Open daily 10:00 to 17:45 Admission free Menu
'Britain Can Make It', colour lithograph poster advertising the exhibition organised by the Council of Industrial  Design, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 24 September – 31 October 1946, designed by Ashley Havinden, Great Britain, 1946, CIRC.459-1971. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

'Britain Can Make It', colour lithograph poster advertising the exhibition organised by the Council of Industrial  Design, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 24 September – 31 October 1946, designed by Ashley Havinden, Great Britain, 1946, CIRC.459-1971. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Diane Bilbey is currently working on a publication for V&A Publishing that will result in a highly visual exploration and celebration of the then popular, but now largely overlooked, 'Britain Can Make It' exhibition, organised by the Council of Industrial Design and hosted at the V&A from September to December 1946.

The exhibition was a showcase for British design and manufacturing, and was a precursor to the more widely celebrated Festival of Britain in 1951. It ran for just three months, but the BCMI exhibition boasted an incredible 1,432,546 visitors, with an average of 20,000 a day.

The book will be illustrated throughout, with a combination of evocative photographs from the exhibition, and with colour photography of the most noteworthy and visually interesting objects and designs. Where possible, essays will be illustrated with objects from the V&A’s collections.

By taking its structure loosely from the exhibition itself and from the accompanying Design ’46 catalogue, this book will take the reader through an eclectic array of subject areas and consumer products. Most chapters will be in the form of short essays, written by V&A curators and external specialists, as well as by Diane herself as author and general editor.

Intended outcome

A scholarly, yet popular publication celebrating the ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition, to be published in September 2016 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the exhibition.

Project Lead: Diane Bilbey, Visiting Research Fellow

Shop online

Handmade in Britain

Handmade in Britain

This important book forms part of the Handmade in Britain partnership between the V&A and the BBC. Published as the culmination of a year-long sea…

Buy now

Strawberry Thief Free iPad Game

Strawberry Thief by BAFTA award winning games designer Sophia George is a playful celebration of the work of Victorian designer William Morris. Uncover the famous Arts and Crafts design by drawing on your screen with your finger and watch your iPad transform from blank paper to an animated masterpiece.

Download now

Event - Create! Stage Make-up (16-19 years) November 2015

Sat 14 November 2015 11:00–16:00

YOUNG PEOPLE'S EVENT: Linked to the V&A's 'Make/Believe: UK Design for Performance' exhibition, find out the principles of stage make up, create your own design for a theatrical fantasy character.

Book online