International Exhibition of Industries and Arts - London 1862

Industry and Art

May 1, 1862 - November 1, 1862


Following the success of the 1851 World's Fair, the Royal Society wanted to repeat this type of event.

Planning began in early 1858 for such an exhibition, which was theoretically to be held in 1861.
Despite the Italian War of Independence and the crisis, the project continued, albeit with some delay.
As with the first exhibition, a public subscription was held and raised 250,000 pounds sterling, which was used to build the exhibition hall.

As for the venue, the Royal Horticultural Society provided part of South Kensington.
Prince Albert (whose role in the 1851 exhibition was predominant) was seriously ill and could not take an active part in the organisation of the event.

To replace him, another person who had already participated in the first exhibition was chosen, and Earl Granville was appointed chairman of the committee.

It was not until March 9, 1861, that work began on the exhibition centre.
The building, designed by Francis Fowke, was intended to be a successor to the Crystal Palace of the first exhibition in terms of its size, beauty and stature.

After 11 months of work, entrusted to the contractor Kelk & Lucas, the building was finished on 12 February 1862.
Despite the crisis and the death of the Prince on 14 December 1861, the exhibition attracted more than 6 million visitors and generated a small profit, but above all it popularised the technique by presenting numerous innovative objects and inventions.