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A Visit to the Empire Exhibition

An early colour home movie from 1938

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The film records a home movie of Mr D Campbell of his day out at the Exhibition. The film records the exhibition grounds, avenues and pavilions, Tait's Tower, the Clachan - a replica of a Highland Croft, the fun park and the dancing waters after dark.
Various title cards show the Exhibition Lion dressed in different outfits to describe aspects of the day.
Shots include: Colonies and Dominions avenue, views of the Engineering building and fountains; boys using a public water fountain; New Zealand pavilion; Canadian pavilion with Canadian Mounted Police; Ireland and Australia pavilions; Tait's Tower, view from the top; Kings-way avenue; G.P.O. (General Post Office) Building; Scottish Avenue children in playpark; female statues, fountains; Butlin's roundabout ride; The Clachan, The Fun Park roundabout, big wheel; rollercoaster; Indian performers resting "Rafi Indian Archer Extraordinary, Hassan The One Wheel Wizard"; After Dark - the dancing waters and lighting in the amusement park.

Questions & Activities


  • Would you like to visit the Exhibition?
  • Do you think this film was made by an amateur or a professional, why?
  • How many different countries are represented at the Exhibition?
  • What differences do you see in people's dress and behaviour from modern Scotland?
  • Why do think this Exhibition was the last of the great Empire Exhibitions?
  • Do you think the Exhibition should have been permanent?
  • Was the Exhibition worth filming?
  • Why do you think there are no shots taken inside the Exhibition rooms?


Research the British Empire.

Compare people's attitudes to the Empire Exhibition to how the public responded to the Millennium Dome in London in 2000. Why do you think it was so different? Compare the visitor numbers.

Research the Empire Exhibition. Why was it in Glasgow? How much did it cost? How many people visited? What was available to do and see? Why was it the last great Empire Exhibition?

Import the film into editing software and create a 30 second advert for the exhibition - include voiceover, music, slogans.

Write a 'Sense Poem' describing how the Exhibition looked, sounded, smelt...etc.

Design and create a working fairground ride.

Write a list of what you would include in a modern day Exhibition about Scotland and the World. Then, plan what such an Exhibition would be like in 2050.

Watch this film of a day out at the Exhibition and then watch 'Scotland for Fitness' which was shown at the Exhibition. Write a diary entry from the point of view of an international visitor. Explain what you saw and did and how watching 'Scotland for Fitness' made you feel about Scotland.

Find out how much it cost for a ticket to the Exhibition. Then compare to the local wages of the time and calculate how long it would take for an ordinary working class person to save the entry fee.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-325-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 3035
Date 1938
Genre Home Movie
School Subject Modern Studies, Technologies, History, English, Media Studies
Subject Matter Citizenship
Who Mr D Campbell (director/filmmaker)
Where Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
Event Empire Exhibition
Attributes Colour, Silent
Clip Length 11:52
Film Length 11:52