The Crystal Palace

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The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's 990,000 square feet (92,000 m2) of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. Designed by Joseph Paxton, the Great Exhibition building was 1,851 feet (564 m) long, with an interior height of 128 feet (39 m).[1]

After the exhibition, the building was moved to a new park in a high, healthy and affluent area of London called Sydenham Hill, an area not much changed today from the well-heeled suburb full of large villas that it was in its Victorian heyday. The Crystal Palace was enlarged and stood in the area from 1854 to 1936, when it was destroyed by fire. It attracted many thousands of visitors from all levels of society. The name Crystal Palace (the satirical magazine Punch usually gets the credit for coining the phrase)[2] was later used to denote this area of south London and the park that surrounds the site, home of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.


Original Hyde Park building

The huge, modular wood,[3] glass and iron structure at the top of Sydenham Hill was originally erected in Hyde Park in London to house The Great Exhibition of 1851, showcasing the products of many countries throughout the world.[4]

The Crystal Palace's creator, Joseph Paxton, was knighted in recognition of his work. Paxton had been the head gardener at Chatsworth House. There he had experimented with glass and iron in the creation of large greenhouses, and had seen something of their strength and durability, knowledge that he applied to the plans for the Great Exhibition building. Planners had been looking for strength, durability, simplicity of construction and speed—and this they got from Paxton's ideas. The project was engineered by Sir William Cubitt.

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