A virtual tour has been released to while away the lockdown hours that lets you wander around the Hyde Park’s Crystal Palace — home to the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The Royal Parks partnered with the educational virtual reality company, Seymour & Lerhn, to create the first virtual tour of the historic building as it was before it was dismantled and moved to Norwood in South London.

The Crystal Palace was a marvel of its time when it opened in Hyde Park in May 1851. It was an enormous structure constructed from glass and cast iron, measuring around 563m by 138m, and 39m high. The giant building hosted the thousands of global exhibits of The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, the brainchild of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, to celebrate the industrial technology and design of the Victorian age, showcased to more than six million people.

Now, using a combination of CGI and 360 photography which overlays the historic building onto the present-day site, visitors can switch between then and now.

The building was regenerated digitally using The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851’s archive of plans and images, as well as The Royal Parks’ historical documents such as old maps.

The Royal Parks was the winning entry to a competition set by Seymour & Lerhn which invited organisations to put forward proposals for a virtual reality education resource and built the virtual reality tour of The Crystal Palace as the competition prize.

The Royal Parks says that they will seek funding to further develop the project by populating The Crystal Palace with the artifacts of The Great Exhibition.

The tour is here, and more background is here.


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  1. Nick says:

    Amazing feat of construction and on a massive scale . I always wondered what caused such a huge fire the it was made from iron and glass… but then I noticed those wooden floors!

    • ianvisits says:

      Solid heavy wood floors are exceptionally difficult to set on fire – it would have been the fixtures and fittings inside that did the damage and only when the heat got high enough could the floor have started to burn.

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