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London 1851
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LONDON,
England 1851
The Great exhibition of the arts & industries of all nations



Quick List Info ...

Dates Open - May 1 to October 11, 1851.  No Sunday openings. 
Was also open Monday and Tuesday, October 13-14 to exhibitors with the Closing Ceremony on October 15.

Attendance
- Total paid and season ticket admissions, 6,039,195.
International Participants - 50 nations and 39 colonies/protectorates.

Total Cost
- 335,742 pounds ($1,678,710)

Site Acreage
- Entire site within Hyde Park covered 26 acres. 
The Great Exhibition building sat on 19 acres within the entire site.

Santion
- Prior to the Bureau of International Exhibitions. 
Although often called a Universal Exhibition due to its broad scope, it would not be considered a Universal style exhibition in the 21st century due to its size. 
The exhibition was organized by a Royal Commission with Prince Albert playing a central role. 
The government supported the idea in principal, but not financially.

Ticket Cost
- Adult admission prices ranged from 1 shilling (25 cents) to 5 shillings ($1.25)
to 2 shillings and 6d (63 cents) to 1 pound ($5.00), depending on the day. 
The average daily price was 59 cents.

London World's Fair 1851

London
England
1851

1st World's Fair
in
history



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History of the Event

Exhibitions were part of the landscape in continential Europe as well as the English isles from the beginning of the late 1800s with the Society of Art hosting annual exhibitions from 1845 forward.  When the idea of hosting the next in the series of national exhibition for 1851 was brought forward, the idea of turning it into an international event was broached. 
This idea was not a new one, as other events had both solicited foreign contributions, i.e.  Birmingham 1849, only to receive none, and the French national exhibition in the same year desired to be international, but the idea did not go over well with French manufacturers who did not want to compete against foreign products.  On June 30, 1849, Prince Albert met with several colleagues, including Henry Cole, who had recently visited the Paris national exhibition and their idea, although turned down, of making in an international event.  Prince Albert concurred and the committee agreed on six goals.

1) ... that the  exhibit would have four divisions, (raw materials, machinery, manufactured products, and sculpture and plastic art generally.)
2) ... that it would be held in a temporary building in Hyde Park
3) ...that the scope would be International.
4) ...that substantial prizes
should be offered.
5)  ...that a Royal Commission,
with Prince Albert at its head,
should carry out the plans. 
6)  ... and that funds would be raised by voluntary subscriptions and collected by the Royal Society of Arts.

  On January 3, 1850, a Royal Commission was granted charter by the Government, taking over responsibilily from the Society of Arts.

A subscription fund was launched on January 25, with the first list headed by the Queen and Prince Albert.  By end of February, 70,000 pounds were subscripted, but more donations came in slowly.
After that hesitant beginning, the guarantee fund rose to 350,000 pounds.  The site problem was overcome by the approval of Hyde Park.  And Joseph Paxton solved a third problem, of a temporary building of sufficient scope, by proposing the glass and iron Crystal Palace, which required only 17 weeks to erect building.

Inside the huge nineteen acre construction, half of the gallery exhibit space was taken by British goods and the remaining space, foreign.  More than 40 different countries and their possessions were represented, including France, the most prominent.

The opening ceremonies were held on May 1 with Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, present and pleased.  Attendance of over 6 million traipsed past the exhibits during the fair, and after the even was completed, a surplus of 200,000 pounds remained as profit.  The surplus was used to acquire land in South Kensington, adjacent to the site.  Subsequent years saw the granting of help to the foundations of educations institutions to build on that land and establish a system of scholarships, some of which last until this day. 

The Crystal Palace itself was rebuilt in a larger version at Sydenham, and used as centre of popular entertainment, instruction, and cultural activities until it was destroyed by a fire in 1936.

Source: The Story of Exhibitions

International
Participants ...


Nations
        Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Great Britain,
States of Zollervein
(Germany not established until 1870, individual kingdoms/states were listed)
...
Anhalt, Bavaria, Baden, Bremen, Brunswick, Hesse,

Hesse-Darmstadt, Nassau, Prussia,
Saxony,
Saxe-Meiningen , Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Lubeck, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Nuremburg, Thuringia, Wurtemburg...
Greece
Haiti
Holland
Mexico
New Granada (Columbia)
Persia
Portugal
Italy
(Italy not established until 1861,
individual kingdoms/states lited until then)
... Rome, Sardinia, Tuscany, Naples ...
Russia
Spain
Sweden & Norway
Switzerland
Tunis
Turkey
United States of America



Colonies & Protectorates

Algiers
Society Island
East Indies
Indian Archipelago
Jersey
Guernsey
Ceylon
Ionian Islands
Malta
Cape of Good Hope
Natal
West Coast of Africa
Canada
Nova Scotia
Newfoundland
New Brunswick
St. Helena
Mauritius
Ile Maurice
Seychelles
St. Domingo
Grenada
Montserrat
St. Kitt's
Barbados
Antigua
British Guiana
Bahamas
Trinidad
the Bermudas
South Australia

Western Australia
New Zealand
New South Wales
Van Diemen's Land
Labuan and Borneo
Hong Kong
Jamaica
Madere

Season Tickets

Price:
3 pounds 3 shillings for men ($15.75),
2 pounds 2 shillings for women ($10.50)

Number of Season Tickets Sold: 25,605 and used 773,766 times,
for average use of 30.22.


Expo Tidbits
  • What musical instrument did Antoine Sax introduce at the London fair of 1851?
  • False teeth, chewing tobacco, and rubber (vulcanized) boots were introducted by Charles Goodyear.
  • The first International yacht race was held.
  • The term "Crystal Palace" was first applied by "Punch" in an issue sold 11-2-1850.
  • Panes of glass used: 293,655. 
  • Iron used: 4500 tons.
  • The interior color scheme: (red, light blue, white).
  • There were hanging banners for each country and class of material in red with white lettering & borders. 
  • The exterior was white or stone color, picked out in blue.
  • Total amount of exhibit space - 991,857 square feet.
  • Largest attendance - October 7 - 109,915 with 93,224 in the Crystal Palace at one time on the same day.
  • April 1 to September 30, 1851.  4,237,240 people arrived in London, 50% more than in same period of the previous year.
  • Nothing but refreshment sold inside the Crystal Palace with Messrs. Schweppes held catering concession.

Legacies
  • Colebrookdale Gates ( in north transept) which divides Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park.
  • Exhibition Road.
  • Paxton's Head public house Knightsbridge.
  • Prince Albert's model dwellings in Kennington.
  • The Memorial to the exhibition behind Albert Hall.
  • Mosaic in the quadrangle of Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • The Catalogue of the exhibition in the Prince Consort's right hand in statue on Albert Memorial.
  • 87 acres of land in South Kensington bought with the surplus where now stands Victoria and Albert Hall, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Geological Museum, the Imperial College of Science & Technology, the Royal College of Art, and the Royal College of Music.


London 1851 -
Outside the Great Exhibition


Other London commercial exhibits and government attractions around London had a banner year in 1851 due to the opening of the Crystal Palace.
  • Windsor Castle drew 31,228 in 1850, 129,400 in 1851.
  • British Museum 720,643 in 1850, 2,230,242 in 1851.
  • Tower of London-Armory 32,313-1850, 233,561-1851.
  • Tower of London Crown Jewels 32,888 to 209,000-1851. 
Reports from the Participants
"Greece"


The Great Exhibition of  1851 –
the mental Olympic games
of the united 
world!

GREECE
25 Finsbury Circus,  London     
February  27,1852

GENTLEMEN
As the labours of the Greek Committee in connexion with the Great Exhibition
of 1851 are now terminated, the  Committee desire me,
before separating, to express to
His Royal Highness Prince Albert,
and the Royal Commissioners, their
most grateful thanks for the unceasing support and valuable facilities
invariably afforded them upon every  occasion, during the tenure of their office, in their efforts to carry into
effect the part assigned them in  those
gloriously conceived and newly
revived Olympic games,
in which not the  physical, but
the mental powers of the united world have been called into  friendly
competition, in order to augment and advance the sources of happiness,  and the well-being of mankind.
The Committee feel it a pleasurable
duty to request the Royal  Commissioners
to convey to the indefatigable Captain Owen their especial  acknowledgments
for his constant urbanity, valuable advice and assistance, upon  all occasions
when referred to; which not only lightened their exertions, but  proved most advantageous,
by enabling them to complete their arrangements in an  efficient
manner.  I have the honour to be,
with the highest respect and  consideration,

GENTLEMEN,
Your most obedient, most humble Servant,
(In the absence of the President of the Greek Committee,)   
P. RALLI
(Signed)   D.P.SCARAMANGA
The  Secretary.
The Royal  Commissioners of the Great Exhibition of 1851

Source: OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION AND ILLUSTRATED  CATALOGUE
OF THE GREAT EXHIBTION 1851’
published by Spicer Brothers, 
December 1852

Much thanks to John Greatrex at the Crystal Palace Foundation
for pointing out this report.


Publications


Illustrated Catalogue


Art Catalogue



Those in Charge
 
The Royal Commission included...
 Lord John Russell, then Prime Minister,
Sir Robert Peel,
Lord Stanley,
W.E. Gladstone,
Lord Granville, Vice President of Government
 Henry Labouche're,
Charles Barry, architect,
Robert Stephenson and
William Cubitt, engineers,
Sir Charles Eastlake, President of the Royal Academy, and
Sir Charles Lyell, geologist. 

Detailed work continued in hands of the Trustees, Treasurers, and an Executive Committee formed from the Society of Arts.  Scott Russell and Sir Stafford Northcote were the two joint secretaries with Henry Cole on Executive Committee.


Links
Great Exhibition

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