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LION AND UNICORN PAVILION

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The Lion and Unicorn Pavilion was a temporary exhibition pavilion erected on London's Southbank for the duration of the Festival of Britain which ran from May to September 1951. It was designed by R.D. Russell and Robert Goodden who, unusually, also designed the displays. The engineers involved were R.T. James and Partners and the consultant for the Lamella roof was E. Lewis.
The barn-like pavilion was steel-framed and had a Lamella timber truss roof of English oak which swept over the sides of the pavilion, curving upwards. The entrance front was glazed and the side walls had eye-shaped portholes. A mural by Kenneth Rowntree depicting scenes from British history adorned one of the interior walls and the pavilion also had cafeteria which was called The Unicorn. The displays, on the one hand, focussed on the serious themes of Christianity, the Law and the Constitution while, at the same time tried to capture a light-hearted sense of British eccentricity. The name of the pavilion was considered to be a symbolic one in that 'the Lion would stand for the more dependable traits in the national character, [and] the Unicorn for the more volatile.'

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