The closing ceremony of the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace, London, 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustrated plate taken from Dickinsons' 'Comprehensive Pictures of The Great Exhibition' (1854). The 'Great Exhibition of the Works of the Industry of all Nations' was conceived by Prince Albert (1819-1861). The Crystal Palace was purpose-built to house the 30,000 exhibits. It was the first large-scale prefabricated ferrovitreous (iron and glas) structure, and was designed by Joseph Paxton (1801-1865). The prefabricated design made the construction, and later dismantling, easier and quicker. From 1May to 15 October, a total of six million visitors came to the exhibition at Hyde Park in London. The profits from the event were used to establish the South Kensington museums and the Royal Albert Hall.