The Great Exhibition


  • Intro

    If you took a bus past London's Hyde Park, in the summer of 1851, you would see an astonishing sight. Glittering among the trees was a palace made of glass, like something out of the Arabian Nights. This was the ‘Crystal Palace’, home to the Great Exhibition, an idea dreamt up by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, to display the wonders of industry and manufacturing from around the modern world. 


    There were some 100,000 objects, shown along more than 10 miles, by over 15,000 contributors. Each country displayed its finest achievements: there were steam engines and hydraulic machines that could add, print and build at unprecedented rates; there were fabrics, carriages, musical instruments and jewels; there were foldable pianos, 80-blade penknives and dioramas of stuffed kittens. Queen Victoria opened the Exhibition, and became a frequent visitor. Over 6 million people visited the exhibition, and they came from all over the country and all walks of life: from aristocrats to factory workers, country villagers to schoolchildren.


    Cup.652.c.33., volume 2

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