Vintage cars, and vintage clothes were on display as a 1920's theme took hold of London's Southbank area. Many Londoners dressed the part as the outdoor summer festival got into full post war swing. 30 July 2011
The British clothes designer Wayne Hemingway has taken over the six floors of the Royal Festival Hall for a vintage festival celebrating the 1920's, its clothes and its culture.
Outside and not to outdone there is a similar venture where vintage cars, if not quite of the era and clothes of the fashion are on display for the thousands who prefer their culture alfresco.
The walkways on the stretch along The Thames reaching between The London Eye and The Royal National Theatre were packed with people, some promenading and some sitting down and stopping off and taking time to enjoy the view and maybe take the rays and some food and drink in.
Many Londoners dressed the part although few are alive now who were living when the period began. Too few to recall the post war period for real.
And it has to be said it is the women rather than the men who get most fully into the swing of the thing. Most who bother are well dolled up. To the nines as used to be said. With makeup and hair all of the mode. Many a lip is brilliant cherry red. A result of some determined glossing. And the hairspray. Enough to warm a whole planet may have been used.
It is hard to say how much of a roaring trade the stalls were doing. Or for that matter what association JLS has with the twenties - they are represented in the vintage village - apart from the fact that its young members are still in them.
The vintage shoes appeared to be popular, again, with the women. Though it may have been that they were window shopping but without the windows as pairs were tried for size at the same time as not dispensing with any cash.
There was splashing but not of cash downstream and a little further on from the shoes and the boutiques with their feather boas where the adults played.
For the children there was a fountain to fool about in. In the lee of Oliver's theatre, a square with eight walls of water, independently timed, jets shoot up some ten feet high in to the air.
Some imagined it is magical. And that a secret lays inside. You'll be dry. As a wall fell you could step in. Gingerly.
But it is no watery illusion. Nor a mirage. It is not a safe oasis. Once inside the wall rise and you, trapped, get well and truly soaking wet. Jut like the kids running in and out of the jets. It is fun. And free. And when released the hot sun soon gets to work and does its baking best.
There is a serious side to this festival. The artist Gitta Gschwendtner has commemorated the Lion and the Unicorn one of the pavillions at the 1951 Festival of Britain. The original housed a flight of ceramic birds to symbolise migration and freedom of speech.
This is what is written by the display: "Gitta Gschwendtner has created a new installation in collaboration with young people from refugee groups across London. Their poems, printed and spoken here, reinterpret original themes of strength and imagination. Many of the artists involved in the Festival of Britain were from refugee backgrounds and the Lion and the Unicorn sculpture celebrates and lays stark the stories of young people new to Britain, releasing their words into the world."
And what is so great about Londoners is they stop and read the stories, in black and white, about black and white, before moving on.