'Great Exhibition 'Wot is to Be'', 1850.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Satirical etching by George Sala suggesting a balloon as a venue for the upcoming 'Great Exhibition of the Works of the Industry of all Nations' of 1851. On either side of the balloon are banners naming the countries taking part in the exhibition. The eventual building chosen to house the exhibition was The Crystal Palace, designed by the landscape designer Joseph Paxton (1801-1865). The building was the first large-scale prefabricated ferrovitreous (iron and glass) structure in existance. The prefabricated design made the construction, and later dismantling, easier and quicker.