Great Exhibition

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 Prince Albert, husband of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria. It was attended by famous people of the time, including Charles Darwin, 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.

Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations
The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park for Grand International Exhibition of 1851
The Great Exhibition 1851
BIE-classUniversal exposition
CategoryHistorical Expo
NameGreat Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations
BuildingThe Crystal Palace
Area10.4 ha (26 acres)
Invention(s)Telegraph, Vulcanised Rubber
CountryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
VenueHyde Park
Coordinates51°30′11″N 0°10′12″W / 51.50306°N 0.17000°WCoordinates: 51°30′11″N 0°10′12″W / 51.50306°N 0.17000°W
Opening1 May 1851
Closure15 October 1851
Universal expositions
NextExposition Universelle in Paris
Crystal Palace from the northeast from Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851. 1854
The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, in 1851.
Crystal Palace - Queen Victoria opens the Great Exhibition
Queen Victoria opens the Great Exhibition in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, in 1851.
Crystal Palace - interior
The enormous Crystal Palace went from plans to grand opening in just nine months.
Crystal Palace interior
Exhibition interior
Crystal Palace
The front door of the Great Exhibition
Paxton's Crystal Palace enclosed full-grown trees in Hyde Park.


The Exposition des produits de l'industrie française (Exhibition of Products of French Industry) organized in Paris, France, from 1798 to 1849 were precursors to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations was organized by Prince Albert, Henry Cole, Francis Henry, George Wallis, Charles Dilke and other members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce as a celebration of modern industrial technology and design. It was arguably a response to the highly effective French Industrial Exposition of 1844: indeed, its prime motive was for Britain to make "clear to the world its role as industrial leader".[1] Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, was an enthusiastic promoter of the self-financing exhibition; the government was persuaded to form the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to establish the viability of hosting such an exhibition. Queen Victoria and her family visited three times. Although the Great Exhibition was a platform on which countries from around the world could display their achievements, Britain sought to prove its own superiority. The British exhibits at the Great Exhibition "held the lead in almost every field where strength, durability, utility and quality were concerned, whether in iron and steel, machinery or textiles."[2] Britain also sought to provide the world with the hope of a better future. Europe had just struggled through "two difficult decades of political and social upheaval," and now Britain hoped to show that technology, particularly its own, was the key to a better future.[1]

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."[3]

A special building, nicknamed The Crystal Palace, or "The Great Shalimar",[4] 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, 1848 feet (about 563 metres) long by 454 feet (about 138 metres) wide and was constructed from cast iron-frame components and glass made almost exclusively in Birmingham[5] and Smethwick. From the interior, the building's large size was emphasized with trees and statues; this served, not only to add beauty to the spectacle, but also to demonstrate man's triumph over nature.[1] The Crystal Palace was an enormous success, considered an architectural marvel, but also an engineering triumph that showed the importance of the Exhibition itself.[2] The building was later moved and re-erected in 1854 in enlarged form at Sydenham Hill in south London, an area that was renamed Crystal Palace. It was destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936.[4]

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.[6] The event made a surplus of £186,000 (£18,370,000 in 2015),[7], which 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, alongside the Imperial Institute. The remaining surplus was used to set up an educational trust to provide grants and scholarships for industrial research; it continues to do so today.[8]

The Exhibition caused controversy as its opening approached. Some conservatives feared that the mass of visitors might become a revolutionary mob,[9] whilst radicals such as Karl Marx saw the exhibition as an emblem of a capitalist fetishism of commodities. King Ernest Augustus I of Hanover, shortly before his death, wrote to Lord Strangford about it:

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.[10]

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.[11] A memorial to the exhibition, crowned with a statue of Prince Albert, is located behind the Royal Albert Hall.[12] It is inscribed with statistics from the exhibition, including the number of visitors and exhibitors (British and foreign), and the profit made.

1851 Medal Crystal Palace World Expo London, obverse

1851 medal The Crystal Palace in London by Allen & Moore, obverse

1851 Medal Crystal Palace World Expo London, reverse

1851 medal The Crystal Palace in London by Allen & Moore, reverse


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.[13]

  • The Mintons stand exhibited ceramics including majolica which proved a world-wide success.
  • The Koh-i-Noor, meaning the "Mountain of Light," the world's largest known diamond in 1851, was one of the most popular attractions of the India exhibit and was acquired in 1850 as part of the Lahore Treaty.
  • The Daria-i-Noor, one of the rarest pale pink diamonds in the world, was shown.
  • 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 Revival jewellery.
  • 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 machine.
  • Mathew Brady was awarded a medal for his daguerreotypes.
  • William Chamberlin, Jr. of Sussex exhibited what may have been the world's first voting machine, which counted votes automatically and employed an interlocking system to prevent over-voting.[14]
  • The first modern pay toilets were installed, with 827,280 visitors paying the 1 penny fee to use them. The toilets remained even after the exhibition was dismantled. "Spending a penny" became a euphemism for using a toilet.[15]
  • Firearms manufacturer Samuel Colt demonstrated his prototype for the 1851 Colt Navy and also his older Walker and Dragoon revolvers.
  • The Tempest prognosticator, a barometer using leeches, was demonstrated at the Great Exhibition.
  • The America's Cup yachting event began with a race held in conjunction with the Great Exhibition.
  • Gold ornaments and silver enamelled handicrafts fabricated by the Sunar caste from Sind, British India.
  • C.C. Hornung of Copenhagen, Denmark, showed his single-cast iron frame for a piano, the first made in Europe.
  • "The Trophy Telescope", so called because it was considered the "trophy" of the exhibition, was shown.[16] Its main lens of 11 inches (280mm) aperture and 16 feet (4.9m) focal length was manufactured by Ross of London. The German equatorial mounting was made by Ransome & May of Ipswich.
  • The instrument maker J. S. Marratt exhibited a five-foot achromatic telescope and a transit theodolite used in surveying, tunnelling, and for astronomical purposes.
  • Asprey exhibited a kingwood and ormolu mounted lady's dressing case with silver-gilt contents bearing the 'Annie' cipher.

Admission fees

Admission prices to the Crystal Palace varied according to the date of visit, with ticket prices decreasing as the parliamentary season drew to an end and London traditionally emptied of wealthy individuals. Prices varied from three guineas (£311.05 in 2015)[7] (two guineas for a woman) for a season ticket, or £1 per day (for the first two days only), then reducing to five shillings per day (until May 22).[17] The admission price was then further reduced to one shilling (£4.94 in 2015),[7] per day – except on Fridays, when it was set at two shillings and six pence and on Saturdays when it remained at five shillings.[17] The one-shilling ticket proved most successful amongst the industrial classes, with four and a half million shillings (£22,217,549 in 2015),[7] being taken from attendees in this manner.[18] Two thousand five hundred tickets were printed for the opening day, all of which were bought.[9]

Stereoscopic views

The Great Exhibition of 1851 encouraged the production of souvenirs. Several manufacturers produced stereoscope cards which provided a three-dimensional view of the Exhibition. These paper souvenirs were printed lithographic cards which were hand-coloured and held together by cloth to give a three-dimensional view of the Great Exhibition. They offered a miniature view of the Crystal Palace Exhibition when one viewed the cards through the peep holes on the front cover. Visitors purchased these souvenirs so that they could relive the experience of going to the exhibition.[19]

Lane's Telescopic View The Ceremony of Her Majesty Opening the Great Exhibition Inside view grand opening by Queen Victoria
Lane's Telescopic View The Ceremony of Her Majesty Opening the Great Exhibition Inside view grand opening by Queen Victoria

See also


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b Ffrench, Yvonne. The Great Exhibition; 1851. London: Harvill Press, 1950.
  3. ^ Forgan, Sophie (10 February 2000), "A compendium of Victorian culture", Nature, 403 (6880): 596, Bibcode:2000Natur.403..596F, doi:10.1038/35001134
  4. ^ a b "The Great Exhibition of 1851". Duke Magazine. November 2006. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
  5. ^ James Harrison, ed. (1996). "Imperial Britain". Children's Encyclopedia of British History. London: Kingfisher Publications. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-7534-0299-3.
  6. ^ Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 412.
  7. ^ a b c d UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  8. ^ The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. "About Us". Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  9. ^ a b Newth, A.M. (1967). Britain and the World: 1789-1901. New York: Penguin Books. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-14-080304-4.
  10. ^ Van der Kiste 2004, pp. 206–207.
  11. ^ Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations. 1851.
  12. ^ "Memorial to the exhibition". Royal Institute of British Architects. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  13. ^ "The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace" Archived 14 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Victorian Station. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  14. ^ "The Great Exhibition," Manchester Times, 24 May 1851.
  15. ^ "Spending a Penny for the Monkey Closet".
  16. ^ Smyth, C. P. (1862). "Trophy Telescope at Wester Elchies". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 23: 1. Bibcode:1862MNRAS..23....1S. doi:10.1093/mnras/23.1.1.
  17. ^ a b Leapman, Michael (2001). The World For A Shilling. p. 72.
  18. ^ "Entrance Costs to the Great Exhibition". Fashion Era. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  19. ^ "Stereoscopic Photographs in the Collection - National Portrait Gallery". Retrieved 2019-02-28.

Further reading

  • Auerbach, Jeffrey A. (1999). The Great Exhibition of 1851: A Nation on Display. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-08007-0.
  • Gibbs-Smith, Charles Harvard (1981) [1951]. The Great Exhibition of 1851 (Second ed.). London: HMSO. ISBN 978-0-11-290344-4.
  • Greenhalgh, Paul (1988). Ephemeral Vistas: The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions and World's Fairs, 1851–1939. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-2299-9.
  • Leapman, Michael (2001). The World for a Shilling: How the Great Exhibition of 1851 Shaped a Nation. Headline Books. ISBN 978-0-7472-7012-6.
  • Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Dickinson Brothers. London. 1854.

External links

1851 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1851 in the United Kingdom.

1862 International Exhibition

The International of 1862, or Great London Exposition, was a world's fair. It was held from 1 May to 1 November 1862, beside the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society, South Kensington, London, England, on a site that now houses museums including the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum (London).

1865 International Exhibition

The International Exhibition of 1865, called the "Exposição Internacional do Porto", was a world's fair held in 1865 in the Portuguese city of Porto. The exhibition itself was housed inside the grand Palácio de Cristal which, designed by English architect Thomas Dillen Jones, was modelled on the building of the same name constructed in London for The Great Exhibition in 1851. The exhibition was inaugurated on the 15 September in the presence of the Portuguese king Luís I and his consort Maria Pia of Savoy. It was the first world's fair to be held on the Iberian Peninsula.

It was chiefly organized by the Associação Industrial Portuense (today called the Associação Empresarial de Portugal) and hosted 3,139 exhibitors, of which 499 were French, 265 German, 107 British, 89 Belgian, 62 Brazilian, 24 Spanish, 16 Danish as well as various other representatives from Russia, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United States and Japan.


Albertopolis is the nickname given to the area centred on Exhibition Road in London, named after Prince Albert, spouse of Queen Victoria. It contains a large number of educational and cultural sites. It is in South Kensington, split between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster (the border running along Imperial College Road), and the area bordered by Cromwell Road to the south and Kensington Road to the north.

Annual International Exhibitions (London 1871–74)

Each year from 1871 to 1874 an Annual International Exhibition was held in London, England. These followed on from the 1851 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations and the 1862 International Exhibition in London, and the many international exhibitions which had been held in various countries since 1851.

The first received over a million visitors and made a profit, but the subsequent three had fewer visitors and all made a loss.

Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are a series of sculptures of dinosaurs and other extinct animals, incorrect by modern standards, in the London borough of Bromley's Crystal Palace Park. Commissioned in 1852 to accompany the Crystal Palace after its move from the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, they were unveiled in 1854 as the first dinosaur sculptures in the world. The models were designed and sculpted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins under the scientific direction of Sir Richard Owen, representing the latest scientific knowledge at the time. The models, also known as Dinosaur Court, were classed as Grade II listed buildings from 1973, extensively restored in 2002, and upgraded to Grade I listed in 2007.

The models represent 15 genera of extinct animals, not all dinosaurs. They are from a wide range of geological ages, and include true dinosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and plesiosaurs mainly from the Mesozoic era, and some mammals from the more recent Cenozoic era.

Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park is a Victorian pleasure ground, used for cultural and sporting events. It is located in the south-east London suburb of Crystal Palace, which was in turn named after the Crystal Palace Exhibition building, which had been moved from Hyde Park, London after the 1851 Great Exhibition and rebuilt with some modifications and enlargements to form the centrepiece of the pleasure ground, before being destroyed by fire in 1936. The park features full-scale models of dinosaurs in a landscape, a maze, lakes, and a concert bowl.This site contains the National Sports Centre, previously a football stadium that hosted the FA Cup Final from 1895 to 1914 as well as Crystal Palace F.C.'s matches from their formation in 1905 until the club was forced to relocate during the First World War. The London County Cricket Club also played matches at Crystal Palace Park Cricket Ground from 1900 to 1908, when they folded, and the cricket ground staged a number of other first-class cricket matches and had first been used by Kent County Cricket Club as a first-class venue in 1864.

The park is situated halfway along the Norwood Ridge at one of its highest points. This ridge offers views northward to central London, eastward to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and Greenwich, and southward to Croydon and the North Downs. The park remains a major London public park. The park was maintained by the LCC and later the GLC, but with the abolition of the GLC in 1986, control of the park was given to the London Borough of Bromley, so the park is now entirely within the London Borough of Bromley.

The park is Grade II* listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Duke of Devonshire Emerald

The Duke of Devonshire Emerald is one of the world's largest and most famous uncut emeralds, weighing 1,383.93 carats (276.786 g). Originating in the mine at Muzo, Colombia, it was either gifted or sold by Emperor Pedro I of Brazil to William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire in 1831. It was displayed at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, and more recently at the Natural History Museum in 2007.

Empire Exhibition, Scotland

Empire Exhibition, Scotland 1938 was an international exposition held at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, from May to December 1938.

The Exhibition offered a chance to showcase and boost the economy of Scotland, and celebrate Empire trade and developments, recovering from the depression of the 1930s. It also marked fifty years since Glasgow's first great exhibition, the International Exhibition (1888) held at Kelvingrove Park. It was the second British Empire Exhibition, the first having been held at Wembley Park, London in 1924 and 1925.

Its function was similar to the first National Exhibition, in Paris in 1798, and to the first International Exhibition, the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 attended by 6 million visitors.It was declared open by King George VI and Queen Mary on 3 May 1938 at the Opening Ceremony in Ibrox Stadium, attended by 146,000 people.In addition to the Royal Patrons and the Honorary Presidents representing governments and institutions here and in the Dominions, the Exhibition President was the Earl of Elgin who was also President of the Scottish Development Council, initiators of the exposition.

Exhibition Road

Exhibition Road is a street in South Kensington, London which is home to several major museums and academic establishments, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Hyde Park, London

Hyde Park is a Grade I-listed major park in Central London. It is the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace. The park is divided by the Serpentine and the Long Water lakes.

The park was established by Henry VIII in 1536 when he took the land from Westminster Abbey and used it as a hunting ground. It opened to the public in 1637 and quickly became popular, particularly for May Day parades. Major improvements occurred in the early 18th century under the direction of Queen Caroline. Several duels took place in Hyde Park during this time, often involving members of the nobility. The Great Exhibition of 1851 was held in the park, for which The Crystal Palace, designed by Joseph Paxton, was erected.

Free speech and demonstrations have been a key feature of Hyde Park since the 19th century. Speaker's Corner has been established as a point of free speech and debate since 1872, while the Chartists, the Reform League, the suffragettes, and the Stop the War Coalition have all held protests there. In the late 20th century, the park became known for holding large-scale free rock music concerts, featuring groups such as Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Queen. Major events have continued into the 21st century, such as Live 8 in 2005, and the annual Hyde Park Winter Wonderland from 2007.

Joseph Paxton

Sir Joseph Paxton (3 August 1803 – 8 June 1865) was an English gardener, architect and Member of Parliament, best known for designing the Crystal Palace, and for cultivating the Cavendish banana, the most consumed banana in the Western world.


The Koh-i-Noor (), also spelt Kohinoor and Koh-i-Nur, is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats (21.12 g), and part of the British Crown Jewels.

Probably mined in Golconda, India, there is no record of its original weight, but the earliest well-attested weight is 186 old carats (191 metric carats or 38.2 g). Koh-i-Noor is Hindi-Urdu and Persian for "Mountain of Light"; it has been known by this name since the 18th century. It changed hands between various factions in modern-day India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, until being ceded to Queen Victoria after the British conquest of the Punjab in 1849.

Originally, the stone was of a similar cut to other Mughal era diamonds like Darya-i-Noor which are now in the Iranian Crown Jewels. In 1851, it went on display at the Great Exhibition in London, but the lacklustre cut failed to impress viewers. Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, ordered it to be re-cut as an oval brilliant by Coster Diamonds. By modern standards, the culet is unusually broad, giving the impression of a black hole when the stone is viewed head-on; it is nevertheless regarded by gemmologists as "full of life".Because its history involves a great deal of fighting between men, the Koh-i-Noor acquired a reputation within the British royal family for bringing bad luck to any man who wears it. Since arriving in the UK, it has only been worn by female members of the family. Victoria wore the stone in a brooch and a circlet. After she died in 1901, it was set in the Crown of Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII. It was transferred to the Crown of Queen Mary in 1911, and finally to the Crown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1937.

Today, the diamond is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London, where it is seen by millions of visitors each year. The governments of India and Pakistan have both claimed ownership of the Koh-i-Noor and demanded its return ever since the two countries gained independence from the UK in 1947. The British government insists the gem was obtained legally under the terms of the Last Treaty of Lahore and has rejected the claims.

Memorial to the Great Exhibition

The Memorial to the Great Exhibition is an outdoor monument commemorating the Great Exhibition (1851) and depicting Albert, Prince Consort, designed by Joseph Durham with modifications by Sydney Smirke and located south of Royal Albert Hall in London, United Kingdom. Originally installed in the Royal Horticultural Society gardens in 1863, it was relocated to its current site during 1891–1893 when the gardens were reconstructed and Prince Consort Road was created.

Owen Jones (architect)

Owen Jones (15 February 1809 – 19 April 1874) was an English-born Welsh architect. A versatile architect and designer, he was also one of the most influential design theorists of the nineteenth century. He helped pioneer modern colour theory, and his theories on flat patterning and ornament still resonate with contemporary designers today.

He rose to prominence with his studies of Islamic decoration at the Alhambra, and the associated publication of his drawings, which pioneered new standards in chromolithography. Jones was a pivotal figure in the formation of the South Kensington Museum (later to become the V&A) through his close association with Henry Cole, the museum's first director, and another key figure in 19th century design reform. Jones was also responsible for the interior decoration and layout of exhibits for the Great Exhibition building of 1851, and for its later incarnation at Sydenham. Jones advised on the foundation collections for the South Kensington museum, and formulated decorative arts principles which became teaching frameworks for the Government School of Design, then at Marlborough House. These design propositions also formed the basis for his seminal publication, The Grammar of Ornament, the global and historical design sourcebook for which Jones is perhaps best known today.Jones believed in the search for a modern style unique to the nineteenth century, radically different from the prevailing aesthetics of Neo-Classicism and the Gothic Revival. He looked towards the Islamic world for much of this inspiration, using his studies of Islamic decoration at the Alhambra to develop theories on flat patterning, geometry and abstraction in ornament.

Richard Coeur de Lion (statue)

Richard Coeur de Lion is a Grade II listed equestrian statue of the 12th-century English monarch Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, who reigned from 1189–99. It stands on a granite pedestal in Old Palace Yard outside the Palace of Westminster in London, facing south towards the entrance to the House of Lords. It was created by Baron Carlo Marochetti, an Italian sculptor whose works were popular with European royalty and the nobility, though often less well regarded by critics and the artistic establishment. The statue was first produced in clay and displayed at The Great Exhibition in 1851, where it was located outside the west entrance to the Crystal Palace. It was well received at the time and two years later Queen Victoria and Prince Albert headed a list of illustrious subscribers to a fund that aimed to raise money for the casting of the statue in bronze.

Although the money was duly raised and the bronze cast of the statue was finally completed in 1856, a lengthy dispute delayed its installation for several years. The original idea had been to erect the statue as a memorial to the Great Exhibition. This prompted opposition, as did proposals to place it outside Charles Barry's newly completed Palace of Westminster. Various other locations to display the statue were initially considered before agreement was reached that it would be placed in Old Palace Yard, Marochetti's preferred location. It was installed in October 1860, though it was not until March 1867 that it was finally completed with the addition of bronze bas-reliefs on either side of the pedestal.

The quality of the statue's workmanship caused problems during its first half-century; the horse's tail fell off the day after it was installed at the Great Exhibition, and forty years after its installation it was discovered to be riddled with holes and to have never been properly attached to its pedestal. It narrowly escaped destruction during the Second World War when a German bomb dropped during the Blitz landed a few metres away and peppered it with shrapnel. The pedestal and the horse's tail were damaged and Richard's sword was bent by the blast. In 2009, the Parliamentary authorities undertook a project to conserve and restore the statue.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 is an institution founded in 1850 to administer the international exhibition of 1851, officially called the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations. The Great Exhibition was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park London, England. The enormous building was designed by Joseph Paxton for the Exhibition and construction was supervised by William Cubitt using a cast iron space frame for the glass panes, with wooden beams for flooring.

The founding President of the Commission was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and its chief administrator was Henry Cole. The current president is Anne, Princess Royal.

The exhibition was a great popular and financial success, and made a huge surplus of £186,000 (approximately £22m in today's money). An unusual decision was made to maintain the Royal Commission as a permanent administrative body to use the profits for charitable purposes. Its revised Charter charged the Commission with "increasing the means of industrial education and extending the influence of science and art upon productive industry".

Stoneleigh Park

Stoneleigh Park is a business park previously known as the National Agricultural Centre in Warwickshire, in the West Midlands (region) of England, located south west of the village of Stoneleigh. It is home to the NAEC Stoneleigh conference and exhibition centre.

The site covers about 800 acres (320 ha), 250 acres (100 ha) of which is maintained, and is home to over 70 businesses, including an exhibition and conference centre.

It was announced on 12 April 2010 that Stoneleigh Events would play host to The Great Exhibition 2012, a festival showcasing the best of British taking place in the Olympic summer of 2012 and also as a loving tribute to the original Great Exhibition at Hyde Park in 1851.NAEC Stoneleigh hosts a range of events including Race Retro, International Jaguar Spares day and the MG & Triumph spares day.NAEC Stoneleigh has: -

Over 21,000m2 of indoor exhibition space

800 acres of event and activity space

Conference facilities for up to 12,000 people

On site hotel

An off-road vehicle track

The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass structure originally built in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. The exhibition took place from 1 May until 15 October 1851, and more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in its 990,000 square feet (92,000 m2) exhibition space to display examples of technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. Designed by Joseph Paxton, the Great Exhibition building was 1,851 feet (564 m) long, with an interior height of 128 feet (39 m). It was three times the size of St Paul's Cathedral.The introduction of the sheet glass method into Britain by Chance Brothers in 1832 made possible the production of large sheets of cheap but strong glass, and its use in the Crystal Palace created a structure with the greatest area of glass ever seen in a building. It astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights.

It has been suggested that the name of the building resulted from a piece penned by the playwright Douglas Jerrold, who in July 1850 wrote in the satirical magazine Punch about the forthcoming Great Exhibition, referring to a "palace of very crystal".After the exhibition, the Palace was relocated to an area of South London known as Penge Common. It was rebuilt at the top of Penge Peak next to Sydenham Hill, an affluent suburb of large villas. It stood there for 82 years from 1854 until its destruction by fire in November 1936. The nearby residential area was renamed Crystal Palace after the landmark. This included the Crystal Palace Park that surrounds the site, home of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, which had previously been a football stadium that hosted the FA Cup Final between 1895 and 1914. Crystal Palace F.C. were founded at the site in 1905 and played at the Cup Final venue in their early years. The park still contains Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins's Crystal Palace Dinosaurs which date back to 1854.

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