Sidelights On The Exhibition
By R. P. WALSH
(Formerly Editor Of The " Catholic Worker ")
yOU would enjoy standing as I did with one of the Glasgow Exhibition workmen in one of the Scottish Pavilions where they have an exhibition of house pests—lice and bugs. The workman's comments are unprintable but
the way in which some of the visitors regarded that corner called for wrath.
One pompous man told his family that if the poor bathed they would not have bugs, but the majority of visitors were horrified at the sight of the live bugs (and it is a sight that makes blood run cold) and agreed that new houses were needed at once.
While discussing people you would be amazed at the civic sense of the Glasgow people. They want the visitor to enjoy himself and they anxiously ask questions of obvious visitors to find out if they have. They are concerned with the defects of the Exhibition, inadequate and expensive restaurants, shortage of seating accommodation and extra charges inside the grounds. They will make Empirex well-nigh perfect before they finish,
As a Catholic you will enjoy-finding the Catholic parts in the various pavilions. Eric Gill's " 5th Station " and Mr. Gunn's famous "Conversation Piece " (Belloc, Baring and Chesterton) in the Palace of Art; Catholic books on the bookstand in the Palace of Industry; the credit, given in the Peace Pavilion, to St. Augustine, Suarez, Crucd and Benedict XV, with the statement The early Christian Fathers and their successors of the Middle Ages worked out he principles by which peace should be promoted. . . "; the early ecclesiastical pottery and vestments of the Stuart times in the -Scottish Pavilion; and, of course, the Catholic Pavilion.
The Catholic Pavilion dominates one side of the Exhibition. In any part of the southern section (and that has the major part of the Exhibition) one looks up and sees the Tower and Eric Gill's Crucifix.
I was rather disappointed the first time I went to see this Pavilion. In the morning it was closed, and though visitors were allowed in during the afternoon the unfinished, bare state created a bad impression. And that was eight days after the Exhibition opened.
Seeing it a few days later I changed my mind. The chapel is lovely, the display of vestments very interesting, the missionary section attractive (though I must say 'shave seen better missionary displays).
Your interest in the social problems will help you to appreciate fully many of the Pavilions.
As a distributist you would dislike the display put up by the combines and monopolies.
There is the interesting I.C.I. Pavilion, boasting of employing 60,000 persons in Great Britain, of its 100 locomotives and 4,000 wagons, of its 150 lorries and 100 river and sea-going vessels. The extent of its trade is amazing and will make you quote that part of Quadragesitno Anno that refers to the danger of too much economic power being in the hands of a few.
In the Shell-Mex Pavilion there is a model of the world with Shell-Mex tankers everywhere.
The "Agriculture and Fisheries" Pavilion is worth a visit. There one can discover the value of science in improving crops and stock and food. I left that Pavilion con vincecl that the day of the " small-manindividualist " was over. Not that the day of the small-man was over, but that if he came back he must work in some co-operation with his colleagues in the industry so that the work of scientific research could be carried on effectively.
You may have discussed the amazing progress recorded in the U.S.S.R. and wondered if it was mainly a progress on paper.
If it is that then see the new Scotland shown in one of the Scottish Pavilions, and the Health Services shown in the United Kingdom Pavilion. If you did not know how much still remains to be done in England and Scotland you would be as awestruck as the Communist reading Russian statistics.
Even if the Russian progress is realised in bricks and mortar it is not so outstanding when comparison is made with Eire.
The Irish Pavilion
The Irish Pavilion is one of the best things in the Exhibition. It is a display of marvellous progress and might well leave Russian achievements in the cold if we wrote about it and talked about it as much as do the Friends of the Soviet.
It is a pity that the New Zealand Government did not make greater display of the excellent social legislation enacted in that country during recent years.
The important Part played in our life by the Co-operative Movement can be seen in the impressive display of the Scottish Wholesale Society. They are showing the actual manufacture of linen goods, cigarettes, printing and so on. With their very extensive and attractive stands they dominate the Palace of Industry.
Perhaps the most attractive pavilion is that of the Post Office. With its alternating light and gloom and the noises of morse tapping it is real and very effective.
Many of the other pavilions will not delay you for they are just commercial displays. In the Colonial Pavilion you will pause before the model pineapple factory and the model rubber plantation to express a pious hope that the labour conditions are just.
Don't miss the view from the Tower, the Victoria Falls, the Highland Village or the amazing map of Canada on copper in the Canadian Pavilion. Especially visit the Peace Pavilion and see what the League, in spite of its failures, has done both in settling international disputes and in developing its health and social work. You will regret that the T.U.C. lost an excellent opportunity by being content with a small insignificant stand (almost a kiosk) in an out-of-the-ray corner of the grounds.
When you are tired of walking you will appreciate the New Theatre with a seventy minutes' show of good films for 3d.