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Crystal Palace

Photographer: Philip Henry Delamotte (1820 - 89)

'Breakfast time at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, 1852-54'

The Great Exhibition of 1851 and the revolutionary design of the buildings that housed it had been hugely successful. 

After its closure and relocation from Hyde Park to Sydenham, Philip Delamotte was commissioned by the directors to provide a photographic record of the reconstruction. This early photographic documentation of an engineering project included views not only of the emerging structure itself, but also more intimate and informal portraits of the army of labour involved in its erection. 

Opened by Queen Victoria in 1854, the building survived until its destruction in a fire in 1936.The flames lit up the night sky and were visible for many miles.

Albumen print

From P.H. Delamotte, Photographic Views of the Progress of the Crystal Palace, Sydenham. ([London,] 1855)

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