“Festival of Britain. National celebratory event throughout the United Kingdom in 1951. Plans were laid by the then Labour Government, and (Sir) Gerald Reid Barry (1898–1968) was appointed Director-General. Partly inspired by the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Festival was later said to be a ‘manifestation of gaiety and ordered imagination in a world …short of both’. The centrepiece of the Festival was a major exhibition on the South Bank of the Thames in London housed in various purpose-built structures, the whole architectural development under the direction of Hugh Casson.”
From Historic England entry:
“…Designed by London County Council Architect’s Department as the London County Council’s contribution to the Festival of Britain. Original design team headed by Leslie Martin under overall control of Robert Matthew, with interior largely the work of a group under Peter Moro; architect in charge of construction, Edwin Williams. Scott and Wilson, engineers; acoustic design by Hope Bagenal, Williams Allen and Peter Parkin.
Additions of 1963-1964 designed by a London County Council team under Norman Engleback including David Wisdom, Harty Abbot, Tony Booth and Robert Maxwell.
…Style of building best described as in the spirit of the Festival of Britain, amended in the 1960s in accordance with Corbusian loyalties. Structural system of both original building and additions emphasises distinction between supports and walls. Original conception strongly influenced by the architecture of Berthold Lubetkin and of Gunnar Asplund, with Scandinavian influence specially strong in the interior fittings and finishings.
The Royal Festival Hall has been Britain’s premier concert hall since its opening by George VI in 1951 and has been associated with countless famous musicians and others. The additions of 1963-1964 completed the building by extending circulation and restaurant space at the front and adding offices at the back, instead of the ‘small hall’ originally intended at the back in 1951, but abandoned because of lack of time.
Building has significant group value with other public buildings along the twins, and specifically with South Bank ‘cultural’ buildings to its north, with which it is linked by the 1960s terrace system. Additions of 1963-1964 were conceptually linked with the Hayward Gallery of Queen Elizabeth Hall…”