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The Great Exhibition Visitor Experience

The Transept of The Crystal Palace, 1851 by Louis Haghe. Museum no. CIS 19604

The Transept of The Crystal Palace, 1851 by Louis Haghe. Museum no. CIS 19604.

'Within the Exhibition (no dogs and no smoking) visitors found every modern convenience, including refreshment rooms where over a million bottles of soft drinks were sold (no alcohol) and nearly a million Bath buns.

Free comfort facilities were available to all; filtered water was supplied by the Chelsea Waterworks Company and, for the first time, public lavatories were provided for the gentlemen and 'rest rooms' for the ladies. In addition, many of the countries were advertising themselves through free samples, for instance an Eau de Cologne fountain in the Austrian Court and chocolate drops in the Saxony Court.

For the mid-nineteenth-century citizen this would have been a unique experience. It was the first time that the nations of the world had ever come together in one place, other than on a battlefield and even then not in such numbers or in such variety, and it was a remarkable showcase for the manufactures of Britain and the world.

The cost of visiting the exhibition was as follows:
'Season Tickets, for Gentlemen £3 3s; for Ladies £2 2s.
The first day Season Tickets only will be admitted.
On the 2nd and 3rd days £1, 4th day 5s, and the same rate for the succeeding seventeen days.
On the 22nd day the prices as follows in continuance: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays each week, 1s. Fridays, 2s 6d and Saturdays is 5s.
No change given at the doors.'

From Beasland, R. Beasland's 'London companion during the Great Exhibition' London, 1851

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