Welcome to our Archive

Welcome to the on-line catalogue of the Archive of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. The Royal Commission was established in 1850 and was the body responsible for organising the Great Exhibition of 1851 which was held in Hyde Park, London.

The Great Exhibition 1851 was instigated by Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, and attracted exhibits and over 6 million visitors from around the world. It was housed in a vast glass and iron building designed by Joseph Paxton which quickly became known as the Crystal Palace.

After the Exhibition the Royal Commission was granted a Supplemental Charter which enabled it to continue to exist in order to use the substantial profit from the Exhibition to "increase the means of industrial education and extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry".

To this end they purchased an estate in South Kensington and established a series of fellowships and scholarships for advanced study and research in science, engineering, the built environment and design. See www.royalcommission1851.org.uk for further details.

Browse the collection