The Crystal Palace, c 1870.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photoscopic view of the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London, published by Frith and Co in about 1870. After housing the Great Exhibition in 1851 the Crystal Palace was dismantled and rebuilt on a new site at Sydenham, south east London, reopening in June 1854. The 'Palace of the People' as it became known, was at first a huge success as the world's first 'theme park'. However, in the twentieth century the Crystal Palace's popularity declined, failing to compete with newer forms of entertainment and recreation. Photoscopic views were large format photographs on transparent paper designed to be looked at using a special viewer, similar to Carlo Ponti's Megalethoscope. Francis Frith (1822-1898) was a pioneer of travel photography. He was also one of photography's greatest entrepreneurs, founding a company that was to become the largest publisher of photographs in the world. Frith saw himself as a romantic adventurer in the mould of Byron. Between 1856 and 1860 he travelled and photo