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Papal Aggression page 3

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On the 21st of March, 1850, the Lord Mayor of London gave a splendid banquet at the Mansion House to the chief magistrates of the cities, towns, and boroughs of the United Kingdom, to stimulate, by the friendly intercourse of a dinner, their united interest in the proposed Exhibition. H.R.H. Prince Albert was also his lordship's guest, a chief point of the union being the introduction of these dignitaries to the illustrious projectors of the Exhibition. The hall was specially adorned for the occasion in the most magnificent style, with arms of the countries and corporations, trophies characterising local industry, painted windows, allegorically representing the pacific and commercial influences of the Exhibition, &c. Before the banquet, Prince Albert held a levée in the grand drawing-room of the Mansion House, the Lord Mayor presenting the first magistrates of 202 English cities and boroughs, ten Scotch provosts, and five Irish mayors. The general company included the Archbishop of Canterbury, foreign ministers, leading statesmen of all parties, the Commissioners of the Exhibition, the aldermen, masters of companies, chairmen of committees in Common Council, and some leading gentlemen connected with the City.

The banquet over, His Royal Highness addressed the guests in an admirable speech, in which the tendencies of the age, the modern developments of art and science, the rapid intercommunication of thought, all realising the unity of mankind, were strikingly presented. The Ministers, past and present, the foreign ambassadors, prelates, and peers, vied with each other in expressing the high value they attributed to the design for the Exhibition.

A similar banquet was given by the Lord Mayor of York, when the Prince Consort and the Lord Mayor of London, the Prime Minister, the Earl of Carlisle, and many of the nobility, were present. The Archbishop of York and the High Sheriff of Yorkshire headed the provincial guests, while the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and the Lord Provost of Glasgow appeared as the chiefs of the municipal magistrates. The ancient capital of the North brought forth upon that occasion a gorgeous display of historical memorials. There was a collection of maces, state swords, and various civic insignia belonging to corporate bodies, wreathed with flowers and rare evergreens, through which gleamed the bosses and incrustations of gold on the antique maces that had been wielded by generations of mayors, with the velvet shields and gaudy mountings of gigantic swords of state. Among the ornaments appeared the jewelled, be studded mace of Norwich, presented by Queen Elizabeth. York, on this occasion, surpassed the City of London in the splendour of the banquet; while, with regard to the viands, M. Soyer exerted his genius to the uttermost. The Prince, in returning thanks for his health, paid a beautiful tribute to the memory of the late Sir Robert Peel.

A Royal Commission was appointed to manage the undertaking. Hyde Park was fixed upon as the most appropriate site for the building, and Mr. Paxton, though not an architect, had the honour of furnishing the plan of the Crystal Palace. It was chiefly composed of iron and glass, being 1,848 feet long, 408 feet broad, and 66 feet high, crossed by a transept 108 feet high and also 408 feet in length, for the purpose of enclosing and encasing a grove of noble elms. Within, the nave presented a clear, unobstructed avenue, from one end of the building to the other, 72 feet in span, and 64 feet in height. On each side were aisles 64 feet wide, horizontally divided into galleries, which ran round the whole of the nave and transept. The wings exterior to the centre or nave on each side had also galleries the same height, the wings themselves being broken up into a series of courts each 48 feet wide. The Palace was within 10 feet of being twice the width of St- Paul's and four times the length. The number of columns used in the entire edifice was 3,230. There were 34 miles of gutters for carrying off the rain-water to the columns, which were hollow, and served as water-pipes, 202 miles of sash bars, and 900,000 superficial feet of glass, weighing upwards of 400 tons. The building covered about 18 acres of ground, and with the galleries gave an exhibiting surface of 21 acres, with 8 miles of tables for laying out goods.

The plan was accepted on the 26th July, 1850; and Messrs. Fox, Henderson, and Co. became the contractors, for the sum of £79,800, if the materials should remain their property, they being at the expense of removal; or £150,000, if the materials became the property of the Commissioners. It actually cost £176,030. The first column was fixed on the 26th of September; the contract to deliver over the building complete to the Commissioners on the 31st of December was virtually performed; and on the 1st of January, 1851, the Commissioners occupied the vast space with their carpenters, painters, and various artisans. The Crystal Palace excited universal admiration, from the wonderful combination of vastness and beauty; from its immense magnitude, united with lightness, symmetry, and grace, as well as admirable adaptation to its purpose. And when it was fully furnished and open to the public on the 1st of May, 1851, the visitor felt as if he had entered a fairy-like scene of enchantment, a palace of beauty and delight, such as one might suppose mortal hands could not create. The effect on the beholder far surpassed all that its most sanguine projectors could have anticipated.

The scene never can be forgotten by any one who had the good fortune to witness the opening, on that beautiful May morning, by the Queen and Prince Albert, followed in procession through the building by a long train of courtiers, ministers of state, foreign ambassadors, and civic dignitaries; while the sun shone brightly through the glass roof upon trees, flowers, banners, and the picturesque costumes of all nations, the great organ, at the same time, pealing gloriously through the vast expanse, which was filled by a dense mass of human beings, representing the grandeur, wealth, beauty, intelligence, and enterprise of the civilised world. The number of exhibitors exceeded 17,000, of whom upwards of 3,000 received medals. It continued open from the 1st of May till the 15th of October, altogether 144 days, during which it was visited by 6,170,000 persons, giving an average daily attendance of 43,536. The greatest number in one day (October 8) was 109,760. The greatest number in the Palace at any one time was 93,000, which surpassed in magnitude any number ever assembled together under one roof in the history of the world. The charges for admission were half-a-crown on particular days and one shilling on ordinary days. The receipts, including season tickets, amounted to £505,107, leaving a surplus of about £150,000, after paying all expenses; so that the Exhibition was in every sense pre-eminently successful.

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Pictures for Papal Aggression page 3

Baron Rothschild
Baron Rothschild >>>>
Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace >>>>
Great Exhibition of 1851
Great Exhibition of 1851 >>>>

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