Crystal Palace Designer:– The Crystal Palace was constructed in 1851 in Hyde Park, London, to host the Great Exhibition. From May 1 to October 15, 1851, over 14,000 exhibitors from all around the globe assembled in 990,000 square feet (92,000 m2) of exhibition space to showcase exhibits of Industrial Revolution technology. The Great Exhibition structure was 1,851 feet (564 m) long with a 128-foot internal height (39 m). The building was three times the size of St Paul’s Cathedral and represented contemporary architecture and modern industry during the Industrial Revolution.
The Crystal Palace was built using the largest area of glass ever seen in a building, thanks to the Chance Brothers’ invention of the sheet glass technique in 1832. Its transparent walls and ceilings astounded visitors.
The name of the structure may have come from a poem written by dramatist Douglas Jerrold in the satirical magazine Punch in July 1850, alluding to a “palace of very crystal”.
Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband and head of the Royal Society of Arts, proposed hosting a worldwide exhibition in 1849. Plans were made and money collected quickly, with Victoria leading the list of subscribers. The Crystal Palace exhibition began on May 1, 1851.
Sir Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace was a spectacular prefabricated structure. It was a complex web of thin iron rods supporting transparent glass walls. The main body was 1848 feet (563 metres) long and 408 feet (124 metres) broad, with a 108 foot central transept (33 metres). The building covered 18 acres (7 hectares) and had a total floor space of 990,000 square feet (92,000 square metres, or about 23 acres [9 hectares]). Over 8 miles (13 km) of exhibit tables lined the main level and galleries.
Nearly half of the 14,000 exhibitors were non-British. France submitted 1,760 exhibits, USA 560. Amerikan displays included a McCormick reaper, fake teeth and prosthetic legs. Pumps, hydraulic presses, and mechanised cotton mules were popular British displays (spinning machines). The show, which ran through October 11, drew almost six million people. The event was profitable, and it ended on October 15. On Sydenham Hill in Upper Norwood, overlooking London from the south, the structure was demolished.
After the show, the Palace was moved to Penge Place, an enclave of South London carved out of Penge Common. It was constructed on Penge Peak, near Sydenham Hill, a wealthy villa neighbourhood. A fire in November 1936 razed it down from June 1854. Crystal Palace was also called after a neighbouring residential neighbourhood. This featured the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, which used to be a football stadium and hosted the FA Cup Final from 1895 until 1914. Crystal Palace F.C. began playing at the Cup Final location in 1905. The park still has Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins’ 1854 Crystal Palace Dinosaurs.