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Advert for the Royal Aquarium 996

Advert for the Royal Aquarium 996

Printer: King, RE

Medium: Print on paper

Date: 1880

Shelfmark: Evan.996

Item number: 996

Genre: Poster

The 'Crystal Palace' referred to on the top of this advertisement is not in fact the great exhibition hall of that name in South London, rather a reference to the Royal Aquarium's iron-and-glass ceiling. The Royal Aquarium opened in 1876, having cost some £200,000 to build. It was an ornate affair with grand columns, arches, recesses and sculptures. The main hall was known as the Grand Promenade. This space was filled with exotic plants, flowers, and fountains. It even had an orchestra pit. The walls of the Promenade were inset with glass tanks containing fish and marine animals.

The aquarium became a venue for all sorts of popular entertainment, with a reading room, ice-skating rink and theatre on the premises. The theatre often held circus-type entertainments such as those advertised on this poster.

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