Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851


The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 is an institution founded in 1850 to administer the international exhibition of 1851, officially called the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations. The Great Exhibition was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park London, England. The enormous building was designed by Joseph Paxton for the Exhibition and construction was supervised by William Cubitt using a cast iron space frame for the glass panes, with wooden beams for flooring.

The Great Exhibition: Paxton's "Crystal Palace" enclosed full-grown trees in Hyde Park.
The 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park

The founding President of the Commission was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and its chief administrator was Henry Cole. The current President is Anne, Princess Royal.

The exhibition was a great popular and financial success, and made a huge surplus of 186,000 pounds,or about 22 million pounds in today's money[1]). An unusual decision was made to maintain the Royal Commission as a permanent administrative body and to use the profits for charitable purposes. Its revised Charter charged the Commission with "increasing the means of industrial education, and extending the influence of science and art upon productive industry".

South KensingtonEdit

The Commission invested The profits from the 1851 Exhibition in the purchase of 86 acres (350,000 m2) of land in South Kensington. The area was then developed as a centre for educational and cultural institutions, often known as "Albertopolis". These include:

The Commission's headquarters are in Imperial College.

Since 1891 the role of the Commission has been to provide postgraduate scholarships for students to study in Britain and abroad. Former recipients of scholarships include 13 Nobel Prize laureates.

The Commission currently has capital assets of more than 76 million pounds and makes charitable disbursement of more than two million pounds a year.

Further readingEdit

  • Hobhouse, Hermione (2002). The Crystal Palace And the Great Exhibition: Science, Art And Productive Industry: The History of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-485-11575-8.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Inflation Calculator". Bank of England. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2012.

External linksEdit