May 1st, 1851 – Queen Victoria Opens the Great Exhibition!

Today-In-History

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from May 1st, 1851 to October 11th, 1851. It was the first in a series of World’s Fair exhibitions of culture and industry that were to become a popular 19th-century feature. The Great Exhibition was organized by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, husband of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.

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It was attended by numerous notable figures of the time, including Charles Darwin, Samuel Colt, members of the Orléanist Royal Family and the writers Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, George Eliot and Alfred Tennyson. Music for the opening was under the direction of Sir George Thomas Smart and the continuous music from the exhibited organs for the Queen’s procession was “under the superintendence of William Sterndale Bennett“.

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