in the heart of the city.

"The Story of Liverpool"

Exhibition in St. George's Hall, is being presented jointly by the Corporation and the University. It deals with the history and development of Merseyside from prehistoric times and concludes with a section on the city of the future.

The Walker Art Gallery

Newly re-opened, will house an important exhibition of the work of GEORGE STUBBS, the eighteenth- century artist. Representative works have been lent by collectors at home and overseas and His Majesty the King has graciously supplied examples from the Royal collection.

"Fifty Years of Merseyside Art"

An exhibition at BLUECOAT CHAMBERS, includes works by Augustus John and many other artists of the region.

Press Cartoons

Of the English-speaking world will be on show at MESSRS. OWEN OWEN, Clayton Square.

Two Exhibitions of Photography

Will be open. The local centre of the Institute of British Photographers will show examples of professional work at BLUECOAT CHAMBERS. The amateur photographers of the area will exhibit at RADIANT HOUSE, BOLD STREET.

An exhibition of Antique Musical Instruments

Will be on show at the RUSHWORTH CONCERT HALL, and musical demonstrations will be given daily.

A striking exhibition on the Prevention of Crime

Is being prepared by the Home Office and the Liverpool City Police for display in the CENTRAL TECHNICAL COLLEGE, BYROM STREET.

An exhibition of Historic Railway Rolling Stock

Will be on view in EXCHANGE STATION.

A number of famous institutions in the city, such as the UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, the CITY COLLEGE Of ART and the SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE will also present exhibitions.

The Corporation of Liverpool will present "live" exhibitions of domestic architecture at the EVELYN STREET CENTRAL RE-DEVELOPMENT AREA and at the satellite town of SPEKE.

The Churches

Church of England


At a special service to open the Festival on Sunday, 22nd July, at 11. a.m., His Grace the Archbishop of York will be the preacher. On the following Sundays, the preachers will include the Primate of all Ireland, the Primus of the Scottish (Episcopal) Church and the Archbishop of Wales. Organ recitals will be given by H. Goss Custard each Sunday at 6 p.m. and each Thursday at 4 p.m., and on Monday, 6th August at 11. a.m. and 3. 15. a.m. Evensong will be fully choral each Thursday at 5. p.m., and on Saturdays at 3 p.m. The Bishop's Players will present a special performance of "Murder in the Cathedral, " by T. S. Eliot, on Saturday, 21st July, at 8 p. m. in the Church of St. John the Baptist with St, Thomas, Toxteth, Liverpool, 8.

The Roman Catholic Church

A rally will be held at the METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL site during the Festival. Special services will take place in the pro-cathedral, Copperas Hill.

The Free Churches

A service will be held at the CENTRAL HALL at 3.0 P.m. on Sunday, 29th July, conducted by the President of the Free Churches and outstanding Free Church ministers. SPECIAL FESTIVAL SERVICE at 6.30 P.m., conducted by the Reverend F. T. Copplestone, President of the Free Church Council.

The Anglican and Free Churches are uniting to present:

A Pageant

To show a cavalcade of the growth and influence of the Christian Church. It will be shown daily from 3oth July to 4th August in the CENTRAL HALL, RENSHAW STREET.

An Exhibition

Of the Church in action at home and overseas, also in the CENTRAL HALL (3oth July to 4th August).

United Services

Will be held in the open air on Sunday, 29th July, in various parts of the City, and on Sunday, 5th August, in the centre of the City accompanied by massed brass bands.

Liverpool Festival, 1951

Brochure for the 1951 Liverpool Festival - Merseyside 22nd July - 12th AugustPresented by the Liverpool Festival Society Ltd., in association with the Arts Council of Great Britain.

Chairman of the Festival Society - Lord Mayor of Liverpool. Chairman of the Executive Council-Coun. John McMillan. Artistic Director-Alfred E. Francis. Secretary - Thomas Alker. Accountant - John Ainsworth, M.B.E. Assistant Director - James P. Phoenix. Festival Office - Bluccoat Chambers, Liverpool, I.

Festival Brochure

An illustrated brochure giving detailed programmes of the various Festival performances, together with many authoritative articles, will be issued in June from the Festival Office. If you wish to obtain a copy by post, please send 2/9 to the Festival Office, Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool, I, marking the envelope "Brochure." The Brochure may also be obtained by completing the appropriate line on the enclosed Ticket Order Form.

Liverpool Show

Visitors arriving in the city immediately before the Festival can attend the Liverpool Show at Waxertree from 19th to 21st July. This is now one of the most important horticultural and agricultural shows in the North and an attractive programme of horse jumping and other entertainments is included on each day. For information, apply to the Show Secretary, 4o Victoria Street, Liverpool, I.

The Festival Elsewhere

Many of the neighbouing towns will be holding special Festival celebrations during the summer. In Chester, concerts will be given in the Cathedral and the Chester Miracle Plays will be revived in the Cathedral Refectory from 16th to 28th July. The Merseyside Boroughs of Wallasey, Crosby, Bootle and Bebington will organise special functions and the Festival Exhibition Ship "Campania" will visit Birkenhead from 4th to 13th September. In each case, information can be obtained from the Town Clerk at the Borough Town Hall.

Booking Arrangements


The Special Box Office for the exchange of Festival vouchers will he open at St. George's Hall, Liverpool, from Monday, 7th May to Saturday, 12th May, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Vouchers may be sent by post, using the appropriate side of the order form which is enclosed with this programme.

On and after 14th May, postal bookings will be received at the Festival Office, Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool, I. A stamped addressed envelope should be sent with all postal applications. Personal applications for tickets may be made at the Festival Office from 21st May, 10a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket reservations can also be made in London at ALFRED HAYS LTD., 26 Old Bond Street, N.W.I and 74 Cornhill, E.C.3, or at branches of the following agents throughout the world.

Thomas Cook and Sons Ltd., Berkeley Street, London .

American Express Company Inc., 6 Haymarket, London.

Dean and Dawson, 14 Bolton Street, London, W. I.

Information Centres

Festival Office, Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool, I.

Festival of Britain Information Office, Piccadilly, London, W. I.

British Travel and Holidays Association-

66, Whitcomb Street, London, W.C.2.

372, Bay Street, Toronto.

410, Dominion Square Building, Montreal.

British Travel Centre-

336, Madison Avenue, New York, U.S.A.

6, Place Vendome, Paris.


A register of private accommodation has been prepared, and copies of this, together with hotel lists, may be obtained by applying to the Festival Office.

The neighbouring seaside resort of Wallasey, which is within easy access of Liverpool by ferry and underground railway, offers a wide range of accommodation for visitors. Inquiries should be addressed to the Publicity and Entertainments Manager, Town Hall, Wallasey.

Transport Facilities

Special late bus and ferry services will run on Merseyside during the Festival and railway excursions will be organised over a wide radius for general Festival attractions and will be supplemented on the evenings of the three Mersey pageants.

Printed in Great Britain for the Liverpool Festital Society Ltd. by, Daily Post Printers.

From a brochure for the 1951 Liverpool Festival - Merseyside 22 July - 12 August - Festival Of Britain

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