Thursday, April 4, 2013

Merrie England at A Century of Progress Exposition 1934



The English Village, known as "Merrie England," at the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago was one of the "villages" that were added for the second year of the Fair. There were recreations of villages from foreign lands and past times, which also included Streets of Paris, Belgian Village, Italian Village, Spanish Village, Swiss Village, Colonial Village, Black Forest Village, Irtish Village, and Tunisian Village. The postcard above has a drawing of an aerial view of the English Village. The facade or outside wall of the village had recreations of castle architecture, while inside there were various types of historical buildings. The back of this postcard has the printed description shown below:



Other buildings inside Merrie England  that were mentioned in the Official Guide Book of the Fair included Harvard home, Robert Burns's cottage and John Knox home from Scotland, and The Olde Curiosity Shop from Charles Dickens' novel. Careful studies of original buildings were made in England and Scotland, and plaster casts of exteriors were used for exact reproductions of their appearance.

Western Photogravure Co. of Chicago published many black and white postcards with views of Merrie England. Some of them are show below. 

North Gate - Allington Castle


Hampton Court Palace Gate


Norman Gateway


Morris Dancers - Village Green


Shakespeare's Old Globe Theater


Leycester Court


Interior, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese




For More Vintage Images


17 comments:

  1. Postcards of stereotypes - great fun.

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  2. I cannot imagine why the artist added all the flags at half-mast. Was this intentional for some reason now lost?

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  3. That Century of Progress was quite sonething wasn't it. Very interesting scenes.

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  4. Oh I wish I would have been born a few years earlier. I'm from Chicago, but missed this fabulous fair by a few years. Doesn't it look so fascinating and fabulous and so elaborate.
    Nancy

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  5. Merrie England, indeed! It looks very similar to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, where I was a strolling musician in Olde England. It was probably a major influence on educating Americans on British culture before the war.

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  6. Surprised to see an Aussie Flag included.

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  7. A fascinating collection of photographs of a vision of "Ye Olde England"!

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  8. I find the black and white postcards to be more interesting than the garish aerial view. Why Dickens' Old Curiousity shope was included I can't see - it was fictional after all.

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  9. Quite a collection of "castles" in the US.

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  10. It must have been a popular place during the fair!

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  11. I;m impressed by the number of cards you have on this subject. The Norman Gateway is my fave, possibly for its graceful lines. Great post!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  12. You certainly found a collection of castles. I ended up using a prison.

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  13. Great selection of exhibition/esposition postcards.

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  14. These are quite fun! I imagine Disney was influenced by places like this.

    Ye Old Chesire Cheese would probably not be a restaurant I'd stop in, unless I was wanting cheese.

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  15. It's a wonderful collection of postcards on that theme.

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  16. I always enjoy reproduction villages. I'm sure I would have really enjoyed the Merrie England exhibit at the Century of Progress Exposition.

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  17. These were quite fun to look at! I too was thinking of Disney when I saw them.

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