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THE EAGLE SOCIETY is dedicated to the memory of EAGLE - Britain's National Picture Strip Weekly - the leading Boy's magazine of the 1950s and 1960s. We publish a 56 page, A4, quarterly journal - the Eagle Times.

This weblog has been created to provide an additional, more immediate, forum for news and commentary about the society and EAGLE-related issues. Want to know more? See First Post and Eagle - How it began.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Dan Dare & the Birth of Hi-tech Britain

The way Britain reinvented itself as a hi-tech nation after the Second World War is to be revealed in a free exhibition, due to open on 30th April, 2008 at the Science Museum, South Kensington, London. Titled Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-tech Britain, the exhibition is expected to run until at least October, 2009.

Eagle's space hero, Dan Dare - a fixture in the lives of millions of British children (and their parents!) in the 1950s and 1960s - introduces the exhibition, showing the optimism, faith in technology and spirit of adventure of the times. As Dan Dare is being rediscovered today, there will be a special display of original artwork, merchandise and memorabilia. In case enthusiasts should be wondering, Eagle Times has confirmed with the museum that the artwork on display will include Frank Hampson's Dan Dare murals, commissioned by the Science Museum in 1977, and alongside some original artboards from the 1950s/60s Eagle (the latter were acquired by the museum in the 1990s).

The official press release states that:

Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-tech Britain will capture the essence of those pivotal post-war years, showing how Britain took striking wartime advances like the jet engine, radar and penicillin to create new industries. This was a time when the state rolled out huge new projects for a free nationwide health service, nuclear power, supersonic flight and a radical rehousing programme - major developments which created a revolution in national affairs and personal life.

The free exhibition also looks at the reinvention of the home, the emerging importance of design and the arrival of previously unheard of consumer goods. It will show that the period, from 1945-1970, started the long climb from austerity to affluence and laid the foundations for the Britain of today.

The signature exhibit representing hi-tech is the Bloodhound missile. Seven metres long, with fins, two ramjet engines and four booster rockets, Bloodhound was one pillar of Britain's defence against Soviet threat in the Cold War. Reaching speeds of Mach 2 (about 1,500 mph) in four seconds, it surpassed anything produced by the US. Also on display will be the British-built 'Bomb' - the WE177 nuclear weapon - Britain's ticket to the top table of nations.

Some of the finest examples of British manufacturing of the time will be shown. These include iconic products from designers such as Gordon Russell, Abram Games, the man behind the iconic Festival of Britain poster, and Pye radios designed by Robin Day. It will show, moreover, a 'lost world' of British manufacturing - a time when many people's first TV was a Murphy, not a Sony!

Further details about the exhibition can be read in the full press release on the Museum's website.
The two examples of Dan Dare original artwork shown above are from:
'Reign of the Robots' (Eagle Volume 8 No 17, 26 April, 1957)
'Platinum Planet' (Eagle Volume 12 No 43, 28 October 1961)
Thanks to the Museum's Press Officer, Richard Purnell, for allowing us to include them here.

Dan Dare is © The Dan Dare Corporation Ltd.

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