The GREAT EXHIBITION OF THE WORKS OF INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS or THE
GREAT EXHIBITION, sometimes referred to as the CRYSTAL PALACE
EXHIBITION in reference to the temporary structure in which it was
held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park ,
London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. It was the first in a series of
World\'s Fairs , exhibitions of culture and industry that became
popular in the 19th century, and it was a much anticipated event. The
Great Exhibition was organized by
Henry Cole and
* 1 Background * 2 Exhibits * 3 Admission fees * 4 Souvenirs: Lane\'s Telescopic Views * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links
The Great Exhibition of the Works of
Sophie Forgan says of the Exhibition that "Large, piled-up ‘trophy’ exhibits in the central avenue revealed the organisers’ priorities; they generally put art or colonial raw materials in the most prestigious place. Technology and moving machinery were popular, especially working exhibits." She also notes that visitors "could watch the entire process of cotton production from spinning to finished cloth. Scientific instruments were found in class X, and included electric telegraphs, microscopes, air pumps and barometers, as well as musical, horological and surgical instruments."
A special building, nicknamed
The Crystal Palace , or "The Great
Shalimar ", was built to house the show. It was designed by Joseph
Paxton with support from structural engineer Charles Fox , the
committee overseeing its construction including Isambard Kingdom
Brunel , and went from its organisation to the grand opening in just
nine months. The building was architecturally adventurous, drawing on
Paxton's experience designing greenhouses for the sixth Duke of
Devonshire . It took the form of a massive glass house, 1851 feet
(about 564 metres) long by 454 feet (about 138 metres) wide and was
constructed from cast iron -frame components and glass made almost
Six million people—equivalent to a third of the entire population
of Britain at the time—visited the Great Exhibition. The average
daily attendance was 42,831 with a peak attendance of 109,915 on 7
October. The event made a surplus of £186,000 (£18,370,000 in
2015), , which was used to found the
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Exhibition caused controversy as its opening approached. Some
conservatives feared that the mass of visitors might become a
revolutionary mob, whilst radicals such as
The folly and absurdity of the Queen in allowing this trumpery must strike every sensible and well-thinking mind, and I am astonished the ministers themselves do not insist on her at least going to Osborne during the Exhibition, as no human being can possibly answer for what may occur on the occasion. The idea ... must shock every honest and well-meaning Englishman. But it seems everything is conspiring to lower us in the eyes of Europe.
In modern times, the Great Exhibition is a symbol of the Victorian
Age , and its thick catalogue, illustrated with steel engravings, is a
primary source for High Victorian design. A memorial to the
exhibition, crowned with a statue of
The official descriptive and illustrated catalogue of the event lists exhibitors not only from throughout Britain but also from its 'Colonies and Dependencies' and 44 'Foreign States' in Europe and the Americas. Numbering 13,000 in total, the exhibits included a Jacquard loom , an envelope machine, kitchen appliances, steel-making displays and a reaping machine that was sent from the United States.
Koh-i-Noor , meaning the "Mountain of Light," was the world's
largest known diamond in 1851. It was one of the most popular
attractions of the India exhibit and was acquired in 1850 as part of
the Lahore Treaty.
Daria-i-Noor , one of the rare pale pink diamonds in the
* The early 8th-century
Tara Brooch , discovered only in 1850, the
finest Irish penannular brooch , was exhibited by the Dublin jeweller
George Waterhouse along with a display of his fashionable Celtic
Alfred Charles Hobbs used the exhibition to demonstrate the
inadequacy of several respected locks of the day.
Frederick Bakewell demonstrated a precursor to today's fax
* ^ A B C Kishlansky, Mark, Patrick Geary and Patricia O'Brien.
Civilization in the West. 7th Edition. Vol. C. New York: Pearson
Education, Inc., 2008.
* ^ A B Ffrench, Yvonne. The Great Exhibition; 1851. London:
Harvill Press, 1950.
* ^ Forgan, Sophie (10 February 2000), "A compendium of Victorian
culture", Nature, 403 (6880): 596,
Bibcode :2000Natur.403..596F, doi
* ^ A B "
The Great Exhibition of 1851". Duke Magazine. November
2006. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
* ^ Appletons\' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events
of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 412.
* ^ A B C D UK Consumer Price Index inflation figures are based on
data from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings
for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)", MeasuringWorth.com.
* ^ The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. "About Us".
Retrieved 1 November 2008.
* ^ A B Newth, A.M. (1967). Britain and the World: 1789-1901. New
York: Penguin Books. p. 97. ISBN 0-14-080304-1 .
* ^ Van der Kiste 2004 , pp. 206–207.
* ^ Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of
* Auerbach, Jeffrey A. (1999). The Great Exhibition of 1851: A Nation on Display. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08007-7 . * Gibbs-Smith, Charles Harvard (1981) . The Great Exhibition of 1851 (Second ed.). London: HMSO. ISBN 0-11-290344-4 . * Greenhalgh, Paul (1988). Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions and World's Fairs, 1851–1939. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-2299-1 . * Leapman, Michael (2001). The World for a Shilling: How the Great Exhibition of 1851 Shaped a Nation. Headline Books. ISBN 0-7472-7012-0 . * Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Dickinson Brothers. London. 1854.