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The Crystal Palace (7 pages)

Uploaded by Hockey Nat on Nov 26, 2005

The Crystal Palace: A Palace of Beauty and Wonder

The Crystal Palace not only showcased the wonders of Britain and its colonies, but it also inspired future architecture and pop culture. The reason for its entire existence was the Great Exhibition of 1851. Prince Albert’s desire to show Britain’s economic superiority fueled the idea for the Great Exhibition. Webb shows just how strong Albert’s pride in British superiority was when he stated that, “Scientific curiosity, a faith in progress, and the examples of French exhibitions of artistic and industrial productions led the Prince to the idea of the Great Exhibition” (Webb 286). The Exhibition made its run and so did the Palace. Meant to be dismantled after use, the Crystal Palace’s architect, Joseph Paxton, raised funds and had it moved from Hyde Park to a London suburb of Sydenham where it lived out its remaining years. However, it proved not to be fireproof and burned down in 1936 during restoration. Thus, the Crystal Palace’s construction for the Great Exhibition of 1851 was not only a first in architecture, but was immensely beautiful and exotic, and to this day, still being copied.
As stated previously, the whole concept and eventual building of the Crystal Palace was due wholly in part to the Great Exhibition of 1851. In order to hold this elaborate showcasing of British culture, the perfect building was needed. But why was the Great Exhibition even really needed? Answered keenly in the words of Black and McRaild, “ Planned in 1849 by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, a keen moderniser, the Great Exhibition was intended as a demonstration of British achievement and a reflection of the country’s mission, duty and interest to put itself at the head of the diffusion of civilisation” (Black 24). Britain wanted to show Europe and the rest of the World that they were on top and that they were the ones to come to for any type of needs, either or scientific. The exhibitors were predominantly British, although according to Wilson’s breakdown of the exhibitors, “There were 13, 937 exhibitors – 6,556 of them foreign, the rest British. There were over 100,000 exhibits…” (Wilson 38). While not predominant, the British support of the colonies was put on the forefront as MacKenzie acknowledges that the, “Displays emphasized the commercial importance of more than thirty colonies and dependencies whose manufactures and raw materials were exhibited” (MacKenzie 321). The...

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Uploaded by:   Hockey Nat

Date:   11/26/2005

Category:   History

Length:   9 pages (1,999 words)

Views:   4648

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