Hyde Park, Great Exhibition
It is relatively scarce to get these brooches with the inscription on the reverse.
The exhibition was an attempt to show the world the technical achievements of the first half of the nineteenth century. Housed in Hyde Park, Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace was more than 600 yards long and contained some 7,000 exhibitors from Britain and as many again from abroad. The idea and the choice of site derived from Prince Albert. The exhibition demonstrated Britain's prosperity and showed how science could enhance a nation's prestige.
Queen Victoria opened the Exhibition on 1 May, on schedule. She became a frequent visitor. At first the price of admission was £3 for gentlemen, £2 for ladies. From 24th May the masses were let in for only a shilling a head. And they came in their thousands. The country men came wearing their best smocks, staring at all the Londoners and foreigners. The travel agent Thomas Cook arranged special excursion trains. A third-class return ticket from York cost only five shillings.
By the time the Exhibition closed, on 11 October, over six million people had gone through the turnstiles, a third of the population. Instead of the loss initially predicted, the Exhibition made a profit of £186,000, most of which was used to create the South Kensington museums. Those were Albert's memorial. The Queen commissioned the statue of him, sitting under a gilt canopy opposite the Royal Albert Hall with a copy of the Exhibition catalogue on his knee.
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