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The Legacy of the Great Exhibition August 1853

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The success of the Great Exhibition was reflected in a healthy financial profit on the enterprise, which exceeded £200,000, including the sale of the 'crystal palace' itself in 1852. This raised a challenge for the Commission behind the exhibition: how best to make use of this.  Prince Albert wished to pursue the aims of the exhibition, linking the arts and sciences in the cause of public education and inspiration. He supported the purchase of a large plot of land in what was then countryside in South Kensington.

The Prince appears to have developed his thoughts further as to the use of this land by August 1853, when this plan was drawn up. The building marked A was to be the National Gallery, but was eventually used for the Imperial College of Science and Technology, where the 1851 Commission is still based today.  The site marked K is now occupied by the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum now also occupy areas of the Kensington site.