Isambard Kingdom Brunel's design for the 'Crystal Palace', 1850.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1803-1859) was asked by the building committee to design a building to house the Great Exhibition of the Works of the Industry of all Nations', an idea conceived by HRH Prince Albert (1819-1861). This plan was published by the ILN in 1850, eliciting a furious response from those opposed to the construction of such a 'monstrousity', in Hyde Park. Joseph Paxton (1801-1865) took the opportunity to submit his own design, the Crystal Palace, which won public approval as, in constrast to Brunel's plan for a substantial building, its structure meant it could be easily dismantled.

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