The 1851 Great Exhibition

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The 1851 Great Exhibition

The Great Exhibition of 1851 was a highpoint of Victorian Britain and its sense of Empire. The magnificent Crystal Palace became a magnet for great crowds of visitors from all over Britain and overseas.

‘The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851’ – to give it its full title – was held in Hyde Park that year and over 6 million people visited. That’s about 1 in 3 of the entire population. When the design for the building was first published in June 1850, Punch dubbed the architectural style ‘Early English Shed’, but by 2nd November had been won over as the light and airy building grew, and changed the description to ‘Crystal Palace’. The name stuck.

It was a temporary exhibition which ran six days a week from Thursday 1st May until Wednesday 15th October 1851. With days lost for Sundays, private views for exhibitors, plus the Opening and Closing ceremonies, the public had access on 141 days between 9am and 6pm. Queen Victoria visited 41 times! 

From plans, catalogues and prints, the layout and content of the Exhibition have been reconstructed, making it possible to visit stand after stand in the order the Victorians would have seen them. Individual exhibits have been identified, foreign products marvelled at, and the whole atmosphere of the original Crystal Palace will be brought to life.

An expert on the Exhibition, Dr David De Haan, discusses how Prince Albert championed the original concept, helped to raise the funds and took a very active interest throughout project. He also explains the social impact of the Great Exhibition and how it shaped Victorian Society.

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Black Country Hardware, Hollowware and Household Goods
Black Country Hardware, Hollowware and Household Goods

In Great Exhibition, Black Country,

Respectable Refreshments
Respectable Refreshments

J. SCHWEPPE AND CO. AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE

In Great Exhibition,

"A Quota of Beautiful Works'
'A Quota of Beautiful Works'

THE WEDGWOOD COMPANY AND 1851

In Great Exhibition, Wedgwood,

The Nature of Glass
The Nature of Glass

In Glass,

Glassmaking
Glassmaking

THE GROWTH OF AN INDUSTRY

In Glass, Industry,

A Family Affair
A Family Affair

THE ORIGINS OF THE STOUR VALLEY GLASS INDUSTRY

In Glass, Industry, Black Country,

Preserved in Stone
Preserved in Stone

THE FRAGILE MONUMENTS OF GLASSMAKERS

In Glass, Black Country,

The Stourbridge School of Art
The Stourbridge School of Art

DESIGN EDUCATION FOR ARTISANS

In Glass, Art,

The Stourbridge Glass Industry
The Stourbridge Glass Industry

THEN AND NOW

In Glass, Industry, Black Country,

Remarkable Objects
Remarkable Objects

GLASS MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

In Glass, Soho, Watt, Birmingham,

The Chance Brothers' Impact
The Chance Brothers' Impact

ON DOMESTIC GLASSWARWE

In Glass, Chance Brothers,

Hidden Underground
Hidden Under Ground

BIRMINGHAM'S GLASS INDUSTRY

In Glass, Birmingham, Industry,

Family and Faith
Family and Faith

STAINED GLASS WINDOWS IN MEDIEVAL PARISH CHURCHES

In Art, Glass, Medieval,

Francis Egington
Francis Eginton

DESIGNER AND GLASSPAINTER

In Glass, Art, Soho,

Henry Payne
Henry Payne

STAINED GLASS WORK AT BIRMINGHAM SCHOOL OF ART

In Glass, Art,

Florence Camm
Florence Camm

AND THE CAMM STUDIO OF SMETHWICK

In Glass, Art,

The Great Hall Window
The Great Hall Window

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

In Glass, University,

Precursor to The Great Exhibition
Precursor to The Great Exhibition

BIRMINGHAM’S EXPOSITION IN 1849

In Birmingham, Great Exhibition, Victorian,

Constructing The Crystal Palace
Constructing The Crystal Palace

In Great Exhibition, Glass, Black Country,

A Theatre of Glass
A Theatre of Glass

In Great Exhibition,

Made to Impress
Made to Impress

A REMARKABLE CABINET

In Great Exhibition,

Gates, A Fountain and Statues
Gates, A Fountain and Statues

COALBROOKDALE AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE

In Great Exhibition, Ironbridge,

Making Glass at Chance's Glassworks
Making Glass at Chance's Glassworks

A VISITOR’S ACCOUNT FROM 1852

In Glass, Black Country, Chance Brothers,

Books from History West Midlands

Lighthouses:
Lighthouses:
The Race to Illuminate the World

In Glass, Chance Brothers,

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