British Industries Fair

BIF Montage

3 Purvis’s and a Games BIF posters

The British Industries Fair was an important exhibition centre in BirminghamEngland.

The large complex of buildings was built in 1920 and was situated between Castle Bromwich Aerodrome and the railway line. For two weeks every year it was the most visited attraction in the country. In 1933, the first diesel locomotive arrived for display at the BIF.

The exhibition hall and railway station, seen on a contemporary Ordnance Survey 1st edition 1:25 map

The nearby Castle Bromwich railway station received many important visitors for the BIF, including King George V and Queen Mary in 1928, the Duke of York, Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles. They were often entertained afterwards by the Bradfords at Castle Bromwich Hall.

The site was sold in 1960, along with that of the airfield. The buildings and the sites were cleared for the construction of the Castle Vale housing estate. The BIF was replaced by the National Exhibition Centre.

Strictly speaking, there were two BIFs, one staged in London and one held simultaneously in Birmingham, the latter concentrating on local strengths in engineering, electricals and heavy industry. Customers and delegates shuttled between the two on specially reduced rail fares (on non-stop trains) or flew in by air to Castle Bromwich.

The most prestigious of the guests (including the royals) might well find themselves entertained by the Earl and Countess of Bradford at Castle Bromwich Hall afterwards.

The British Industries Fair was ring-fenced in ways that can hardly be imagined in today’s multi-national and globally integrated world. Only manufacturers from the UK were permitted to exhibit, along with food producers from the Empire and Dominions. This was decidedly Britain’s show, an annually re-occurring Great Exhibition for the 20th century.

We currently have a 1933 version for sale, the first entry into our investment grade section

Purvis BIF


As a footnote, we sold this fantastic 1953 example in December 2017


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