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Royal Festival Hall - 50 years on

Prince Charles will attend a gala concert at the Royal Festival Hall on Thursday 3 May to celebrate the buildingâs 50th birthday.

His grandfather George VI opened the Festival of Britain, which included the RFH, on 3 May 1951.

The post-war exhibition was visited by 8 million people. The great attraction was the Dome of Discovery on the Jubilee Gardens site. St John's Waterloo was restored to be the Festival church. The special Festival shops built opposite by the Hole in the Wall pub survived until recently when the site was required for the Jubilee Line works.

This month there are special displays in the Royal Festival Hall looking both back to 1951 and ahead to the South Bank's future. Visitors are being invited to give their views on proposals for improved lighting, security and access.
Special events on 3 May include live broadcasts from the South Bank on BBC London Live 94.9FM.

• "The Royal Festival Hall continues to keep alive the spirit of the Festival of Britain" says Prime Minister Tony Blair in a souvenir book Royal Festival Hall 1951-2001: Past, Present & Future. The many pictures include the riverside brewery with its landmark lion which stood on the RFH site. The much-loved lion is now on the end of the Westminster Bridge

• See page 8 of in SE1 for a guide to this month's special events to mark the Festival's anniversary.

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