The London World Exposition 1851
The Crystal Palace travels
Year: || 1851|
|Country: ||Great Britain|
|Duration: ||1st May - 11th October 1851
| 1 |
Copyright: The Crystal Palace and its Contents, London 1852, S. 104f
The first World Exhibition ended on 11 October 1851 with the handing out of awards to those exhibitors selected by the 314 jurors. Naturally, the majority of awards went to Great Britain. France, with around 33 per cent of prizes in the first category did well, too. The exhibition’s message was quickly understood: Great Britain was leading in industry and economy, and could serve as an example for other nations. For trade, too, a clear signal was given. The times of protectionism and high import taxes were over. The world-wide linking of economies had been advanced considerably.
More than six million visitors had come to the Crystal Palace. Many more than the organisers themselves had expected in their wildest dreams. The exhibition’s huge success made the Royal Commission a handy profit. As set out in its statute, the money was used for the promotion of industry and to buy land in South Kensington, where Prince Albert had several museums opened in order to raise education levels. Some of these, like the Victoria and Albert Museum, were endowed with selected exhibits from the first world exhibition.
The Crystal Palace at first avoided the intended dismantling. A new commission was convened, this time with Paxton as chairman, which in the end decided on a transferral of the building to the park area in Sydenham. There, it was to serve as a tourist attraction for the general education and entertainment of the public and as a giant conservatory. The building had a major check-up done for the purpose of reconstruction. Not only did it have to be made weatherproof for the winter, heated and ventilated. It had also probably been only a matter of good luck that the structure had withstood the enormous rush of the crowds during the World Exhibition. The Crystal Palace, which partially burned down in 1866, remained as a symbol of the glorious Victorian era until 1936, when it was finally destroyed in yet another fire. Its architecture set an example for subsequent World Exhibition palaces. But its elegance and eminence were rarely equalled.