George V and Queen Mary open the Empire Exhibition

British empire exhibition

On April 23 his majesty, accompanied by her majesty, inaugurated the opening of the British Empire Exhibition. Imagination is baffled by the vastness of this exhibition, which is an honour to the enterprising spirit of the British race, and also to the capability of British architects.

Twenty million pounds have been spent within Wembley's walls, where all the gates of the empire are to be found, from the romantic East to the progressive West, comprising every part of the vast Commonwealth built by the perseverance of an ingenious people. This exhibition is really the empire in miniature, and it is a world-wide event, unique in the history of industry and architecture.

Parts will be demolished, while parts will show to the future generations the achievements of contemporary architecture. The gigantic stadium reveals the sporting conception necessary to meet a sporting need, and the Palace of Industry will be a perpetual reminder of our architectural capacities.

Some of our young architects, burning with the spirit of revolution in art, would have preferred to see more accent in modernism. But let us say, first of all, that a style in architecture is only created after painful and continuous efforts for years and years. Here we are in a British exhibition, and everything from the smallest product to the biggest building must be British: industry as well as architecture. Reinforced concrete has but little artistic past, and we are sure that the representatives of our dominions will recognise the motherland by its architecture as actually expressed. What would have happened had it been otherwise?

To the left of the second main axis of the plan comes India (Mr White Allens, architect). In a series of courts India is exhibiting the bewildering resources of ten large and twenty smaller provinces and states, each having a special section. With its white walls, its minarets and domes, and the interior fountains and pool this pavilion is invested with a subtle oriental mysticism and suddenly transfers the visitor from the activity of the Western pavilions to the agreeable exotic restfulness of Eastern life.

Close by west Africa with a walled city of more than three acres, wherein are found the pavilions of Nigeria, Gold Coast and Sierra Leone displays a mud hut throbbing with native life.

The plain walls, without mouldings, and of most successful colouring, are pierced here and there, showing that the interest is to be found within the wall, where covered ways and picturesque huts will carry the visitor to life amidst primitive tribes.