The Great Exhibition was the first in the series of world's fair. It was an exhibition of culture and industry. It was organized by Henry Cole and Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert. It took place in Hyde Park in London, from May to October 1851 and was housed within the famous Crystal Palace which established the highest architectural standard for all later international fairs and exhibitions and became one of the most iconic buildings of the 19th century.
The design of the Crystal Palace was offered to an open competition which produced 248 design proposals, all of them disliked by The Building Committee. Lucky circumstances brought Sir Joseph Paxton idea to Henry Cole. Paxton, known for his glasshouses, proposed a gigantic pre-fabricated building of iron and glass which he promised could be realized on almost impossible schedule, in ten months. Gigantic glasshouse, what a brilliant idea for large gatherings of people before the era of electricity. It was opened on 1 May 1851 and has been attended by over six million people. Nearly 14.000 exhibitors from Britain and the Empire and other countries were presenting over 100.000 objects, inventions and novelties of that time.
The palace skeleton was built of cast-iron columns supporting a network of support beams, and was based on a 7.3m module of pre-fabricated parts. It was built in less than nine months. The building was 124m wide and 562m long and it was a technological and building process invention. The construction was after the event taken down and rebuilt and enlarged between 1852 and 1854 at Sydenham Hill in Upper Norwood, London. Tt was completely destroyed in fire in 1936 after hosting a variety of exhibitions, shows, concerts and football matches.