View of the Interior of the Great Exhibition
Museum no. 19538.2
The exhibition organisers wanted to bring together all sections of Victorian society. The local committees collaborated with manual workers, but mainly the most 'respectable' of them, the artisans rather than the poorest workers. The idea of equality was not reflected in the practical arrangements, such as ticket pricing.
For the first three weeks of the exhibition, the ticket price was set at five shillings or above, which large sections of society could not afford. On the 26th of May, the ticket price was dropped to one shilling, and the lower classes were able to visit in their thousands. The mid-19th century was a time of class anxiety for the middle and upper classes, who feared that the working class would rise up to a revolution. The view among the middle and upper classes was that the working class needed to be controlled, and their entry to the exhibition would lead to chaos and mayhem. This fear was proved to be unfounded, and the exhibition passed without trouble.
This print can be found in Print Room Box 4a.