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Festival of Empire

  (Redirected from Inter-Empire Championships)
View from the Canadian replica Parliament Building of the Festival at the Crystal Palace
Map of the event
New Zealand replica Parliament Building (based on old New Zealand Parliament Buildings)
Canadian Building (replica of the original Centre Block in Ottawa
South African Building (based on Houses of Parliament, Cape Town

The Festival of Empire or Festival of the Empire was held at The Crystal Palace in London in 1911, to celebrate the coronation of King George V. It opened on 12 May.



Exhibitions of products from the countries of the Empire were displayed in three-quarter size models of their Parliamentary buildings erected in the grounds:[1]

The buildings were constructed of timber and plaster as they were meant to be temporary.[2]

Pageant of LondonEdit

A pageant, organised by 'Master of the Pageants' Frank Lascelles, dramatising the history of London, England and the Empire was held.[3][4] The first performance of the pageant was on 8 June 1911; in four parts, performed on separate days, it celebrated the ‘magnificence, glory and honour of the Empire and the Mother Country’. Music was provided for The Pageant of London by 20 composers including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Frank Bridge,[5] Cecil Forsyth, Henry Balfour Gardiner, Edward German and Haydn Wood. This was performed by a military band of 50 players and a chorus of 500 voices,[6] directed by W.H. Bell.[7] The Pageant was so successful that performances were extended from July, when they were due to end, to 2 September.[8]

Inter-Empire ChampionshipsEdit

As part of the festival, an Inter-Empire sports championship was held in which teams from Australasia (a combined team from Australia and New Zealand), Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom competed in five athletics events (100 yards, 220 yards, 880 yards, 1 mile and 120 yards hurdles), two swimming events (100 yards and 1 mile), heavyweight boxing and middleweight wrestling.[9] This is regarded as a forerunner of the British Empire Games (now Commonwealth Games), held from 1930.

Famous competitors included Stanley Vivian Bacon (from Great Britain), Harold Hardwick (from Australia), Malcolm Champion (from New Zealand), George Hodgson and John Lindsay Tait (both from Canada).

Sport Event Winner Notes
Athletics 100-yard dash   Frank Halbhaus (CAN) 10.4 seconds[10]
Athletics 220-yard dash   Frank Halbhaus (CAN) 23.0 seconds[10]
Athletics 880-yard dash   Jim Hill (GBR) 1:58.6 minutes[10]
Athletics Mile run   John Lindsay Tait (CAN) 4:46.2 minutes[10]
Athletics 120-yard hurdles   Kenneth Powell (GBR) 16.0 seconds[10]
Boxing Heavyweight   Harold Hardwick (AUS) [11]
Swimming 100-yard swim   Harold Hardwick (AUS) [11]
Swimming One-mile swim   George Hodgson (CAN) [11]
Wrestling Middleweight   Stanley Vivian Bacon (GBR) [11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Victorian Station". Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "1911 Crystal". Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  3. ^ "Crystal Palace Park". Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  4. ^ D.S. Ryan 'Staging the imperial city: the Pageant of London, 1911' in Imperial Cities: Landscape, Display and Identity, eds. F. Driver & D. Gilbert, Manchester University Press, 1999, pp. 117-135
  5. ^ Hindmarsh, Paul (1982). Frank Bridge: A Thematic Catalogue, 1900–1941. London: Faber Music. pp. 69–70. 
  6. ^ Mitchell, Jon C. (2001). A Comprehensive Biography of Composer Gustav Holst with Correspondence and Diary Excerpts, Including His American Years. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press. p. 93. ISBN 0-7734-7522-2. 3
  7. ^ Richards, Jeffrey (2001). Imperialism and music: Britain 1976-1953. Manchester University Press: p. 190
  8. ^ Richards, p. 193
  9. ^ Commonwealth Games Medallists. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2014-05-31.
  10. ^ a b c d e Commonwealth Games Medallists - Athletics (men). GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2014-05-31.
  11. ^ a b c d New Zealanders in — The Empire Games — Specially written for the “N.Z. Railways Magazine”. The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 12 (March 1, 1938.). Retrieved on 2014-05-31.
  • Festival of Empire: the Pageant of London (1911, Bemrose & Sons, London) (souvenir book, 163 pages, edited by Sophie C. Lomas; master of the pageants Frank Lascelles),

External linksEdit