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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

The Great Exhibition and the Eve of the Crimean War
In 1849 Prince Albert adopted with enthusiasm a plan for an exhibition on a huge scale. It would celebrate the achievements and progress of the country and the world in every field. It would proclaim the benefits of free trade between all the nations of the world and aim for universal peace.

The Great Exhibition opened in 1851 in Hyde Park. The principal building was the Crystal Palace. The Exhibition was a huge success. Nearly 14,000 exhibits of industrial skill and craft were shown and over a million people a month visited it during the first six months.

In the middle of the 19th Century there were revolutions in the Italian states and France. Revolutionary nationalism was also stirring in Germany, Austria and Poland. The Czechs, Poles and Hungarians took up arms only to be defeated when the Czar of Russia stepped in to help. This interference in the affairs of Eastern Europe led Britain to war with Russia. This was the Crimean War.

Sir Joseph Paxton
Sir Joseph Paxton

  • English gardener and architect
  • Born in Milton-Bryant near Woburn
  • Worked for the Duke of Devonshire at Chiswick and Chatsworth from 1826
  • Designed a glass and iron conservatory at Chatsworth (1836-1840)
  • Widely remembered for his enormous dome, the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition of 1851
  • After the Exhibition the Crystal Palace was moved to the top of Sydenham Hill in south east London but was destroyed by fire in 1936
  • Became Liberal MP for Coventry in 1854

did you know?
Seven attempts were made on Victoria's life. Most were attempts to shoot her but in 1850 a one-time Hussar, Robert Pate, attacked her with his walking stick and rendered her unconscious

The Manifesto of the Communist Party was published in London in 1850.

Select historical period

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1834 Melbourne becomes Prime Minister
Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister
Tamworth Manifesto is announced
Houses of Parliament are burned down
1835Melbourne becomes Prime Minister
1837William IV dies
Victoria becomes Queen
1838 The People's Charter is issued
1839The Opium War breaks out
1840 Victoria marries Prince Albert
1841 Peel becomes Prime Minister
1842The Opium War ends
1845The Irish famine starts
1846 The corn laws are repealed
Russell becomes Prime Minister
1848 Public Health Act
1851The Great Exhibition
Louis Napoleon seizes power in France
1854 The Crimean War breaks out
Florence Nightingale arrives at Scutari
1855 Palmerston becomes Prime Minister
1856The Treaty of Paris ends the Crimean War

Gas lighting
Davy's safety lamp
Penny Postage Stamps
Christmas Cards
The Zoological Society
Menai's Bridge, Telford
Stephenson's Rocket
The Metropolitan Police
Telegraph lines

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