In 1914 a 30-acre site in Bristol, between Ashton Gate and Cumberland Basin was transformed into the Bristol International Exhibition.
It was an optimistic celebration of the achievements of Britain’s empire and dominions, half trade fair half theme park with a roller-coaster ride, daily pageants and even a troupe of lions.
Due to run from May to October the ambitious project included as replica of Bristol Castle, a mock-up of Shakespeare’s England, Drake’s ship Revenge and a series of giant white pavilions all constructed within the space of 10 weeks.
Bristol people nicknamed it “White City”. It soon hit financial difficulty and when war was declared on August 4, 1914 the exhibition was doomed and closed.
Needing somewhere to house the volunteer soldiers who had been recruited top join Kitchener’s New Army the exhibition buildings were transformed for military use. The site became a barracks where soldiers learned how to dig trenches and practice rifle drill in front of surreal structures.
This book, lavishly illustrated with contemporary pictures, maps and documents, tells the story of how Bristol’s transition from peacetime to wartime.
Paperback, ISBN:9781909446052, Size: 225mm (w) x 225mm (h), Pages: 96
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