History - OnThisDay - 1 May 1851 - Opening of the Great Exhibition

Recently I made a blog post about the success of Expo 58 in Brussels.
However this huge event had another important predecessor in the
United Kingdom:
The Great Exhibition in London 




From 1 May 1851 to 15 October 1851, an international exhibition,
sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition, took place
in Hyde Park London. This was one of the first series of World's Fairs.

Exhibitions became amazingly popular in the 19th century and the
Great Exhibition in London was a much anticipated event.

The Great Exhibition was organized by Henry Cole and Prince Albert,
husband of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.


Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition



The Great Exhibition had as main reason for Britain to make "clear to the world
 its role as industrial leader".

Visitors

Queen Victoria and her family visited three times and it had other most
famous guests as: Charles Darwin, Samuel Colt, members of the Orléanist
Royal Family, Chrarlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, and many more.

6 million people, a third of the entire population of Britain at that time,
visited the Great Exhibition.



Crystal Palace

A special building, nicknamed the Crystal Palace or The Great Shalimar
was built to house the show. It was designed by Joseph Paxton with the
support of the engineer Charles Fox.

The massive glass house was 1851 feet (564 meters) long by 454 feet
(138 meters) wide. It became an enormous success.

In 1854, after the exhibition the building was moved and re-erected
at Sydenham Hill in South London. It was destroyed by fire on
30 November 1936.


A huge success

The Great Exhibition lasted till 15 October 1851. It has made a huge
surplus. This sum was used to found the Victoria and Albert Museum,
the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. They were all
built in the area to the south of the exhibition, nicknamed Albertopolis.

On the Exhibition not only products from Britain were shown but also
from its 'Colonies and Dependencies'.

For example gold ornaments and silver enamelled handicrafts fabricated
by the Sunar Caste from Sind, India were shown.



Source pictures: Wikipedia
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