PAXTON, Joseph
(b. 1803, Milton Bryan, d. 1865, Sydenham, London)

Exterior view

1851
Photo
Crystal Palace, London

The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass structure originally built in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. The exhibition took place from 1 May until 15 October 1851, and more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in its 92,000 m2 exhibition space to display examples of technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. Designed by Joseph Paxton, the Great Exhibition building was 564 m long, with an interior height of 39 m. It was three times the size of St Paul's Cathedral.

The introduction of the sheet glass method into Britain by Chance Brothers in 1832 made possible the production of large sheets of cheap but strong glass, and its use in the Crystal Palace created a structure with the greatest area of glass ever seen in a building. It astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights.

After the exhibition, the Palace was relocated to an area of South London. It was rebuilt next to Sydenham Hill, an affluent suburb of large villas. It stood there from June 1854 until its destruction by fire in November 1936.