Facsimile of Paxton’s Crystal Palace design


Sketch for the Crystal Palace


  • Intro

    The Great Exhibition of 1851, was intended to showcase the wonders of manufacturing and industry from around the modern world. It was housed in the Crystal Palace, a giant, intricate structure of iron and glass displaying over 100,000 objects. The palace was designed by gardener and architect Joseph Paxton. A copy of Paxton’s original sketch for the building is shown here – it was famously scribbled down on a piece of pink blotting paper while he attended a Midland Railway board meeting. 


    More than 2,000 men contributed to the construction of the site, which stood grandly in London's Hyde Park. Paxton's ingenious machines allowed 80 men to fix more than 18,000 panes of sheet glass in a week. More than 1,000 iron columns supported 2,224 trellis girders, 4,000 tonnes of iron, and 30 miles of guttering. The flooring was of boards set just over one centimetre apart, so that machines could sweep the dust through the spaces at the end of each day. In practice, the trailing skirts of the women visitors did the job perfectly.


    Shelfmark: Add 62537

  • Video

Find out more about the Sketch for the Crystal Palace Here

Explore more timeline content: