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The British Empire Exhibition Commemorative Handkerchief, 1924. © Museum of London
This stunning silk pocket square has been reproduced from an original cotton handkerchief produced for the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924. Originally seen as a souvenir piece, it shows the huge Palace of Industry alongside pavilions of Britain's dominions, colonies and dependencies erected for the exhibition on the 216 acre site in north London.
The central motif of "British Empire Exhibition, Wembley 1924" inscribed across a belt, is surmounted with flags, with the remainder printed with framed scenes from all over the British Empire, in a montage superimposed on a black ground, with a border of red, white and blue design. The scenes depicted include: Malaya, New Zealand Pavilion, the Palace of Industry, Palace of India, Palace of Burma, India Courtyard, Hong Kong, Australian Pavilion, Union of South Africa, Bridge Across Lake Newfoundland, The Ceylon Pavilion, and Her Majesty's Government building.
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The British Empire Exhibition was a colonial exhibition held at Wembley Park, England in 1924 and 1925. It was officially opened by King George V on 23 April 1924 - Saint George's Day. The opening ceremony was broadcast by BBC Radio and was the first such broadcast by a British monarch. The official aim of the Exhibition was "to stimulate trade, strengthen bonds that bind mother Country to her Sister States and Daughters, to bring into closer contact the one with each other, to enable all who owe allegiance to the British flag to meet on common ground and learn to know each other".
It cost £12 million at the time and was the largest exhibition ever staged anywhere in the world, attracting 27 million visitors. The Exhibition concept required a large number of buildings in a variety of styles, offering the architects a unique opportunity to experiment. The main building material used was reinforced concrete, selected for its speed of construction and Wembley Park thus earned the title of the first “concrete city” the world had ever seen.
Nearly 2,000 men were employed in constructing the Exhibition buildings during 1923-4. The Indian pavilion had towers and domes, the West African pavilion resembled an Arab fort, the Burmese pavilion was a temple and the South African building reflected the Dutch style. There were also four other major structures. These were the palaces of Engineering, Industry and Arts, and the HM Government Building. All of these palaces can be seen to have had a Roman Imperial character as befitted their political symbolism. At the time, the palaces of Industry and Engineering were the world’s largest reinforced concrete structures. The Exhibition’s roads were named by Rudyard Kipling and the site was also served by Britain’s, and possibly the world’s, first bus station, which could handle 100,000 passengers a day.
The Museum of London documents the history of the English capital city from prehistoric through to modern times. It is located on London Wall, close to the Barbican Centre as part of the stunning and now protected Barbican complex of buildings created in the 1960s and 1970s, an innovative approach to re-development within a bomb-damaged area of the City of London. The museum, a few minutes' walk north of St Paul's Cathedral, overlooks the remains of the Roman city wall and is on the edge of the oldest part of London, now the main financial district. It is primarily concerned with the social history of London and its population throughout time and is jointly controlled and funded by the City of London Corporation and the Greater London Authority. The museum, the largest urban history collection in the world, has more than six million objects.
The art of hand rolling pocket squares is a unique craft and truly makes each piece individual and unique. We feel that the precision and care taken by our skilled artisans gives each pocket square its own unique character, finish and feel. To create the finest rolled hems, the edge of the silk or cotton pocket square must be softy turned over with handheld needle and then small stitches are inserted approximately one half to one centimetre apart around the edge, creating a supple yet prominent border. It’s absolutely the best way to finish a pocket square for a variety of reasons but the key ones are for both visual effect and structure.
Rolling by hand is the only way to get a really nice clean plump finish on the edge and this gives a really nice depth to the edges. It’s a more expensive process than machine rolling but by using a machine you’re often left with a flat edge and you don’t get the same luxurious feel. On top of this, the rolled edges add a lot more structure to your pocket square.
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