Ever been in a flap? A ‘Flip-Flap’ was something else!
First the location... on this attractive postcard franked with an Edward VII 1/2d stamp and cancelled with a special postmark commemorating the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908. This was a large public fair held in London in the early years of the 20th century which attracted 8 million visitors and celebrated the ’Entente Cordiale’ signed in 1904 by the United Kingdom and France.
The Exhibition was held in an area of west London near Shepherd’s Bush which is now called White City, and the area acquired its name from the exhibition buildings which were all painted white. The 1908 Summer Olympics fencing events were held in the district alongside the festivities. The White City Stadium site, in Wood Lane adjacent to the Westway overpass and once part of the Exhibition, is now occupied by the BBC Media Village.
The 'Flip-Flap' was one of the most popular attractions at White City. It comprised two long steel arms, stretched out on opposite sides of a central base. At the end of each arm was a platform that could accommodate up to fifty people. The arms rose from the ground to a height of 200 feet, (over 60 metres), giving a spectacular view of the exhibition grounds.
This image on the postcard shows crowds of people at the exhibition with the 'Flip-Flap' ride in the background. Passengers paid sixpence for the ride, and on a clear day could see for miles. The exhibition was designed by impresario Imre Kiralfy, who was the co-ordinator of the fair and of the Olympic Games that were held at the same time.
The 1908 Summer Olympics - officially the ‘Games of the IV Olympiad’ - were an international multi-sport event which was held in 1908 in London from 27 April to 31 October 1908… much longer than the current three weeks. These particular games were originally scheduled to be held in Rome, but were re-located on financial grounds following the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906.
Image / words © Ed Buziak 2016.
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