The Great Exhibition of 1851 was the first International Exhibition ever
held. Promoted by Prince Albert it was intended to help understanding and
brotherhood between nations and so aid peace. Set in Hyde Park it was a huge three-tiered glass building
and enclosed full-grown elm trees.
The Exhibition lasted 141 days and in that time six million people visited
the Crystal Palace. The centrally placed exhibition situated in a far more
accessible venue than the British Millennium Dome of 2000, attracted everyone
from schoolboy to Queen to the well behaved.
The Prince was thrilled that people of all types, all classes and all ages
came from Britain and abroad. Whole parish parties visited and a Cornish woman walked the two hundred and fifty miles to
see the Exhibition's wonders.
Admission prices varied according to the date.
There was a day and a ticket price to suit everyone. It varied from 3 guineas a
day, £1 a day, five shillings a day, down to one shilling a day. The one
shilling ticket was a huge success with the industrial classes, and four and a
half million shillings were taken.
Visitors were genuinely interested in the exhibits as many gave an
opportunity to see exhibits that were only ever likely to be seen on an
expensive foreign tour. Everything was for
the entertainment of curious eyes and minds. A touch of the exotic was
introduced and for the first time many people tasted set jelly and ice cream.
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