CRYSTAL PALACE

The Crystal Palace was the emblematic building of The Great Exhibition, the first international event in a series of World’s Fair exhibitions of modern culture, science, industry and design from the mid-19th century. The show was hosted in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 11 October 1851 and was organized by Prince Albert and Henry Cole, with the prime intention to educate the public’s taste, spread scientific knowledge and to prove to the world Great Britain’s superiority as industrial leader. There were more than 13,000 exhibitors listed in the illustrated catalogue of the event from all over the world, presenting the newest inventions in every possible field from industrial machinery through household appliances to fine arts.

The Crystal Palace, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton and structural engineer Charles Fox, was specifically built to house the exhibition. The elements of the giant greenhouse – a cast-iron structure covered with clear plate-glass – were all prefabricated and the construction went from the organization to the grand opening in just nine months. The design, the new structural solutions invented by Paxton and the construction method and quality of the building was unequalled in its time and established a new architectural standard. After the exhibition the building was disassembled and reconstructed in a larger form at Sydenham Hill, South-London, and housed several cultural events through decades until it was destroyed by a fire on 30 November 1936.

The Great Exhibition, visited by more than 6 million people, was a huge success and became a symbol of the Victorian Age.

The chart is set to 9.00 am on 1 May 1851, when the doors of the Crystal Palace were first opened for the visitors.