King George VI inaugurated the Festival of Britain and opened the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank on 3 May 1951. The festival was organised to mark the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was intended to demonstrate Britain's contribution to civilisation past, present and future, in the arts, science & technology and in industrial design. After a special service attended by the King, Queen Elizabeth, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret and other senior members of the royal family, King George declared the festival open in a broadcast from the steps of St Paul's Cathedral. Cheering and flag-waving crowds lined the route taken by the King and Queen to St Paul's from Buckingham Palace. A 41-gun salute was fired from the Tower of London and Hyde Park. Battersea Park was transformed into the Festival Gardens, laid out as a pleasure garden with a tree walk, fountains and a grotto.