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Franco-British Exhibition (1908): Wikis


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Bird's eye view of the exhibition area

The Franco-British Exhibition (1908) was a large public fair which took place in London, United Kingdom in the early years of the 20th Century. The exhibition celebrated the Entente Cordiale which had been signed by the United Kingdom and France in 1904 and attracted 8 million visitors.

It was held in an area of West London near to Shepherd's Bush which is now called White City - the area acquired its name from the exhibition buildings which were all painted white. The Olympic Games were held in the district alongside the festivities.



The fair was the largest exhibition of its kind in Britain, and the first international exhibition co-organised and sponsored by two countries. It covered an area of some 140 acres, including an artificial lake, surrounded by an immense network of white buildings in elaborate (often Oriental) styles.

The most popular attractions at the exhibition were the two so-called "colonial villages", an "Irish village" and a "Senegalese village", which were designed to communicate the success of imperialism. The Irish village ("Ballymaclinton") was inhabited by 150 "colleens" (Irish girls) who demonstrated various forms of domestic industry, as well as displays of manufacturing and even an art gallery. The "Senegalese village" was a so-called "native village" displaying day-to-day life, as well as various artefacts. Press reports commented on the "surprising cleanliness" of the Irish, while readers were reminded that the Senegalese were "cleaner than they looked".[1]

Limericks were used to advertise this event:

In Elite Gardens
A maiden of coy disposition,
Met her fate at the Bush Exhibition,
When his great love he told her,
Placed her head on his shoulder,
And enjoyed the happier position.
In an Anglo-French section one night,
A Youth met a Maiden, gay and bright,
But her idea of pleasure,
Was of such boundless measure,
He left with heart heavy - purse light.

The site today

The site of the exhibition is now occupied by the BBC Television Centre, built in 1960, and the Westfield Shopping Centre, which opened in late 2008. The last remaining buildings of the 1908 exhibition were demolished to make way for the Westfield development.

See also


  1. ^ "Section: White City". Madeline Holt interviewing Miranda Carter. Edited by Peter Barron.. Newsnight. BBC Two. 2008-05-14. 42 minutes in.

External links



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