1856 - 1862

Estate plan of the lands purchased by the 1851 Commissioners

Estate plan of the lands purchased by the 1851 Commissioners, c.1856

Reproduced by kind permission of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

Plan of the Kensington Gore estate c.1862

Plan of the Kensington Gore estate, c.1862

Reproduced by kind permission of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

 

After the huge success of the Great Exhibition the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851| which organised the event found themselves in charge of a profit of £186,000. As President of the Commission, Prince Albert sent a memo in August 1851, explaining what he thought they should do:

'[the] surplus money should be used to buy land, rather than to keep to the original intention of funding future exhibitions…

...I would buy that ground and place on it four institutions corresponding to the four great Sections of the Exhibition: Raw Material, Machinery, Manufactures & Plastic Art. I would devote these Institutions to the furtherance of the industrial pursuits of all Nations in these four divisions.' (1)

1856

The commissioners followed the Prince Consort's advice. The map of c.1856 shows the land which was then bought with some of the profit. The remaining surplus was used to set up an educational trust to provide grants and scholarships for industrial research, which continues today.

The green areas of the map show the four estates which made up the commissioners' new plot, most of which used to be the Kensington Gore estate. This was very close to the site that was used for the Great Exhibition, as noted in the top right corner. 

1862

Change took place quickly and just six years later the South Kensington Museum had popped up. The central plot of land was leased to the Horticultural Society, and the bottom section set aside for the International Exhibition of 1862|.

 

(1) 10 August 1851, Royal Archives, F/25/1, quoted in Physick, 'Albertopolis: Prince Albert and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851', 1996, p. 53

 

 

 

 

 

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