Contrary to current
popular opinion Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha did not single-handedly
organize the first Great Exhibition in London 150 years ago.
He was, however, convinced of the great possibilities and the
value of exhibitions. For this reason he enthusiastically supported
the realisation of the World Exhibition. Prince Albert played
a decisive role in getting together politicians, scientists,
entrepreneurs and foreign governments and in convincing them
of the idea of a Great Exhibition of all nations in London.
He helped to unify the forces of tradition - the monarchy and
the aristocracy - with contemporary forces - industry, technology,
the middle and the lower classes - in the idea of a World Exhibition:
science and the arts were to be brought to large parts of the
population. The Great Exhibition was conceived as the beginning
of a long-term and ambitious strategy. In this context a number
of lectures were given which were published in two volumes in
Volume 20 of the
Prince Albert Studies, The Great Exhibition and its Legacy,
takes up the underlying idea of those publications and deals
with the legacy of the Great Exhibition, particularly with the
question in how far it was possible to realise the original
intentions. In the twentieth year after its founding, the Prince
Albert Society was able to gather distinguished experts from
Great Britain, Germany and Overseas for a conference together
with the Victorian Society and the Royal Society of Arts.
The 28 essays collected
in this book deal with the following subjects: aspects of cultural
history, the history of the Royal Society of Arts, the relationship
between science and the economy, the political and social context,
the German contribution, architecture and the legacy and reception
("1851 - 2001").