The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, 1851

Historical Background

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations in 1851 was the first universal exhibition. It took place from May 1 to October 15, 1851 in London. The official opening of the exhibition took place in Hyde Park, in the Crystal Palace, a huge building glass (400 tons) and metal (4,000 tons), designed for the occasion by landscape designer Joseph Paxton (1801 1865). An area of ​​7.5 ha, about 14 000 exhibitors from half over forty foreign countries, half of the British Empire, were divided into four sections that were taken during the post World Fairs: raw materials, machines, manufactures, works of art. It was later expanded and moved to the top of Sydenham Hill, south London in 1854, when Queen Victoria inaugurated for the second time.Just like in 1866, when a fire destroyed the north transept, the Palace blazed within hours November 30, 1936, visible 10 miles away. The Crystal Palace Foundation was established in 1979 to defend and respect the memory of this place, a symbol of a glorious period in English history. A Chinese conglomerate Zhongrong, established in 1992 in Shanghai by the current billionaire president Ni Zhaoxing, proposed a project of construction of an exact replica of the Victorian Crystal Palace by the end of 2018.


Galerie photos
  • Date details


  • Period

Late modern Period

  • Thematic

Tourism and Culture

  • Institution

British Library


London, British Library

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