1851 London

The UK, leader of technical progress

The organization of the event came in response to the demand for creating new economic links between nations in face of the triumph of the free trade policy. As a result of the efforts of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, and the inventor Henry Cole, the Expo was organised in London with great success.

The Crystal Palace, symbol of the Expo

A special commission headed by Prince Albert designated the famous Hyde Park as the Expo site. The commission launched a competition for the building that would house the exhibits. More than 250 projects were submitted. The project of Joseph Paxton, later called the Crystal Palace, was selected. It became the architectural masterpiece of the time and even now its dimensions are still impressive: length - 563 metres, width - 124 metres,

floor area – 7,18 ha, height of the main nave - 19,5 metres
, height of the cross nave - 41 metres. Some time after the exposition closed, the Palace was transferred to Sydenham Park to host exhibitions, sporting events and music festivals. Unfortunately the building burnt down in 1936.

Profusion of innovations

"I'm not saying there's nothing to see, but that there's too much to see," Charles Dickens said after visiting the exhibition. The most impressive section was dedicated to machinery where visitors could discover the railroad equipment from UK and Germany, steam engines and American farm equipment, which was almost unknown in Europe.

Stereo photographs by the Scottish physicist David Brewster, vulcanized rubber by the American inventor Charles Goodyear, the so called "Viennese chairs" by the Hungarian furniture-maker Tonet, the 1,720-kilogram ingot of crucible steel produced by the Krupp's plant and many other new products were showcased at the Expo.

A success that allowed the cultural development of London

The Fair attracted nearly 6 million visitors and allowed the organizers of the exhibition to generate a profit of about 186,000 pound sterling. This money was used to fund a number of cultural and educational institutions such as the Geological Museum, the Museum of Science and Natural History, the Museum of Manufactures (known now as Victoria and Albert Museum) and the Imperial College of Science.

 

At a Glance

  • Official Designation: The great Exhibition of the works of industry of all Nations
  • Date: 01.05.1851 - 11.10.1851
  • Theme: Industry of all Nations
  • Category: World Exhibition
  • Organisers: Royal Commission
  • Visitors: 6 039 195
  • Surface: 10.4 Ha
  • Participating Countries: 25