Festival of Britain
The plan to celebrate the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 with a Festival was accompanied by a request for stamps. The request was bold, suggesting a complete new range. Logistically this would be a nightmare for the Post Office, but it nevertheless agreed to produce two special stamps, 2½d and 3d, and a new range of high values (2s 6d, 5s, 10s and £1).
Some alarm was felt when the Festival organisers stated they wished to be involved in the selection of designs, but this quickly evaporated as they agreed to work through the Council of Industrial Design as intermediaries.
Various artists were approached, including Abram Games, designer of the Festival symbol. Of the designs received, that by Edmund Dulac on the theme of 'Commerce and Prosperity' found immediate favour. Other designs considered were by George Bellew and Victor Reinganum, but the choice went to the Games' design for the 3d.
The issued stamps
The two special stamps, the four high values, and five low value definitives in new colours were issued on 3 May 1951, the day the Festival was officially opened (it opened to the public the following day). As the Festival had its own post office, many covers, especially registered, were posted on 4 May.
Submitted design by George Bellew
Submitted design by Abram Games
2½d issued stamp
4d issued stamp