||The Great Exhibition of 1851|
Most of Godmanchesters residents and visitors will have been to the Exhibition pub, or at the very least be aware of its existence. However, how many people actually know much about the origin of its name? There will be those who do, but for the rest like me who knew little about the Great Exhibition other than its date, the following may be of interest.
With the full title The Great Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations, 1851 the idea was said to be first formulated by Prince Albert, and was seen as a celebration of the industrial and economic might of Great Britain and her many colonies. Invitations to exhibit were also extended to the rest of the colonized world. The exhibition reflected the feeling of many britains in that period, one of contentment in the knowledge that Great Britain stood in a position of industrial supremacy.
The exhibition itself was held in the specially constructed Crystal Palace
in Hyde Park, London. The buildings design, which was originally
rejected by the government, was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton in just
10 days, and was a vast cast-iron structure (4000 tons) covered by nearly
one million feet of glass. The plan used pre-fabricated identical, and
therefore interchangeable, pieces which kept the material and manufacturing
costs low. The
Numbered among the exhibitions on show were kitchen appliances, the jacquard
loom, an envelope machine, farm machinery, clocks and toys. There was
a good balance of both decorative arts and scientific instruments on show.
Much of the machinery was displayed in working order and was powered by
the exhibitions own steam engines. The mechanical and clockwork
toys on display often imitated the movement of animals, both domestic
and exotic, and reflected the influx of new species of animals to Great
Britain that were being shipped in to British zoos from the ever-widening
empire. There were also demonstrations of many electrical applications,
despite the fact that the full potential of many of these applications
The profits from the event were subsequently used to fund new projects
of public interest in London, such as the Science Museum and the fore-runner
to the Victoria and Albert Museum, both of which are situated on land
bought in Kensington following the exhibition - now known as Exhibition
Todays strong connection with sport is not purely a modern development
though. In 1857 part of the park was set aside as a cricket ground.
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