Now, you’ll have to be of a certain age to know about the Skylon, which I’m afraid I am.
The Skylon was part of the 1951 Festival of Britain. My abiding memory is of standing directly beneath the Skylon with my brother, and us both being amazed at how it was held aloft. It shows the impact that it had, that others felt the same. I remember being most disappointed hearing that it’d been demolished. As a young boys, the Festival was very inspiring. I’ll not bore about the Festival, but there was also a fascinating stainless steel water fountain, which had parts that moved with water pressure.
How I’d love for the Skylon to be found and re-erected. Wikipedia’s report suggests it was scrapped and cut into pieces. However, in today’s Daily Telegraph, there’s the wonderful thought that it was thrown into River Lea in London, and that divers could be going in search of it, or dumped in the Thames, or even buried in Jubilee Gardens.
Lovely thoughts, all. However, I doubt that the valuable steel and aluminium would not have been left unsold as scrap. Heck, these were the early post war years when times were tougher than today.
Stephen Bayley, again in today’s Telegraph, comments on the 1951 Festival, and says about the Skylon,
“Skylon was a steel lattice structure 90m tall, supported by cables and covered in louvred aluminium. Revealing frustrated yearnings for new materials and consumer gratification, its name was chosen – in an ecstasy of hope – by the wife of the chief architect of Crawley Development Corporation.”
See HERE for pictures for the Festival of Britain, where you can see just how large and impactful was the Skylon.
Would I like to see the Skylon re-erected. You betcha. There’s even a campaign to rebuild the Skylon, where you can vote for the location of your choice. I’ve voted – next to the Tower of London is my perhaps ill-considered choice.
UPDATE: Mr Norman Bartlett, in a letter to the editor in today’s Daily Telegraph, recalls his father bringing home lengths from the Skylon that he bought from a scrap-metal dealer, which he used to build his greenhouse. So, I think my conclusion is correct. Skylon was sold for scrap.
UPDATE II: Again in a letter to the editor of the Daily Telegraph, this one from John Tucker, come facts. The 600 Group, a well known metal recycling company of the time, dismantled and scrapped the Skylon and had paper knives made out of some of the metal, which they gave away as presents. One of which Mr Tucker owned. Nuff said methinks.