The Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Crystal Palace which housed it together became a British icon, a symbol of free trade, and a national success funded not only by taxes but by public subscription. Though the Palace itself was banished to Sydenham, to leave Hyde Park free for Londoners, the Commission was re-invented under Prince Albert to spend the profits for the advancement of British industry. The Commissioners first established South Kensington with its Museums and Colleges of Art and Science, the Albert Hall and the Royal College of Music, and then moved into the training of scientists and artists. They assisted in the expansion of the British School at Rome, and for over a century 1851 Scholars have been contributing to British scientific discoveries.This book celebrates 150 years of the Commission's work, fired by the "application of art and science to productive industry", a story of some success and permanent record, yet a pilgrimage not without its episodes of dissension and controversy.
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About the Author
Hermione Hobhouse was educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she read Modern History. By profession she is an urban historian and architectural journalist, and latterly a senior civil servant working for the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England. She taught at the Architectural Association School in London from 1973-1978 and has lectured extensively on London town planning and urban history, Victorian architecture, and on Prince Albert, in England, the United States and South Africa. From 1976-1982 she was Secretary of the Victorian Society. She has written several books on London and managed and contributed to the Survey of London, of which she was General Editor for eleven years from 1983, retiring in 1994. She is a member of the Council of the National Trust, a former Commissioner of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, an Honorary Vice-President of the Council of the Royal Albert Hall, an Honorary Fellow of the research department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.