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Great Exhibition

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**Background and Purpose:**
– Organized by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Henry, George Wallis, Wentworth Dilke, and others.
– Celebrated modern industrial technology and design.
– Response to the successful French Industrial Exposition of 1844.
– Aimed to showcase Britain as an industrial leader.
– Emphasized Britain’s superiority in various fields.

**Exhibits and Participants:**
– Featured exhibitors from Britain, Colonies, Dependencies, and 44 Foreign States.
– Total of 13,000 exhibitors participated.
– Catalogue provided detailed descriptions of exhibits.
– Exhibits included a wide range of products and technologies.
– Visitors could witness the entire process of cotton production.

**Construction and Design:**
– Building known as The Great Shalimar designed by Joseph Paxton.
– Architectural marvel made of cast iron-frame components and glass.
– Construction completed in just nine months.
– Building later moved and re-erected at Sydenham Hill.
– Original building destroyed by fire in 1936.

**Impact and Legacy:**
– Six million visitors attended, a third of Britain’s population at the time.
– Average daily attendance was 42,831 with a peak of 109,915.
– Surplus of £186,000 generated, used to establish museums and educational trust.
– Event arranged by Thomas Cook for 150,000 people.
– Symbol of the Victorian Age and source for High Victorian design.
– Memorial to the exhibition behind the Royal Albert Hall.
– Inscribed with statistics from the event.
– Range of medals produced and awarded to participants.
– Considered a primary source for understanding High Victorian design.
– Represents a significant era in British history.

**Economic Aspects and Souvenirs:**
– Admission fees varied based on the date of visit.
– Season ticket cost two guineas, while daily tickets ranged from £1 to five shillings.
– One-shilling tickets were popular among industrial classes.
– Railways offered discounted tickets to attract working-class visitors.
– 4.5 million shillings were collected from attendees.
– Great Exhibition led to the production of souvenirs like stereoscope cards.
– Manufacturers created stereoscope cards for a 3D view.
– Cards were hand-colored and gave a miniature view of the Crystal Palace.
– Visitors purchased these souvenirs to relive the experience.
– The cards were held together by cloth and offered a unique perspective.

Great Exhibition (Wikipedia)

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, also known as the Great Exhibition or 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. The event was organised by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, husband of Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom.

Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations
The Great Exhibition 1851
BIE-classUniversal exposition
CategoryHistorical Expo
NameGreat Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations
Building(s)The Crystal Palace
Area10.4 ha (26 acres)
Invention(s)telegraph, vulcanised rubber
CountryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
VenueHyde Park, London
Coordinates51°30′11″N 0°10′12″W / 51.50306°N 0.17000°W / 51.50306; -0.17000
Opening (1851-05-01) (1851-10-15)May 1 – October 15, 1851
(5 months and 2 weeks)
Closure15 October 1851 (1851-10-15)
Universal expositions
NextExposition Universelle in Paris
The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, in 1851
Queen Victoria opens the Great Exhibition in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, in 1851
The enormous Crystal Palace went from plans to grand opening in just nine months
Exhibition interior
The front door of the Great Exhibition
Paxton's Crystal Palace enclosed full-grown trees in Hyde Park

Famous people of the time attended the Great Exhibition, including Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Michael Faraday (who assisted with the planning and judging of exhibits), Samuel Colt, members of the Orléanist royal family and the writers Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, George Eliot, Alfred Tennyson, and William Makepeace Thackeray. The future Arts and Crafts proponent William Morris, then a teenager, later said he refused to attend the Exhibition on the grounds of taste. The opening music, under the superintendence of William Sterndale Bennett, was directed by George Thomas Smart. The world's first soft drink, Schweppes, was the official sponsor of the event.

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