Poplar’s Chrisp St Festival has echoes of 1951 Festival of Britain

Crowds follow festival procession

Crowds follow festival procession - Credit: Poplar Harca

Festival time came to Poplar when the Big Parade attracted revellers—exactly 62 years after its iconic clock-tower was opened for the Festival of Britain.

Street entertainers at the festival

Street entertainers at the festival - Credit: Poplar Harca

Hundreds crammed Chrisp Street Market and Langdon Park on Saturday for street entertainers, fairground rides, live music and displays including hoola-hoop which became popular soon after the 1951 Festival.

Iconic clocktower opened for 1951 Festival of Britain gets a 2013 Festival 'makeover'

Iconic clocktower opened for 1951 Festival of Britain gets a 2013 Festival 'makeover' - Credit: Poplar Harca

It also included top bands, creative workshops, judo and public art displays, with kids trying their hand at mask-making and face painting. There was even a pop-up cinema in the middle of the market square.

Lindy Hop dancer

Lindy Hop dancer - Credit: Poplar Harca

Organisers gave a nod to the market’s Festival of Britain roots with classic cars, Lindy hop lessons, history talks and 1950s make-up artists giving revellers a makeover their grannies would be proud of.

Regular market stallholders, pubs and cafés opened specially alongside the pop-up street food stalls and a vintage coffee van.

The festival staged by Poplar Harca housing association also had 10 stalls from young entrepreneurs involved in the ‘somewhereto_re:store’ campaign, where youngsters take over spaces over the summer.

It also had a display of how the massive £1 billion regeneration begun by Poplar Harca 15 years ago will look when it’s finally completed in 2018.

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The Pop-Up Business School popped up from Basingstoke which is running workshops over the next two weeks for anyone with an idea who wants to learn how to turn it into a going concern, with 29 people already signed up. The first session is set for the Trussler community hall in nearby Grundy Street next month, with others following at St Paul’s Way centre.

Poplar Harca is the travelling business school’s first London housing organisation to take part in the workshops.

But the kids on Saturday were more interested in the really serious business of the day—having a festival of fun.