Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Franco-British Exhibition 1908, vintage postcards

Inspired by this week's Sepia Saturday I have decided to re-post this blog post from 2010 ...

Over the few years that I've been collecting vintage postcards I have found a variety of different cards from the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition. The exhibition was held in the White City area to the west of central London, and had something in the region of 8 million visitors. Most of the buildings which made up the exhibition are long gone and during my research I was dismayed to find that the last remaining buildings were demolished and replaced by a shopping centre.

My favourite card is probably the first one, the bird's-eye view, as it gives a fantastic impression of the size and scale of the event 100 years on. The Flip-Flap card comes a close second, primarily for the crowd admiring it in wonder.

I notice from my reasearch that other attractions included an Irish village and a Sengalese village, amongst many others, so I'll be keeping an eye open for postcards of those.

Bird's-eye View, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, published by Raphael Tuck, series number 3524

In Elite Gardens, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, published by Valentine

Fine Art Palace, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, published by Valentine

Court of Honour Illuminated, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, published by Raphael Tuck, series number 3524

Palace of British Applied Arts, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, published by Bonnett and Schum

Flip-Flap, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, published by Valentine

Western Lagoon, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, published by Valentine

French East Africa Palace, Franco-British Exhibition, 1908, published by Valentine

As always, 100's more vintage postcards can be found on my vintage postcards web site

Related books on ...

Related books on ...


  1. Nice collection! I hope you find some more out there. My favorite is the "Western Lagoon". I need one of those lagoons around my house. I wonder if it would improve my property value.

  2. Thanks for showing these again. I missed them the first time.
    I had never heard of this exhibition at all.

  3. The Birds-eye view really gives a good idea of what it looked like. I think the flip-flap is my favorite.

  4. Well I likethe flip-flap too, but just what is a flip-flap?

  5. Love these postcards.

  6. I confess I'd never even heard of the exhibition until today. What a shame none of those beautiful buildings remain.

  7. This is fascinating. What a wonderful collection of postcards that you have regarding the exhibition. That place was huge, like a small city or Disney World or something. So, is the Flip Flap a ride like the hammer? It looks way scary. Well, I love your Sepia Saturday post, great job!

    Kathy M.

  8. The flip-flap looks terrifying!

  9. These are wonderful and remind me of a post I did a few years ago about the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. Only one building exists from the SF exposition, the Palace of Fine Arts. I would certainly like to go back in time and visit each.

    You can see images here of the SF fair and might be surprised how similar they look:

  10. A great selection of images. There were so many national and international exhibitions and expositions : but I suppose that any which co-incided with the great postcard craze would be bound to be well-photographed.

  11. This is a superb collection! I think my favorite is the one done at night; I have a soft spot for illuminated scenes. Were the buildings constructed specifically for the exhibition? As I said in my own post, there's something inherently tragic about buildings which no longer exist. Wonderful post!

  12. Nice cards. I've bought a few old postcards of the flip-flap, an extraordinary device. It looks terrifying.

  13. Hello

    Where do I find a list of contributors to this 1908 exposition? An ancestor of mine was a partner in a firm of saddle and harness makers F Oldaker and Co, based in London. My ancestor who died in 1893 was the head of the Paris branch, which was sold to Hermes in 1895

    1. @Simon - sorry, I did a quick google search but nothing I'm afraid.

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