The Great Exhibition of 1851

Essay by thecrowCollege, UndergraduateC+, November 2012

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This essay will discuss how The Great Exhibition of 1851 symbolised a moment of profound change in Victorian Britain. It will look at how British industry helped toward the success of the Exhibition, in form of the Railway and how in turn the Exhibition would also helped improve British industrialization. It will also examine the effect it would have on uniting the British public after the unsettled period of the 1840's and the emergence of the Police force who were expected to be tested by the mass amount of visitors and possible uprising.

The Great Exhibition was an international exhibit that took place in Hyde Park, London, from May to October 1851. The exhibit was held in a purpose built structure that was dubbed The Crystal Palace. By the time its doors closed to the general public it is estimated that six million people had passed through its gates.

This total would include one quarter of the UK population, as well as visitors from over Europe and even America. Organized by Henry Cole with the backing of Prince Albert, built by Joseph Paxton and regularly visited by Queen Victoria, the Crystal Palace is considered to have been a symbol of Utilitarianism, Industrialization, Modernity and Social change�.

In order to understand why the Great Exhibition was seen as this symbol of change in Britian, it is important to consider what was showcased in the exhibition. As Jeremy Black suggests, Britiain was in search of a new identity�. At the time there was debate amongst the public whether or not Industrialization was a positive thing, if Britain should build its future on this or stick to its agricultural roots .Emsley suggests that the Palace may have been born in response to a time when the country seemed to need a new...