The Great Exhibition of 1851


The 'Great Exhibition' took place in Hyde Park and was nicknamed 'The Crystal Palace'

It was the first World Fair of its kind, organised by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, (Queen Victoria's consort)
The design, byJoseph Paxton, was constructed of a cast iron frame and glass;
Containing 4000 tons of iron, 900,000 feet of glass, and 202 miles of sash bars to hold it all together
It was essentially a giant greenhouse with the addition of a dome to accomodate the very tall trees in Hyde Park
Made almost exclusively in Birmingham and Smethwick, it took just nine months from initial plans to its grand opening;
The opening ceremony performed by Queen Victoria on 1st May, 1851

It was an enormous success with 17,000 exhibits from as far away as China
There were six million visitors, the equivalent to a third of the entire population of Britain at the time
It made a enormous profit and this money was used to establish :-
The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum

The building was later dismantled, re-erected in Sydenham, south London and the area re-named 'Crystal Palace'
It was eventually destroyed by fire on the 30th November, 1936

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