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Since 1935, Britain had been preparing for war. To help combat the grim national mood, The Empire Exhibition of 1938 was held here, in Bellahouston Park.

It was not only a great display of industrial power in the face of an impending war, but also an exciting day out for visitors and a great boost to the morale of the nation.

This tablecloth was originally bought as a gift for Mary Mackie, when she travelled with her father from Aberdeen, to see the exhibition.

The simple, printed outlines seen on the fabric were meant as a guide for home embroidery. It was so special to Mary as a reminder of The Great Exhibition that she did not want to risk damaging it by embroidering it herself.

Instead it was kept with its original packaging and only removed to show to visiting guests. This is the only known example of this type of commemorative tablecloth in its original condition.

Mary’s son, Maddock Mackie, donated the tablecloth to House For An Art Lover’s archive in 2006.

It is displayed here as both an historical artefact, and a testament to the impact that the Empire Exhibition had on the lives of the 12 million people who visited during the 8 months that the exhibition was open.

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