Monday, February 14, 2011

Empire Exhibition Scotland 1938

(Post 46)

The Empire Exhibition of 1938 was held at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow from May to October, 1938. The Exhibition was created to provide manufacturers in Scotland an opportunity to find new markets in the Empire as well as to showcase British industries.

The Exhibition attracted over 12 million visitors. A large pavilion was allocated to British exhibits, two to Scotland, and one to each of the leading Dominions, Malaysia and the West Indies. Private industrial firms occupied 50 pavilions, and other exhibits included the palace of arts, industry, and engineering.

The Digital Design Studio of the Glasgow School of Art has created an amazing 3D digital model of the Exhibition on its website.

Pre-Exhibition Correspondence

Address label from Empire Exhibition Scotland 1938 to The Tourists' Hotel, Glasgow
Prepaid 6d., December 16, 1937

Edward VIII meter indicia

Season Ticket

Opening Day

The Exhibition was opened on May 3, 1938, by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. A British Pathe newsreel of the King's speech can be seen at their website.

The above recording of the Empire Exhibition opening was viewed by  Tom Hooper, director of the film "The King's Speech" and Colin Firth who played George VI in the film. It has been reported that the King's address was so poignant, and the King looked so distressed and sad, that it made Mr. Firth and Mr. Hooper cry.

In his speech, the King paid tribute to the enterprise and initiative of Scots, both in their contribution to establishing the British Empire and in setting up the Exhibition.

The actual opening ceremony was held at nearby Ibrox Park, home of Rangers Football, allowing a larger crowd to witness the occasion.

Opening Day Souvenir Cover

Exhibition Post Office cancellation
May 3, 1938

Post Card Watercolour Views

Souvenir lettercards featuring water colours by Brian Gerald were published by Valentine & Sons, Ltd.

Lettercard No. 2A mailed from the Exhibition P.O. June 16, 1938

South Cascade and Tower

The Clachan

Atlantic Restaurant and Tower

South Cascade & Tower by Night

The Tower

Cascade and Laje, Dominions Avenue

The Clachan

A clachan (highland village) was re-created at the Exhibition and included a post office.

Post Office, The Clachan

Mailed from the 1938 Empire Exhibition, Glasgow
Exhibition P.O. to Taunton, July 16, 1938

Post Office and Tower at The Clachan

Clachan Post Office label

Mailed from the 1938 Empire Exhibition, Glasgow
Exhibition P.O. to Brookline, Mass, August 8, 1938

Closing Day

G.P.O. Pavillion souvenir card

Postmarked closing day, October 29, 1938


1. Exhibition Post Office

Various postmarks were in use at the Exhibition Post Office.

Exhibition Post Office circular date stamp
September 11, 1938

Exhibition Post Office Glasgow 2

2. Slogan Cancellations

Exhibition P.O. machine cancellation
Exhibition slogan

Glasgow, May 2, 1938

London, August 25, 1938

London, Foreign Section to Canada
Canadian duty handstamp September 7, 1938

Plymouth and Devon, July 8, 1938

Southampton Paquebot, April 26, 1938

3. Meter Cancellations

Derby, October 12, 1938

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