The Idea of An Empire Exhibition
Part of the floor plan of the International Exhibition in 1862, which was held at the Industrial Palace at South Kensington in London. The building was demolished after the Exhibition ended.
The floor plan of the Great Exhibition in 1862 | 1862 | unkown; The Illustrated London News (London) | magazine clipping | paper | 27.3 x 38.7cm
1862年萬國博覽會平面圖 | 1862年｜未明；《倫敦新聞畫報 》（倫敦） | 雜誌剪報 | 紙張 | 27.3 x 38.7釐米
In 1851, Britain organised the Great Exhibition in London to showcase the United Kingdom’s industrial and commercial supremacy to local and overseas visitors. The exhibition also provided Britain with the first opportunity to present all its colonies at once. By displaying exhibits from the country and the colonies, it symbolised the sovereign and included its overseas possessions to the country’s imagined community. Many similar exhibitions would be held in Britain until the outbreak of the Second World War.
The idea of an Empire exhibition was first proposed by the British Empire League in 1902. In November 1910, Lord Strathcona Donald Alexander Smith (vice-president of the Franco-British Exhibition) and the Hungarian-born impresario Imre Kiralfy raised the idea of the British Empire Exhibition again during a public meeting. The outbreak of the First World War disrupted the plan.
On June 7, 1920, the British Empire Exhibition was officially announced at Mansion House. It would be the largest exhibition in Britain since the Great Exhibition of 1851. There were proposals to hold it at Crystal Palace (which hosted the Great Exhibition of 1851 and also the Festival of Empire of 1911), White City or Hendon (a newly developed suburban area). Ultimately, Wembley, south-west of Hendon, was chosen for its proximity to railways and accessibility to central London.On June 7, 1920, the British Empire Exhibition was officially announced at Mansion House. It would be the largest exhibition in Britain since the Great Exhibition of 1851. There were proposals to hold it at Crystal Palace (which hosted the Great Exhibition of 1851 and also the Festival of Empire of 1911), White City or Hendon (a newly developed suburban area). Ultimately, Wembley, south-west of Hendon, was chosen for its proximity to railways and accessibility to central London.
In 1920, an Act of Parliament was passed, which authorised the British government to become a joint guarantor and share half of the £2.2 million organisational costs for the British Empire Exhibition. In addition to public funding, other donations to the Exhibition came mainly from industrialists and the Exhibition’s investors. King George V and Edward, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) also agreed to be patron and president of the British Empire Exhibition.
舉辦帝國博覽會的建議首先由大英帝國聯盟（the British Empire League）在1902年提出。在1910年11月，唐納德．亞歷山大．史密夫．斯特拉思科纳男爵（LordStrathcona Donald Alexander Smith；法英博覽會的副總裁）、匈牙利裔製作人姆雷．奇拉希（ImreKiralfy）等人在一次公開會議上提出舉辦大英帝國博覽會，但計劃因第一次世界大戰爆發而中斷。
 Hoffenberg, P.H. (2001). An Empire on Display: English, Indian, and Australian Exhibitions from the Crystal Palace to the Great War. Berkeley, Los Angeles; London: University of California Press.