Navigation – Plan du site

London 1911 : celebrating the imperial

Susan Finding
p. 21-37

Résumé

Unlike many rival capital cities (Paris, Berlin, Washington D.C.), London combined functions as the seat of government, major seaport, industrial and commercial centre. London authorities sought to control and improve the living and working conditions within their boundaries. Unlike its rivals however, London was seen to be lacking in monuments and urban layout suitable to its calling. The local authorities in London sought to remedy the planning side but celebration in stone and pageantry were ensured by official displays and semi-official entertainment heavily underpinned with imperial designs.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1  Parallels are to be drawn with 1952, year of the Coronation of the present Queen and the Festival (...)

1The year 1911 is a choice vantage point from which to survey London at the beginning of the twentieth century in the perspective of the international, multicultural and Olympic dimensions of the city. It was a year of pomp and circumstance, of a Coronation and a Festival of Empire1, a year of stock-taking with the census, but it was also a year of change: in social and political expectations and achievements; in technological developments, and in principal characters in the country’s pageantry. It was also, it is to be argued, the year in which London took on the mantle of capital of the British Empire, the ‘heart of the Empire’ as well as the heart of the nation, in its public persona, its town planning, its ceremonial architecture, and its public displays.

  • 2  Take the celebration of jubilees (Victoria in 1887 and 1897, George V in 1935, Queen Elizabeth II’ (...)
  • 3  Joseph Conrad’s novel had been published in 1901, after serialization in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1 (...)

2Celebrating the imperial front when on the European and domestic scenes the situation was far from glorious appear to be a recurrent theme in history2. In this case, the nation, and especially its political, social and cultural elites appear to have been throwing a veil over the less congenial aspects of the British social condition, capturing public imagination, panem et circenses, keeping the masses amused, and turning their thoughts away from the visible injustices on the streets and in the homes of London people, a landed class with all the political power and a poor community whose slums in the heart of the imperium left the impression of a ‘heart of darkness’ in ‘darkest England’3.

3The imperial veneer bestowed on Britain’s capital took the form of official celebrations and semi-official and commercial shows from processions and parades, to pageants and pleasure grounds.

London imperial

  • 4  The current Australia House situated in Aldwych was started in 1913 and completed in 1918.
  • 5  Herbert Fry, London: Bird’s-Eye Views of the Principal Streets, London, 1892; Karl Baedeker, Londo (...)

4Seat of the government and administration of Great Britain and the British Empire, London had by 1911 truly assumed its central role and invented its imperial persona. The colonial office, India House, Australia House4, were situated in the Foreign Office in Whitehall, between Horseguard’s Parade, Downing Street and Parliament Street. South Africa House a few hundred yards up Whitehall on Trafalgar Square. The latter formed the hub leading from the political and administrative districts to the commercial and financial centres of the West End, Holborn and the City and the popular areas of the East End and the Docks5.

5From within these walls, Britain supervised trade with its Dominions and administered its colonies. According to the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica :

The white population of the empire reached in 1901 a total of over 53 000 000, or something over one-eighth of its entire population, which, including native races, is estimated at about 400 000 000. [...] The population of the empire may therefore be calculated as amounting to something more than one-fourth of the population of the world. [...]

  • 6  What the entry fails to point out, despite detailed statistics on the races present in each area, (...)

The British empire gives occupation to more than one-third of the persons employed in mining and quarrying in the world. [...] it produces one-third of the coal supply of the world, one-sixth of the wheat supply, and very nearly two-thirds of the gold supply. But while these figures may be taken as in themselves satisfactory, it is far more important to remember that as yet the potential resources of the new lands opened to enterprise have been barely conceived, and their wealth has been little more than scratched.6.

  • 7  Contemporary photographs can be found in W.W. Hutchins, London Town Past and Present, Cassell, 190 (...)

6Such imperial panegyrics and disregard for ‘native races’ common in official discourse reflect not only British policies but also the pride of place which was deemed natural amongst the ruling elite. London, as capital city, figured heavily in this constellation as the heart, in the geographical and medical sense of the metaphor, of imperial activity. Two paintings portraying the Royal Exchange, bustling streets and a horizon-less city skyline, from this period celebrate that nomenclature: Niels Moeller Lund’s 1904 oil painting “The Heart of the Empire” hanging in the Guildhall, London, and F.M. Bell-Smith’s 1909 watercolour of the same name, in Vancouver (Canada)’s City Archives7.

  • 8  London County Council, London Statistics, 1907-1908 V18: Statistics of The Administrative County o (...)

7Compared with the Empire and Dominion population, that of London, the capital city of the empire, might appear limited at eleven and a half million souls in 1911 (Greater London: 7 537 196, Inner London: 4 892 7108) but it made London the biggest capital city in the world at the time, a bustling town where the dynamics of world trade were everywhere visible.

  • 9  D. C. Fieldhouse, ‘The Metropolitan Economics of Empire’, in Judith BROWN, W.M. Roger LOUIS, The O (...)
  • 10  London Statistics, 1908, XXXI. Port of London, 8. Trade in the Port of London and in the ports of (...)

8The London docks were the centre of a vast network of shipping lines bringing raw material and foodstuffs to Britain and taking manufactured exports to its trade partners (along with Liverpool) with the colonies. Empire trade stood for a third of British exports and a quarter of its imports (one half and more of its staple foodstuffs such as wheat, rice, tea, cocoa, and more surprisingly, cheese, tin, wool, jute, oilseed, rubber). However it was not trade which made the Empire vital to Britain (though this was to be the case in the inter-war years) or to London. Looked at in another way, two-thirds of exports and three-quarters of British imports were non-imperial9.In 1907 one-third of the goods imported to the United Kingdom came in through the Thames, and one half (53%) of the foreign and colonial produce exported. The Thames lighter-men also dealt with 17.5% of the home produced goods exported by the UK, and one-fifth of all import-export bonded goods10.

  • 11  Census, 1911, Office of National Statistics.
  • 12  London Statistics, 1908, Table XXXCIII Imperial Taxation in London, pp.480-481.
  • 13  For a full discussion of the labouring classes in London in 1861, 1891 and 1906 see Gareth Stedman (...)
  • 14  Jonathan Schneer, London 1900 The Imperial Metropolis, Yale University Press (1999), 2000, p.59.

9Occupational distribution in Britain in 1911 was still dominated by domestic service (1 302 438), agriculture (1 229 555), coal mining (971 236), building (817 942) and cotton manufacture (623 825)11. London’s contribution to the national economy in 1907 was nevertheless estimated at 18.8% of all taxes and duties raised in the country12. Manufacturing and small scale workshops employed over 684 000 Londoners in 1904 and the number of dock workers varied monthly between 3000 and 650013 but the total employed in and around the docks at the turn of the century reached fifty thousand14.

  • 15  In 1899 the Balfour government had created 28 boroughs, each with its own mayor and council, desig (...)
  • 16  The First World War interrupted completion and it did not come into use until the 1920s.

10The administrative organisation of the capital had been rethought with the new London County Council in 1889 (1888 Local Government Act) to which a large number of progressive councillors had been elected, including Sidney Webb, Will Crooks, John Benn, John Burns (later to become a wartime Minister) and Ben Tillett, the docker’s leader15. The LCC was responsible in large part for progress in transport and town planning, and, from 1904, educational provision in the metropolis. In 1910, plans were made to build County Hall, on the south bank of the Thames, destined to become the home of the London ‘government’ in grandiose fashion16.

  • 17  Following the Housing and Country Planning Act (1919) by which state subsidies were made available (...)
  • 18  Walter Besant, East London. Black, 1901. Besant wrote the 10-volume Survey of London published by (...)
  • 19  Ford Madox Ford, ‘The Future of London’, in W.W. Hutchings, London Town: Past and Present, Volume (...)

11London’s urban growth continued abated. Walter Besant, the London essayist, reckoned there were two million inhabitants in the new districts17 of West Ham, East Ham and Stratford, a figure surpassing that of capital cities such as Berlin, Saint-Petersburg or Philadelphia. The population of West Ham rose from 19 000 in 1851 to 270 000 in 190118. By 1909 Ford Madox Ford forsaw London engulfing the whole of the Home Counties from Oxford to Cambridge down to Brighton. ‘It’s on the road, this change. It has to come: all south-eastern England is just London.’ The rate of expansion and development he was witnessing led him to extrapolate the existing rail facilities and imagine a half-hour high-speed London-Oxford connection19.

  • 20  London Transport Museum, www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk.
  • 21  London Statistics, 1908, XXX. Locomotion. Tramways, 14 London County Council tramways - Miscellane (...)
  • 22  Estimate based on total yearly numbers of passengers per railway. London Statistics, 1908, XXX Loc (...)
  • 23  London Statistics, 1908, XXX. Locomotion. 27 Passenger traffic in Greater London, p.398.
  • 24  London General Omnibus Company Maps 1910–1922, http://www.eplates.info/maps (consulted 15 November (...)

12Without providing such speedy means of transportation, the metropolitan railway, general omnibus companies and electric tramways provided expanding and modern transport facilities within its boundaries. The first electric tram was installed by the L.C.C. in 1903 running from Westminster to the new Totterdown Fields workmen’s estate in Tooting20. By 1907, London tramways carried 585 million passengers a year, and half of the lines were electrified21. 7 800 trains arriving at the twenty-six London termini every day carried 363 million passengers in 190722. Electrification of the Underground was beginning. The first electric escalator was installed at Earl’s Court station in 1911. By March 1911, the “above ground” transportation system in the city had become so complex carrying 274 million passengers at the least23, that pocket maps were brought out monthly by the London General Omnibus Company vaunting its advantages compared to the “underground”: ‘Open Air to Everywhere24.As London spread its tentacles along the railway and road arteries leading out of the capital, congestion led to new plans. In 1911 The Board of Trade’s London Traffic Branch made public a General Road Plan announcing the North Circular Road, and the Eastern Avenue and the Western Avenue radials. London in 1911 was no longer a Victorian city. It was a city with a future as well as a past.

  • 25  9000 Hackney cabs and 2557 buses in 1907. London Statistics, 1908, XXX. Locomotion, Omnibuses, Lic (...)

13London in 1911 was a city of contrasts between the West End and the East End, between Piccadilly and Limehouse, the aptly named dockland district where colonial goods were disembarked, between well-dressed City clerks and bankers and ragged barefooted children, between spacious mansions and overcrowded tenements, between the idle rich and the casually-employed poor, between the powerful landed elite and the disenfranchised adult male tenants and women, between horse-drawn Hackey carriages, omnibuses25 motorcars and electric trams. It was in this complex context of suburban expansion, of technological innovations, of municipal socialism and of vast imperial trade in the capital that the newly re-elected minority Liberal government of December 1910 was trying to remedy crying inequalities with its programme of social and constitutional reform.

14As temperatures soared in the summer of 1911, the country witnessed industrial unrest in the docks where irregular working conditions and low pay caused discontent. The continuing women’s suffrage campaign and the question of Home Rule for Ireland dominated the political scene at home. Rivalry between Britain and Germany which culminating in the Second Moroccan Crisis which began on July 1st, was at the forefront of the government’s international preoccupations. London, as capital city, political centre and trade hub, was inevitably the scene for public displays of support or dissatisfaction.

15The two main issues which were thus publicly aired on the streets of British cities were the dockers’ demands and the suffrage campaign. In London these took on a specific resonance in view of their staging so close in time and place to the loci of official national celebrations. On Sunday 5th August 1911, Port of London dockers marched to Trafalgar Square to show support for their striking colleagues in Liverpool where, for a week, a localised general strike brought out dockers and railway workers.

  • 26  The organisers were artists Edith Downing and Mary Wallace-Dunlop, the first hunger striker suffra (...)

16But it was perhaps the suffrage campaigners’ activities in London which drew most attention. Cashing in on the taste for parades and pageants, and hoping to benefit from a display of loyalty to the new king, the WSPU26, organised their own ‘coronation’ march on a Saturday afternoon, June 17th, departing from the Embankment and ending with a rally in the Albert Hall. The WSPU had been organising large-scale rallies in London’s Hyde Park since 1908 in the tradition of radical protest since the 18th century. It is against that background that the staging of imperial London must be seen.

Imperial designs

  • 27  See Anna Davin, ‘Imperialism and Motherhood’, History Workshop, 1978; Lisa Tickner, ‘Banners and B (...)
  • 28  Poster advertising the event, available on Scala Picture Library.
  • 29  Scala Picture Library, Museum of London.

17The 1911 ‘Women’s Coronation Procession’ comprises a significant transition between public demonstration and public display, between the themes of citizenship, Empire and womanhood27. Between 30 000 and 48 000 participants from all over the country gathered in London for a procession announced as including 70 bands and 1000 banners, and reckoned to be between 5 and 7 miles long28. Judging by the rare photographs of the event, one of which shows the Empire Car being drawn out of Trafalgar Square, attendance was not only high among the participants, with onlookers ten deep on either side of the street. Conceived of as a moving pageant, the procession included a historical pageant showing famous women such as Boudicca or Joan of Arc -complete with armour and a white charger - opera singers and educationists, or themes such as ‘Empire’. The symbolism of the Empire Car portraying a woman embodying Great Britain as the mother of the Empire enthroned on the top of a dias surrounded by a guard of vestals clad in neo-classical style29 is redolent of the more austere Georgian themes of sacrifice, duty, and motherhood.

  • 30  Edward VII had died in May 1910.
  • 31  J. K. McDowell, The People’s History of Glasgow, 1899 quoted by John M. Mackenzie, ‘ “The Second C (...)

18The coronation of George V in June 191130 was the pretext for a range of public ceremonies of unprecedented scope. A least six ‘imperial’ occasions were celebrated that summer excluding the Women’s Coronation Procession : the unveiling of the Victoria Memorial, the Imperial Conference gathering of Dominion and Colonial Prime Ministers, the Imperial Festival at the Crystal Palace & Grounds in Syndenham, accompanied by the Imperial Games contest and the Pageant of Empire staged in the arena in the Festival Grounds, the White City Coronation Exhibition in Shepherd’s Bush and, despite its provincial denomination, the Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry held in Glasgow, ‘the second city of the British Empire’31.

  • 32  David Cannadine, ‘The context, performance and meaning of ritual: the British monarchy and the “in (...)
  • 33  David Atkinson, Denis Cosgrove, Anna Notaro, ‘Empire in modern Rome: shaping and remembering an im (...)

19The absence of ceremonial avenues and grandiose public architecture suited to the capital city of the world’s largest Empire had been the subject of debate amongst the elite since the two Jubilees held for Queen Victoria in 1887 and 1897 had highlighted London’s narrow, winding and unspectacular streets as a background to the parades32. The previous ‘improvements’ dated back to Regency developments such as Oxford Street and Regent Street. The soot and grime which cloaked all London facades, public or private, swiftly removed their dignity and splendour. Buckingham Palace, renovated in the 1840s was black and tawdry by 1901 as photographs of Victoria’s funeral procession show. Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Saint Petersburg, and even Rome, had large-scale monumental setting33. Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, Cleopatra’s Needle on the recently constructed Embankment or Marble Arch appeared paltry and insignificant in surroundings that did little to enhance their symbolism of victorious all-conquering Great Britain.

  • 34  Schneer, Imperial London, p.23.

20At the turn of the century, London County Council had embarked on a project which was to lead to several new streets in the centre of the city and the demolition of slum districts in Holborn. The resulting project of Aldwych, Kingsway and the widening of the Strand were intended to form part of an architectural project ‘to enhance the glory of this great empire’, according to the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects in his 1899 address to the members34. But it was the passing of the Queen Empress in 1901 that provided the occasion for the most extensive imperially motivated redesigning of the capital’s layout.

  • 35  Illustrated London News, May 17, 1911.
  • 36  See Tori Smith, ‘ “A grand work of noble conception”: the Victoria Memorial and imperial London’, (...)

21The Victoria Memorial was intended to provide a lasting tribute to the Queen standing in regal splendour outside the Palace and marking the entrance to the newly laid out Mall. The plans were ready within a year of the Queen’s death and the works took ten years to complete.  The unveiling of the Memorial, in the presence of the King and the Kaiser, Victoria’s grandsons, took place on May 16, 1911, when the statue was heralded as “a great imperial and national ideal wrought in marble”35. Around the base of the memorial, topped by a winged Victory, stand the Queen in regal attitude, Motherhood, and allegories of the Dominions, generous benefactors36.

  • 37  Findlay, Sir John G., The Imperial Conference of 1911 from Within, London, Constable, 1912; Imperi (...)

22One week later on 23rd May, no doubt timed to enable delegates to admire their countries’ contribution to the Victoria Memorial, the Imperial Conference continued the bi-annual convention started with the first Colonial Conference held in London in 1907. Attended by the Prime Ministers of the Dominions and British Government Ministers, the conference was an occasion for discussions concerning trade, tariffs and investment, which failed to make any great impact but which can be adduced as having contributed to good relations between the major actors of Imperial measures37.

23It was for the Coronation of George V on 22nd June that the new processional route from the Palace along the Mall was inaugurated as the carriages, mounted and foot troops, paraded around the Memorial and down the Mall heading towards Westminster Abbey. The Procession route also incorporated Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill. The whole of the capital was bedecked with flags and bunting, while entrepreneuring companies used the occasion to advertised their prowess. Oceanic House, the London office of the White Star Line shipping company in Cockspur Street, just off Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross, proudly displayed a poster of the majestuous RMS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, whose maiden voyage commenced on the 14th June, associating naval power and merchant shipping with the imperial occasion.

24Alongside solemn occasions, festivities also allowed for entertainment and amusement. The Festival of Empire and Imperial Exhibition opening in May 1911, ran through the summer, at the Crystal Palace in Sydenham. The glass marvel constructed to house the 1851 Great Exhibition served for the ‘All British Imperial Exhibition Section’ while new, scale replicas of the parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canberra, Auckland, and Delhi housing exhibits from each were completed by a Newfoundland Building, a Canadian Pacific Building, an Irish cottage village and an attraction named ‘Empire Caves’. Visitors could take a virtual tour of the empire on an electric railway as guides gave a running commentary pointing out the sights and telling them about each country. The whole experience was presented as

  • 38  Souvenir of Royal Visit to the Festival of Empire, Imperial Exhibition and Pageant of London, Crys (...)

the most magnificent educational spectacle ever seen in London. The Empire, with its manifold characteristics and infinite resources, is presented on a scale of realistic exactitude never before attempted38.

25Overseas Dominion Cadets were camped in the grounds and a fair ground included a ‘Joy Wheel’ and a Maxim Flying Machine and a ‘Mountain Railway’ switchback. Other areas in the grounds were given over to Outdoor Spectacles, the Empire Sports Arena and an amphitheatre for spectators to the Pageant of London.

26With a 15000 volunteer cast, the Pageant was staged over three days by Frank Stevens, who used the aristocratic pseudonym of Lascelles. His record included pageants in Oxford and Bath; and further afield in Quebec, for the Tercentenary of Canada, and Cape Town (Union of South Africa Parliament). He was to go on to stage the Delhi Coronation Durbar the following year, and a second Pageant of Empire for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. The history of Britain unfolded from the druids to 19th century, with historical and mythical figures providing centrepieces for crowd scenes. The finale, ‘The Masque Imperial. Allegory of the Advantages of Empire,’ written by Francis Hartman Markoe, showed the arrival of colonial heroes in the Dominions and India, using exotic animals such as camels and elephants, and culminating in the finale combining an invocation of God’s blessing on the imperial destiny of the country.

Nobly, Britannia, have you proved your worth

To rank among the glorious ones of earth,

And having metamorphosized its pain,

Behold, triumphant, the Imperial Gain.39

  • 40  Deborah S. Ryan, ‘Staging the imperial city: the Pageant of London, 1911’ in DRIVER & GILBERT, op. (...)

27However for all the moralistic exhortation, the visitors appear to have been left with less than ‘imperial’ impressions. The behaviour of the crowds left a lot to be desired, whilst what was graved on the memory of the pageant spectators was the history of Britain, not the greatness of the Empire. Others concentrated heavily on amusement. “For all the high imperial ideals of the exhibition organisers, the account of their trip is focused on the pleasures to be had from the exhibition’s pleasure grounds” concludes Deborah Ryan40.

  • 41  Athletics: 100 yds., F. J. Halbaus (Canada), 10.4 sec.; 220 yds., F. J. Halbaus (Canada), 23 sec. (...)
  • 42  The event receives lip service on the Team Britain website, but the only detailed work on the subj (...)

28A similar conclusion can be drawn about the Inter-Empire Championship, held at the Festival of Empire. Athletes, white men from the Dominions and Britain, competed in track, swimming and ring events41. The sport more than the imperial masculine subtext was surely uppermost in people’s minds. Winners were equally spread amongst participating nations - Great Britain, Canada and Australia. The event is more important as the prototype of future Empire and Commonwealth Games and as such merits attention42.

  • 43  A Number 24 bus (Victoria to Hampstead Heath) heading down Whitehall towards Parliament Square is (...)
  • 44  Schneer, op.cit., p.94-95.

29This survey of imperial display and entertainment cannot be closed without mention of two commercial events in the summer of 1911. Imre Kiralfy, a Hungarian born showman, had bought and turned the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition grounds and Olympic Stadium into pleasure grounds, billed as London’s Greatest Attraction, the Coronation Exhibition and the Great White City was advertised on bus maps and boarding43. Kiralfy had already staged a dramatic representation of empire at the Empress Theatre during the 1899 Earl’s Court Greater Britain exhibition44. At the White City in Shepherd’s Bush, the pavilions represented art and crafts from similar origins to those displayed at the Crystal Palace Festival of Empire. The buildings were named Palace of Women’s Work, Palace of Music, Irish Village (Ballymacclinton), Ceylon Village, Algerian Pavilion, Australia Pavilion, Canadian Pavilion, Mountain Railway, Indian Palace. Both White City and the Crystal Palace remained engraved in the memories of Londoners long after they had been razed to the ground even though their contribution to the imperial spirit, strongest in the interwar period, remains allusive.

  • 45  David Enrico Omissi, ‘The Hendon Air Pageant 1920-1937’, in John MACKENZIE, (ed.), Popular Imperia (...)

30The Circuit of Britain Air Race cannot exactly be described as a London event, but the Brooklands site, accessible on the Waterloo to Southampton railway line, was to become the major centre for the nascent British air industry in the following decade and is located just down the line from London’s overfill cemetery Brookwood whose railway station had been specifically built in the 19th century to service coffin trains from the metropolis. Organised by the Daily Mail, offering a £10,000 prize, and capturing public enthusiasm for the new flying machines, the race left Brooklands in Surrey, on Saturday 22nd July, took the 17 competitors - including Colonel Cody, Emile Vesdriines, James Valentine, and the winner a Frenchman, Lieutenant Conneau (Beaumont) - on a 1000 mile circuit with 11 stopovers to Edinburgh and back via Exeter and Brighton, ending on 26th July. The post-war Hendon Air Pageant45, organised at what became London’s principle airfield, appears to have combined the idea of pageant and prowess, military and technical display and popular appeal, present in the 1911 celebrations.

The legacy of imperial display in London

31The number of events around the imperial theme in the summer of 1911 cannot but have left a mark. The Delhi Coronation Durbar 1912 continued the idea of celebrating the King Emperor that had been present in the conception and unveiling of the Victoria Memorial. A follow-up British Empire Exhibition was planned from 1913. What made the 1924 Wembley exhibition different was its official status and its association with a existing popular event, the Football Association Cup Final. The aim of the exhibition yet again was to make the Empire accessible to all, and its mock-ups, amusement park, and pavilions replicated and magnified those which had already been seen in the 1911 Imperial Festival and at the White City Coronation Exhibition. The official aim of the Wembley Exhibition adopted the family metaphor present at the 1911 Festival of Empire : "to stimulate trade, strengthen bonds that bind mother Country to her Sister States and Daughters". It was the largest exhibition ever staged anywhere in the world, attracting 27 million visitors. The main exhibition buildings surrounded and fronted onto the lakes (right of centre in this picture). The Exhibition Station (foreground) adjoining the India pavilion, palaces of Engineering (middle right), Industry, and Arts (top), with the Australia and Canada pavilions to the left of the lakes. the Palace of Engineering and the British Government Pavilion survived into the 1970s. The Empire Pool became the Wembley Arena, and the Empire Stadium was also kept until 2002, when it was demolished to be replaced by the new Wembley Stadium. Thus the seeds sown in 1911 are still bearing fruit today as London prepares for the 2012 Olympics.

32In his analysis of popular culture of empire between the wars, John MacKenzie remarks on

  • 46  MacKenzie, John M., ‘The Popular Culture of Empire in Britain’, in Brown & Louis, op.cit., 1999 (2 (...)

one of the apparent curiosities of British Imperial history that, when the Empire encountered the economic, political and constitutional crises that would ultimately bring it down, British domestic culture came to emphasize colonial relationships as never before46.

33The bunting, flags, pageanteers, carts, processions and crowds in the metropolis in 1911 at a time of social unrest, political uncertainty and international crisis, confirm this. London as centre of the empire, imperial backdrop for the pageantry, site of imperial conferences and gatherings, provided imperial entertainment in the form of exhibitions and festivals, geared at inculcating pride in the greatness of Britain though awareness of the vastness of her domains and resources. Imperial designs were as much domestic as overseas.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

Des DOI (Digital Object Identifier) sont automatiquement ajoutés aux références par Bilbo, l'outil d'annotation bibliographique d'OpenEdition.
Les utilisateurs des institutions abonnées à l'un des programmes freemium d'OpenEdition peuvent télécharger les références bibliographiques pour lesquelles Bilbo a trouvé un DOI.
Format
APA
MLA
Chicago
Le service d'export bibliographique est disponible pour les institutions qui ont souscrit à un des programmes freemium d'OpenEdition.
Si vous souhaitez que votre institution souscrive à l'un des programmes freemium d'OpenEdition et bénéficie de ses services, écrivez à : access@openedition.org.

Baedeker, Karl, London and its Environs, Leipzig, Baedeker, 1911.

Besant, Walter, East London, London, Black, 1901.

Briggs, Asa,Victorian Cities, London, Penguin, 1968.

Cannadine, David,‘The context, performance and meaning of ritual: the British monarchy and the “invention of tradition”, c. 1820-1977’, in Eric HOBSBAWM, Terence RANGER (eds.), The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Colonial Office, Minutes of Proceedings of the Imperial Conference, 1911, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of His Majesty, July 1911, London, HMSO, 1911.

Dicks, Bella, Culture on Display, Open University Press, 2004.

Driver, Felix, Gilbert David, Imperial Cities, Landscape, Display and Identity, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1999.

Ellen, L., ‘Modernity and Post-colonialism: The Heart of the Empire (1909) by F.M. Bell-Smith‘, Labour/Le travail, Issue 52, Fall 2003, pp. 207-220.

Featherstone, Simon Englishness: Twentieth-Century Popular Culture and the Forming of English Identity, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

Format
APA
MLA
Chicago
Le service d'export bibliographique est disponible pour les institutions qui ont souscrit à un des programmes freemium d'OpenEdition.
Si vous souhaitez que votre institution souscrive à l'un des programmes freemium d'OpenEdition et bénéficie de ses services, écrivez à : access@openedition.org.

Fieldhouse, D. C., ‘The Metropolitan Economics of Empire’, in BROWN & LOUIS, op.cit., 1999 (2001), pp. 88-113.
DOI : 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205647.003.0004

Findlay, Sir John G., The Imperial Conference of 1911 from Within, London, Constable, 1912.

Findling, John E., Pelle, Kimberley D., (eds). Historical Dictionary of World’s Fairs and Expositions, 1851-1988, Westport, Conn., 1996.

Fry, Herbert, London: Bird’s-Eye Views of the Principal Streets, London, 1892.

Hutchins, W.W., London Town Past and Present, London, Cassell, 1909.

Hyam, Ronald, ‘The British Empireinthe Edwardian Era’, in BROWN & LOUIS, op.cit., 1999 (2001), pp. 47-63.

Illustrated London News, The Illustrated London News Record of the Life and Reign of Edward the Seventh, London, Illustrated London News and Sketch, 1910.

Imperial Conference, 1911, Dominions No. 7, Minutes of the Proceedings of the Imperial Conference, 1911, London, H.M.S.O., 1911.

Ingram, W. F. ‘New Zealandersin-The Empire Games -’, The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 12, March 1, 1938.

Jacobs, Jane, Edge of Empire: Postcolonialism and the City, London, Routledge, 1996.

Lomas, S. C. Festival of Empire, Souvenir of the pageant of London, London, Bemrose, 1911.

London County Council, London Statistics, 1907-1908 V18: Statistics of The Administrative County of London, And Of The Public Services Carried on Therein, London, London County Council, 1908.

London General Omnibus Company Ltd., Map and Guide to Omnibus Services. Open Air to Everywhere, August 1911.

MacDonald, Sharon ‘Exhibitions of Power and Powers of Exhibition’, in MACDONALD, S., (ed.) The Politics of Display, Museums, Science, Culture, London, Routledge, 1998.

MacKenzie, John M., ‘The Popular Culture of EmpireinBritain’, in BROWN & LOUIS, (eds.), op.cit., 1999 (2001), pp. 212-231.

MacKenzie, John M., ‘ “The Second City of the Empire” : Glasgow – imperial municipality’, in DRIVER & GILBERT, op.cit., 1999, pp. 215-237.

Madox Hueffer (Ford), Ford, ‘The Future of London’, in W.W. Hutchings, London Town: Past and Present, Volume II, London, Cassell, 1909.

Masterman, C.E.G.,The Heart of Empire: Essays, London, 1901.

Omissi, David Enrico, ‘The Hendon Air Pageant 1920-1937’, in John MACKENZIE, (ed.), Popular Imperialism and the Military, Manchester, 1992, p. 189-220.

Port, M. H., Imperial London: Civil Government Building in London, 1850-1915, New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 1995.

Ryan, Deborah S., ‘Staging the imperial city: the Pageant of London, 1911’ in DRIVER & GILBERT, op.cit., 1999, pp. 117-135.

Ryan, Deborah S., ‘ “Pageantitis”: Frank Lascelles’ 1907 Oxford Historical Pageant, Visual Spectacle and Popular Memory’, Visual Culture in Britain, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 2007, pp. 63-82 (20).

Salusbury, F.G.H., King Emperor’s Jubilee 1910-1935, London, Daily Express Publications, 1935.

Schneer, Jonathan, London 1900 The Imperial Metropolis, New Haven, Conn.,Yale University Press, 1999.

Smith, Tori, ‘ “A grand work of noble conception”: the Victoria Memorial and imperial London’, in DRIVER & GILBERT, op.cit., 1999, p. 11-39.

Stedman Jones, Gareth, Outcast London. A Study in the Relationship between classes in Victorian Society, London, Peregrine, 1984 (1976) (Oxford, O.U.P., 1971).

Haut de page

Notes

1  Parallels are to be drawn with 1952, year of the Coronation of the present Queen and the Festival of Britain on London’s South Bank.

2  Take the celebration of jubilees (Victoria in 1887 and 1897, George V in 1935, Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and Golden Jubilee in 2012) and royal weddings (1947, 1981, 2011).

3  Joseph Conrad’s novel had been published in 1901, after serialization in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1899. “As there is a darkest Africa is there not also a darkest England? Civilisation, which can breed its own barbarians, does it not also breed its own pygmies? May we not find a parallel at our own doors, and discover within a stone’s throw of our cathedrals and palaces similar horrors to those which Stanley has found existing in the great Equatorial forest?”, G. W. Booth, In Darkest England and the Way Out, (Salvation Army, 1890) Bastion, 2008, p.22.

4  The current Australia House situated in Aldwych was started in 1913 and completed in 1918.

5  Herbert Fry, London: Bird’s-Eye Views of the Principal Streets, London, 1892; Karl Baedeker, London and its Environs, Leipzig, Baedeker, 1911.

6  What the entry fails to point out, despite detailed statistics on the races present in each area, is that India represented 3/4 of the Empire’s population all told.

7  Contemporary photographs can be found in W.W. Hutchins, London Town Past and Present, Cassell, 1909 pp.155-156, along with other views such as the the Bank of England or the smog-clouded London skyline from the Golden Gallery of St. Paul’s.

8  London County Council, London Statistics, 1907-1908 V18: Statistics of The Administrative County of London, And Of The Public Services Carried on Therein, London, London County Council, 1908, IV. Vital Statistics, Table 2 Estimated population of Greater London 1902-1910, p.30.

9  D. C. Fieldhouse, ‘The Metropolitan Economics of Empire’, in Judith BROWN, W.M. Roger LOUIS, The Oxford History of the British Empire, The Twentieth Century, Oxford, OUP, 1999 (2001), p.111.

10  London Statistics, 1908, XXXI. Port of London, 8. Trade in the Port of London and in the ports of the United Kingdom, 1906 and 1907, p.402.

11  Census, 1911, Office of National Statistics.

12  London Statistics, 1908, Table XXXCIII Imperial Taxation in London, pp.480-481.

13  For a full discussion of the labouring classes in London in 1861, 1891 and 1906 see Gareth Stedman Jones, Outcast London A Study in the Relationship between classes in Victorian Society, Peregrine, 1984 (1971).

14  Jonathan Schneer, London 1900 The Imperial Metropolis, Yale University Press (1999), 2000, p.59.

15  In 1899 the Balfour government had created 28 boroughs, each with its own mayor and council, designed to act as a counterweight to the LCC and its progressive majority.

16  The First World War interrupted completion and it did not come into use until the 1920s.

17  Following the Housing and Country Planning Act (1919) by which state subsidies were made available for public housing, the LCC’s Standing Committee on the Housing of the Working Classes became the driving force behind the building of nearly 30000 homes for 150.000 people between 1919 and 1924 on greenfield sites in Dagenham, Barking, and Ilford. Becontree became the largest social housing estate in Europe between the wars. http://www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk/4-heritage/local-history/information-sheets/pdf/info-sheet-16.pdf (consulted 15 November 2010).

18  Walter Besant, East London. Black, 1901. Besant wrote the 10-volume Survey of London published by A & C. Black. His other books on Edwardian London are: Holborn and Bloomsbury, With G. E. Mitton, 1903; London, 1892; London City, 1910; London, North of the Thames, 1911; London, South of the Thames, 1912; Shoreditch and the East End, 1908; South London, 1899; The Strand District, 1903; The Thames,1903; Westminster, 1895.

19  Ford Madox Ford, ‘The Future of London’, in W.W. Hutchings, London Town: Past and Present, Volume II, Cassell, 1909.

20  London Transport Museum, www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk.

21  London Statistics, 1908, XXX. Locomotion. Tramways, 14 London County Council tramways - Miscellaneous statistics, 1906-1907, p.391.

22  Estimate based on total yearly numbers of passengers per railway. London Statistics, 1908, XXX Locomotion 1. Statistics of the ten trunk lines having termini in London, 2. Statistics of the local London railways, p.384; 10. Daily number of trains to each termninus, December 1907, p.389.

23  London Statistics, 1908, XXX. Locomotion. 27 Passenger traffic in Greater London, p.398.

24  London General Omnibus Company Maps 1910–1922, http://www.eplates.info/maps (consulted 15 November 2010).

25  9000 Hackney cabs and 2557 buses in 1907. London Statistics, 1908, XXX. Locomotion, Omnibuses, Licencing of public carriages, p.399.

26  The organisers were artists Edith Downing and Mary Wallace-Dunlop, the first hunger striker suffragette.

27  See Anna Davin, ‘Imperialism and Motherhood’, History Workshop, 1978; Lisa Tickner, ‘Banners and Banner-making’, in Vanessa R. SCHWARTZ, Jeannene M. PRZYBLYSKI (ed.) The Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture Reader, Routledge, 2004; Lisa Tickner, The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign 1907-1914, Chatto & Windus, 1987.

28  Poster advertising the event, available on Scala Picture Library.

29  Scala Picture Library, Museum of London.

30  Edward VII had died in May 1910.

31  J. K. McDowell, The People’s History of Glasgow, 1899 quoted by John M. Mackenzie, ‘ “The Second City of the Empire” : Glasgow – imperial municipality’, in Felix DRIVER, David GILBERT, (eds.), Imperial Cities, Landscape, Display and Identity, Manchester University Press, 1999, p.215.

32  David Cannadine, ‘The context, performance and meaning of ritual: the British monarchy and the “invention of tradition”, c. 1820-1977’, in Eric HOBSBAWM, Terence RANGER (eds.), The Invention of Tradition, CUP, 1983, p.128.

33  David Atkinson, Denis Cosgrove, Anna Notaro, ‘Empire in modern Rome: shaping and remembering an imperial city, 1870-1911’, in Driver & Gilbert, op.cit. pp.40-63.

34  Schneer, Imperial London, p.23.

35  Illustrated London News, May 17, 1911.

36  See Tori Smith, ‘ “A grand work of noble conception”: the Victoria Memorial and imperial London’, in DRIVER & GILBERT, op.cit., 1999, pp.11-39.

37  Findlay, Sir John G., The Imperial Conference of 1911 from Within, London, Constable, 1912; Imperial Conference, 1911, Dominions No. 7, Minutes of the Proceedings of the Imperial Conference, 1911, London, H.M.S.O., 1911. A cartoon of the time by E. F. Hiscocks shows Wilfried Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada, Sir Joseph Ward, Prime Minister of New Zealand, General Botha, Prime Minister of South Africa, while the British Government is represented by Herbert Asquith, David Lloyd George, Haldane, Secretary of State for War, and H.A.L. Fisher (appointed to the Royal Commission on the Public Services in India the following year).

38  Souvenir of Royal Visit to the Festival of Empire, Imperial Exhibition and Pageant of London, Crystal Palace, Coronation Year 1911, Bemrose, 1911, p.5.

39  Lomas, S. C. Festival of Empire, Souvenir of the pageant of London, London, Bemrose, 1911, http://www.archive.org/details/festivalofempire00lomaiala (consulted 20 November 2010).

40  Deborah S. Ryan, ‘Staging the imperial city: the Pageant of London, 1911’ in DRIVER & GILBERT, op.cit., 1999, p.132.

41  Athletics: 100 yds., F. J. Halbaus (Canada), 10.4 sec.; 220 yds., F. J. Halbaus (Canada), 23 sec. 880 yds.; J. M. Hill (Great Britain), 1min. 58.6 sec.; 1 mile, J. L. Tait (Canada), 4 min. 46.2 sec.; 120 yds. hurdles, K. Powell (Great Britain), 16 sec. Swimming : 1 mile freestyle (no information), 100 yards, Harold Hardwick (Australia); Boxing : Heavyweight, Harold Hardwick (Australia); Wrestling : Middle-weight, S. V. Bacon, (Great Britain).

42  The event receives lip service on the Team Britain website, but the only detailed work on the subject appears to be by W. F. Ingram, ‘New Zealanders in — The Empire Games —’, The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 12, March 1, 1938.

43  A Number 24 bus (Victoria to Hampstead Heath) heading down Whitehall towards Parliament Square is visible with an advert for the event along one side of the bus. http://www.timebinder.net (consulted on 21 Novermber 2010).

44  Schneer, op.cit., p.94-95.

45  David Enrico Omissi, ‘The Hendon Air Pageant 1920-1937’, in John MACKENZIE, (ed.), Popular Imperialism and the Military, Manchester University Press, 1992, pp.189-220.

46  MacKenzie, John M., ‘The Popular Culture of Empire in Britain’, in Brown & Louis, op.cit., 1999 (2001), p.230.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Susan Finding, « London 1911 : celebrating the imperial », Observatoire de la société britannique, 11 | 2011, 21-37.

Référence électronique

Susan Finding, « London 1911 : celebrating the imperial », Observatoire de la société britannique [En ligne], 11 | 2011, mis en ligne le 06 mars 2012, consulté le 26 juillet 2014. URL : http://osb.revues.org/1178 ; DOI : 10.4000/osb.1178

Haut de page

Auteur

Susan Finding

Professeur de civilisation britannique à l'Université de Poitiers

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d'auteur

Tous droits réservés

Haut de page