The Committee's design for a structure to house the Great Exhibition

Sir Joseph Paxton's original sketch on blotting paper of the Crystal Palace. 11 June 1850.

"[Isambard Kingdom] Brunel, Scott Russell and Robert Stephenson were members of the building committee of the big fair. They held a design competition for the main hall and invited the world's architects to submit plans within three weeks. They actually received 245 drawings. None were satisfactory so Brunel drew up a committee plan, featuring a sheet iron dome two hundred feet in diameter. The building was sort of squatly Romanesque with a whiff of Byzantine. At this stage Paxton sketched his gigantic greenhouse. Brunel was its first champion and volunteered to design the great water towers to flank the Crystal Palace." — John Dugan


Dugan, John. The Great Iron Ship. New York: Harpers, 1953.

Priestley, J. B. Victoria's Heyday: 1837-1901. New York: Harpr & Row, 1977, p. 67.

Last modified 31 December 2005