Antiques column: Influence of the Great Exhibition

Furniture piece by Arthur Hayball.

Furniture piece by Arthur Hayball.

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The Great Exhibition of 1851 was one of the most successful things to happen in Victorian England and has influenced many styles and manufacturing processes.

It was housed in a 19-acre glass structure on part of a 26-acre site in Hyde Park.

It took just four months to build and was christened “Chrystal Palace” by Punch magazine.

It ran between May 1 and October 11, 1851.

There were almost 14,000 exhibitors there and more than six million people visited in the 141 days of opening ( however there were no Sunday trading in Victorian England).

The Exhibition was more than just an elaborate trade fair – it was a very successful attempt to give a living picture of the point at which the world had reached in design and manufacturing.

The use of the word world is very important as more than 6,500 of the 14,000 exhibitors were from foreign countries.

Everyone who visited could see what life was like everywhere in the world and that was very important and incredibly exciting in 1851.

The Exhibition also acted as a platform for the further development of the 19th century style.

When the doors closed on the last day many debates took place about the future of the Crystal Palace.

Eventually it was decided to dismantle the building and rebuild it at Sydenham where it was reopened in 1854.

Sadly it burned down in November 1936.

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