British Empire Exhibitions 1924-1925

British Empire Exhibitions 1924-1925

The British Empire Exhibition opened in 1924 at Wembley in north London. It was a huge spectacle that ran for two summer seasons and attracted millions of visitors. Built from scratch on a greenfield site, the exhibition was a showcase for goods and produce from the Empire countries. Visitor attractions included an amusement park, a stadium for mass entertainments, and the world's first bus station.

The idea of a great exhibition to celebrate Empire trade had been conceived as far back as 1913. In 1922, the government provided the funding for it to go ahead. The site chosen was Wembley Park in northwest London. It was criticised by some for being too far out of town, but it had good rail links: over 100 stations in the London area were within 18 minutes' journey time. A new 'motor-omnibus station' was erected, designed to deal with over 100,000 passengers a day.

Construction began in January 1922 and the first building to be completed was Wembley Stadium. Its first event was the 1923 F.A. Cup. The site also included hundreds of buildings, an amusement park, ornamental lake, reservoir, outfall sewer, railway lines and roads, all built from the new modern material - concrete. The first words transmitted over the radio by a British sovereign were spoken at the opening ceremony on 23 April 1924.

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