P. H. Delamotte Photograph of the Interior of the Crystal Palace

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P. H. Delamotte Photograph of the Interior of the Crystal Palace

After a successful year of housing the Great Exposition, the Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton was disassembled and moved to Sydenham, where it stood for the next 85 years (Hobhouse, 32). The Palace, built for the 1851 World's Fair in London, was an architectural and engineering wonder modeled after the bridge and train shed construction of the mid-nineteenth century. The structure had been designed to be quickly assembled out of prefabricated members and easily rebuilt elsewhere. Its light construction was made possible to use of thin cast iron prefabricated elements combined with wood and a glazed outer shell.

The Crystal Palace housed the most spectacular collection of
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This proposal was opposed by Colonel Sibthorpe, a member of the Metropolitan Police Force who vehemently disapproved of the nature of the Exposition and the preservation of the building as a cultural icon. Knowing it would take some work to save his masterpiece, Paxton began raising money and eventually came up with over 500,000 pounds. He formed a company to purchase the building from its initial builders, the engineering firm of Fox and Henderson. The site selected to re-erect the Palace was 200 acres of wooded parkland on the summit of Sydenham Hill. Rebuilding began in August 1852.

By rebuilding the famous Crystal Palace and making it a permanent symbol of England's success and role in the Industrial Revolution, the government created a cultural icon that would forever stand in testament to the grand nature of the first International World's Fair. A decision was made to alter the original plans and enlarge the structure, making the Sydenham Palace more massive than its predecessor. The most characteristic portion of the Hyde Park structure, the arched transept, was emulated throughout when the whole structure was rebuilt, creating an entirely arched nave and transept system (Hitchcock, 27). These same arched transepts were considered awe-inspiring by the Victorians, who were deep in the Romantic Age and well versed in the eighteenth-century notion of the Sublime. The lunettes

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