The Displays and Products from Overseas
The following is an extract from a contemporary source at the time of the opening of the Great Exhibition.
'The building for the exhibition will stand on the piece of ground on the south side of Hyde-park between the ride known as Rotten-row, and the Knightsbridge-road; it will occupy about 18 acres of ground, and will provide, altogether, an exhibiting surface of 21 acres...It will be 1,848 feet long and will be crossed by a transept 108 feet high, inclosing a row of elm trees. Glass and supports of iron comprise the entire structure, with the exception of timber for joists and flooring...
The first section of the articles will comprise raw materials and produce. The next great division into which the Exhibition will be classed will be that of machinery of all kinds, illustrative of the agents brought to bear upon the products of nature, in order to bring them in to a manufactured state. In this section will be seen all varieties of steam engines... In a word, every one may be able to see how cloth is made for his clothes, leather for boots, linen for shirts, silk for gowns, ribbons, and handkerchiefs; how lace is made; how a pin and needle, a button, a knife, a sheet of paper, a ball of thread, a nail, a screw, a pair of stockings are made, how a carpet is woven... In addition to this, the machinery will be exhibited in motion...
Not only, however, will there be an immense variety of articles of manufacture, but there will be exhibited also the most perfect specimens of all these articles, whether used for clothing, building, furniture, or human enjoyments.
The fourth and last division includes those productions which tend to illustrate the taste and skill displayed in the application of human industry to the raw material in the productions of sculpture, models and the fine arts. Objects formed in any kind of material, if they exhibit such a degree of taste and skill as to come under the denomination of fine arts, will be admitted into this section.'
Extract from 'A visit to London during the Great Exhibition' by H. Beal, London, 1851.
Products from Overseas
The following is from a specially written handbook published as a guide for prospective visitors, and a 'remembrancer' for those who had already visited the Exhibition.
'The building is exceedingly light but the brightness is tempered and subdued by canvass or calico covering on the outside of the roof, and all the south side of the structure ...
Of foreign contributions to the Exhibition France will be the largest contributor; next to it will come the Zoolvereign [Northern Germany] and Austria; then Belgium. To these succeed Russia, Turkey and Switzerland. Holland, its commercial importance considered, will occupy a very small space... Egypt, Spain, Portugal, the Brazils and Mexico, have confined themselves within still narrower limits; and China, Arabia and Persia have the smallest. Of the British dependencies the East Indies claim the lion's share of the room...
As far as possible the different nations have been arranged in a manner corresponding to their distances from the equator; the products of tropical climates being brought nearest to the transept, and those of colder regions being placed at the extremities of the building.
Of the four main divisions Machinery occupies the north side, Raw Material and Produce the south side, and in the centre Manufactures and Fine Arts. Along the central passage to the west of the transept will be placed the productions of the Colonies.'
Extract from 'London companion during the Great Exhibition, by R Beasland, London, 1851.