Crystal Place Museum

Actually, Crystal Palace was a massive exhibition cum amusement park in the 19th and early 20th century. Originally, it was located in Hyde Park, London, for about 6 months and attracted around 6 million visitors and was relocated to Sydenham Hill in South West London. The Crystal Palace building was a mammoth glass and iron structure with two majestic towers on either side of the building.  In 1936, the entire structure was razed out by fire. Now, the Crystal Palace Museum holds the remnants of the glorious past.

Camera was allowed only in the entrance room and luckily, there were some interesting pictures and information, including this structural outline of the Crystal Palace.

Railway promotional material...

There were some interesting comments by the elite on this exhibition and here is a few that captured my interest:

  • The park is desecrated by the greatest trash, the greatest fraud, the greatest imposition ever attempted to be palmed upon the people of this country. Col.Sibthorp. MP. 4th June 1850
  • Whether the show will ever be of any use to anybody may be questioned, but of this I am certain nothing can be more successful. The Duke of Wellington May 7th 1851
  • I find I am 'used up' by the exhibition, I don't say there's nothing in it, there's too much. I have only been twice, so many things bewilder one. Charles Dickens, 17th August 1851

Looks like there has been mixed reaction on the entertainment and show business right from those days.

The exhibition displayed the courts of various countries and here is a depiction of a grand Indian Court:

Well, there were some paintings and photographs that captured the fun and entertainment of those days. The first "flying machine" concept was depicted there and it was merely a children's merry go round that we find in any parks. But, the picture had beautifully captured the excitement of the people who were flying on it, as it was their first true off the ground experience.

Above all, what attracted me the most was the passion for preserving the past glories. Now, I understand why only caucasians visit the forlorn museums and archeological sites in India. How often do we try to do this kind of things at home, in India? We too have a very rich heritage, but it is sad that we do not consider spending or learning about our past, which helps us to understand our roots and also appreciate the present day conveniences.

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