Newsletter – March 2010

March 9th, 2010 by JCope

The Chairman opened the March meeting by giving details of the plaque to be attached to the war memorial following Don Freeth’s research, the visit to the Morgan factory, the Social and the lunch on the Severn Valley Railway.

The evening’s speaker was John Aitken who enthralled his audience with an account of Prince Albert and the Crystal Palace Exhibition.  Despite a difficult design brief,  Joseph Paxton rose to the challenge and within in month of his initial doodles blueprints has been produced.  There were several local links with the building: the contractor was Fox and Henderson of Birmingham, Chance at Smethwick produced 900,000 square feet of glass and the entrance gates were cast at Coalbrookdale.  John showed us photographs of some of the worldwide exhibits, ranging from household items to huge machines.

The exhibition profit was used to build ‘Albertopolis’, the area of South Kensington containing the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.  The building itself was dismantled and re-erected at Sydenham but was destroyed by fire in 1936.  Sadly, Prince Albert died aged 42 only ten years after the Exhibition.

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