Category:Empire Exhibition, Scotland (1938)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index


Scotland's Empire Exhibition

Building a 300-ft Observation Tower

This summer the greatest Exhibition since that at Wembley in 1924-5 will be held in Scotland. It will be known as the Empire Exhibition, Scotland, and will run from 3rd May, when it will be opened officially by His Majesty the King, until the end of October. It will be held in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, and its main purpose is to give visitors some idea of the Empire as a whole, and of the way in which its peoples live.

The Exhibition will cost altogether over £10,000,000 and more than 15,000,000 people are expected to visit it. It will be "a city within a city", for it will have all the services of a normal city of half a million inhabitants. Electricity, gas, water and drains have all been installed. There are 10 sub-stations to distribute the power for the illuminations, and 13 miles of underground cables and 240 miles of wiling were required to complete this system.

A post office also will be installed, and there will be a special Fire Brigade. Fire-proof materials have been used in all the buildings, so that the danger of fire is slight, but the authorities are taking no risks and hydrants have been installed along all the main avenues at intervals of 50 yards. Special roads have been built to carry the heavy machinery to be shown, and miles of lighter roads, pathways and promenades have been prepared to cope with the expected crowds. A special railway station is being built for the convenience of visitors, and parking space for 10,000 cars will be provided.

The buildings to house the exhibits are now in process of completion. Among them there will be a vast pavilion for the home country, and Northern Ireland, Eire and the great Dominions also will be represented. Exhibits will be arranged by Malaya, East and West Africa, certain of the West Indies and many other colonies, and Scotland will have special displays in two pavilions and a Highland Village. Every feature of great Exhibitions of the past will he reproduced and even surpassed. The area covered will be 175 acres, andon it there also will be what is claimed to be the finest amusement park ever seen in Great Britain. Sporting events and athletic displays will be staged in Ibrox Stadium, which is only a few hundred yards away and is capable of holding 120,000 people.

There are many features of outstanding engineering interest in the immense buildings of the Exhibition. The most modern materials are being used in the construction of these, and the architects responsible for them have had to solve many exceptional problems.

At first glance, the outstanding feature of the Exhibition will be the immense Tower of Empire. This is 300 ft. in height and from its imposing site on Bellahouston Hill, in the centre of the Park, it dominates its surroundings. From the projecting observatories at its top, which can accommodate 600 people, there will be a magnificent view, stretching across the Clyde, with its famous dockyards to the hills north of Glasgow and far into the Highlands. Two powerful lifts have been provided to carry visitors to its summit, and there is no doubt that these will be kept exceptionally busy throughout the run of the Exhibition.

The great Tower, which is illustrated on this page, is built of steel. It is provided with a covering of special metal sheets, painted aluminium colour on the outside, so that it will form a brilliant landmark by day, while at night searchlights mounted on it will sweep round the countryside. It can be described is a metal skyscraper, streamlined and pencil thin. Its building presented many new problems, for no tower of its height and design has previously been built to withstand the strain that it will be called upon to bear. Wind pressure gave rise to one of these problems. The Tower is of irregular cross-sectional shape, which will give rise to wind pockets and create vacuums at corners. In addition to wind pressure, the designer had to take into consideration the dead weight of the structure itself and of the spectators who will ascend it, and the live load imposed by the lifts, while the whip of the giant flag on the extreme top of the Tower also required careful attention.

A firm foundation of course is essential for such a towering structure. This is provided by a solid block of concrete, 48 ft. long, 52 ft. wide and 21 ft. deep, which contains 3,200 tons of concrete. This vast quantity of material was mixed and poured into position in 12 days. In it the Tower is embedded to a depth of 3 ft. and there it is firmly anchored by means of an elaborate system of bolts and reinforcing rods.

The Tower is not the only engineering wonder of the Exhibition. Another is the Palace of Engineering, which is the largest temporary structure ever raised. It is a gigantic steel-framed building covering an area greater than that of Trafalgar Square. Its length is 470 ft. and from front to back it measures 330 ft. Before its foundation could be laid it was necessary to excavate some 8,000 tons of earth.

The framework of this building contains more than 1,200 tons of steel, and 60,000 sq. ft. of patent glazing and 80,000 sq. yds. of asbestos sheeting were required to cover it. The erection of the framework was a remarkable constructional achievement, for it was completed in three months by 50 men. Every operation waa carried out to schedule, the men working as a team, each knowing what he had to do and what he could expect from the others.

When the Exhibition opens this huge building will contain one of the most comprehensive collections of engineering exhibits ever gathered together under one roof. The displays will illustrate shipbuilding, modern engineering and its auxiliary industries, locomotive engineering, electrical appliances and equipment, cranes and constructional and bridge engineering. There will be many working models of industrial plants, special bridges and cranes, with miniatures of various types of ships. Visitors will see many intricate machines in operation, and will come to realise from the multiplicity of their products the bearing that our great industries have on their daily life.

The Palace of Engineering will be separated by a lake 400 ft. long from the Palace of Industry, in which will be shown all kinds of manufactured products from penny-in-the-slot machines to musical instruments. In addition, over 40 special pavilions are being erected. One of these is being organised by the General Post Office, and in it there will be working models of the well-known Post Office underground railway in London, with miniatures of cable ships and mail aircraft. The British Broadcasting Corporation and the British Railways will be among the exhibitors, and other outstanding attraction will include a Hall of Youth and a Highland Village, complete with mountain burn and loch. To ensure accuracy the buildings in the Village were constructed from plaster moulds of actual houses in the Highlands. In the Exhibition Concert Hall audiences of 2,000 will be able to listen to the world's finest orchestras.

When dusk falls a wonderful system of floodlighting will illuminate the Exhibition grounds. This will involve the greatest experiment in floodlighting in colour that has yet been carried out in Great Britain. Beams changing continuously in tint will weave patterns among the trees, and play on streams running down the hillside to the lake with its many fountains. These fountains are of attractive design and will be illuminated at night by an extensive system of underwater lighting.

An artist's impression of the 300-ft. Tower at the Empire Exhibition, Glasgow, as it will appear when completed. The three observation galleries at the top will accommodate 600 people.

— , -, , Scotland's Empire Exhibition, , Meccano Magazine, , March 1938


The Empire Exhibition at Glasgow

The outstanding event of May will be the opening of the great Empire Exhibition at Glasgow. The ceremony will be performed by His Majesty the King on 3rd May, and from then onward until the end of October visitors will be able to see a wonderful display showing how the people of the Empire work and live.

Many of my readers, particularly those who live in Scotland, will be among these visitors and will be fascinated by the great 300-ft. tower illustrated in the March "M.M.", that dominates the scene. Although not quite so prominent as this amazing structure, the various pavilions will be even more attractive, for their contents will form a miniature of the British Empire. There will be machines of all kinds in the Palace of Engineering, and every conceivable industry will be represented in the Palace of Industry. The British railways exhibit will include a miniature railway on which will run scale models of famous trains, one for each of the four companies. There also will be special pavilions for every part of the Empire. The Malayan pavilion will have a scale model of the new Singapore airport and a full size section of a rubber plantation, and that organised by West Africa will be characteristic of the colony, with native craftsmen at work in it.

— , The Editor, , The Empire Exhibition at Glasgow, , Meccano Magazine, , May 1938

The Glasgow Exhibition

This month many of my readers will explore the wonders of the great Empire Exhibition at Glasgow, which is the subject of an article on page 364 of this issue. It is expected that from fifteen to twenty million people will visit the Exhibition, and during the first month more than two million passed through the turnstiles. This is a record for any British Exhibition, and is twice as many as the corresponding number at Wembley in 1924.

It is interesting to see where all these people find their chief attractions. The model of the Victoria Falls, 120 ft. in length, seems to have been the most popular individual exhibit, the daily attendance during the first month being nearly 11,000. This model uses 25,000 gallons of water every minute. The Highland Village is a good second, and the Tower of Empire is a great favourite, on account of its unique form and the wonderful views to be obtained from its galleries.

Of the many Pavilions, the most popular undoubtedly is that containing the Government exhibit, which has been described as the finest ever staged by the British Government. On some days the rate of progress through it has been 12,000 visitors an hour, with queues 100 yards long waiting for admission. The Services Pavilion also has proved a great attraction, so great indeed that more exhibits have been commissioned. Among these are an armoured car and two tanks, and a special display of air navigation instruments also has been arranged.

— , The Editor, , The Glasgow Exhibition, , Meccano Magazine, , July 1938

Glasgow Exhibition Record

The scale-built model trains representing "The Coronation Scot", the "Coronation," the "Cornish Riviera" and the "Brighton Belle" expresses, running over the 640-ft. miniature track in the British Railways' Pavilion at the Empire Exhibition, covered 3,120 miles during the six months the Exhibition was open.

Threading their way through scenic dioramas arranged in the form of a tour of Great Britain, the models have made 25,000 circuits of this Britain in miniature.

— , Railway News, , Glasgow Exhibition Record, , Meccano Magazine, , December 1938

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