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World Fair - Brussels 1958

I took this photo with a 116 bellows camera. I'm not sure if you can still buy film for such an antiquity. It did give good definition when you finally mastered the camerashake.

Brussels was host to the World Fair in 1958, fittingly the year when the Common Market was established. The authorities constructed an enormous replica of a "a crystal molecule of metal" with exhibitions in each of the balls and a restaurant on top.

There were many interesting angles to the occasion. For example, The Holy See [Vatican City] had a exhibition area where I met Fr. Payton, the Rosary Priest, from Mayo. He made quite an impression. The Vatican struck a special medal to commemorate its participation in the event.

SNCF [French Railways] were exhibiting a new idea in comfort for the urban traveller - tyres for the metro carriages.

I reported the Fair at the time for the Shanganagh Valley News , which I was editing. In my ignorance I confused Stalin with Lenin and more's the wonder that the Berlin Wall didn't fall down with fright at that time. But then, it wasn't built until three years later !

Transport around the vast area [200 hectares] was by rickshaw and it was through this that I learnt the distinction between the two french words for "free" : "libre" which meant the rickshaw taxi was free for hire, but not "gratuit" which would have meant free of charge. Ouch!

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