Cardiff Theosophical Society

206 Newport Road,

Cardiff, Wales, UK, CF24 – 1DL.




Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

1831 -1891


The Great Exhibition

London 1851



The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace


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Meeting with Master Morya


Accounts of H P Blavatsky’s first meeting with Master Morya vary however it is certain that HPB spent most of 1851 in London and that Morya was among a group of Indian Princes in London for the Great Exhibition. One account of the first meeting says that HPB was walking down an unspecified street with her father when she first met Morya and another says she met him in Hyde Park which was the site of the Great Exhibition. Morya was in London for the event and it would be very surprising if HPB and her father did not also visit the Great Exhibition


The Great Exhibition


In 1851 Great Britain was arguably the leader of the  industrial revolution and feeling very secure in that ideal. The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London was conceived to symbolize this industrial, military and economic superiority of Great Britain.  Just representing the feats of Britain itself would have excluded many of the technological achievements pioneered by the British in its many colonies and protectorates, so it was decided to make the exhibit truly international with invitations being extended to almost all of the colonized world.


The British also felt that it was important to show their achievements right alongside those of "less civilized" countries. The prevailing attitude in England at the time was ripe for the somewhat arrogant parading of accomplishments. Many felt secure, economically and politically, and Queen Victoria was eager to reinforce the feeling of contentment with her reign. It was during the mid-1850s that the word "Victorian" began to be employed to express a new self-consciousness, both in relation to the nation and to the period through which it was passing.


The exhibition was also a  triumph for Victoria's German husband, Albert, whom she had married in 1840. Despite outbursts of opposition to Albert by the press the family life of the Victorian court began to be considered increasingly as a model for the whole country. Albert had appreciated the

achievements of Prime Minister Robert Peel's political and military advances and publicly advocated the advancement of industry and science.


These facts began to sway opinion in his favor as respectable foundations of family life and industrial supremacy were becoming rapidly acquainted with the monarchy of Victoria and Albert.  Conceived by prince Albert, the Great Exhibition was held in Hyde Park in London in the specially constructed Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace was originally designed by Sir Joseph Paxton in only 10 days and was a huge iron goliath with over a million feet of glass. It was important that the building used to showcase these achievements be grandiose and innovative. 


Over 13,000 exhibits were displayed and viewed by over 6,200,000 visitors to the exhibition. The millions of visitors that journeyed to the Great Exhibition of 1851 marveled at the industrial revolution that was propelling Britain into the greatest power of the time. Among the 13,000 exhibits from all around the world were the Jacquard loom, an envelope machine, tools, kitchen appliances, steel-making displays and a reaping machine from the United States. The objects on display came from all parts of the world, including India and the countries with recent white settlements, such as Australia and New Zealand, that constituted the new empire. Many of the visitors who flocked to London came from European cities. The profits from the event

allowed for the foundation of public works such as the Albert Hall, the Science Museum, the National History Museum and the Victoria and Albert



This "bigger and better" building was divided into a series of courts depicting the history of art and architecture from ancient Egypt through  the Renaissance, as well as exhibits from industry and the natural world.


 Major concerts were held in the Palace's huge arched Centre Transept, which also contained the world's largest organ. The Centre Transept also

housed a circus and was the scene of daring feats by world famous acts such as the tightrope walker Blondin. National exhibitions were also staged within its glass and iron walls, including the world's first aeronautical exhibition (held in 1868) and the first national motor show, plus cat shows, dog shows, pigeon shows, honey, flower and other shows.


The Crystal Palace itself was almost outshone by the park in which it stood, which contained a magnificent series of fountains, comprising almost 12,000 individual jets. The largest of these threw water to a height of 250ft. Some 120,000 gallons of water flowed through the system when it was in full play.


The park also contained unrivaled collections of statues, many of which were copies of great works from around the world, and a geological display

which included a replica lead mine and the first attempts anywhere in the world to portray life-size restorations of extinct animals, including dinosaurs. Crystal Palace park was also the scene of spectacular Brock's fireworks displays.


After the Great Exhibition closed, the Crystal Palace was moved to Sydenham Hill in South London and reconstructed in what was, in effect, a 200 acre Victorian theme park. The new Crystal Palace park at Sydenham was opened by Queen Victoria on June 10th, 1854.




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Cardiff Theosophical Society

206 Newport Road,

Cardiff, Wales, UK, CF24 -1DL



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