The Great Exhibition of 1851 was attended by millions of people, including royalty and all the big names of the day – including Charles Dickens, the famous novelist, although apparently he found it all a little bit much.
Tempest Prognosticator or Leech Barometer
An invention by George Merryweather used live leeches to predict the weather. It worked by keeping twelve leeches inside twelve small bottles inside the device. When the leeches became agitated by an approaching storm they would attempt to wriggle up and out of the bottles, dislodging a piece of whalebone and triggering a small hammer to strike a bell. The
likelihood of a storm could then be predicted by how many times the bell was heard.
Now you have learnt all about our inspiring engineers and the original Great Exhibition it’s time to start thinking about making your own.
When thinking about what a Great Exhibition in your home might look like, always remember Albert’s 3 i’s – innovation, inspiration and ideas!
A Great Exhibition can be whatever you want it to be, but here are a few ideas to get you started…
• Hold an Exhibition in your bedroom, your garden, even a shoebox!
• Create a display about one of our engineers
• Design or make your own own invention
• Conduct an experiment and display the results
• Create an animation about engineering and the environment
• Run a campaign to reduce plastic in your household
• Display posters in your window for the rest of your street
Location, Location, Location!
You may not be able to build your own Crystal Palace but think carefully about where you would want to hold your exhibition – you could hold it in one room, across lots of rooms in your home, in a garden or even design a
new fantasy space!
Prince Albert’s exhibition included exhibits from all over the world. The different exhibits reflected the various skills, materials and resources of each nation. You could even consider how engineering is used to address the different climate issues faced in different countries around the world.
The Victorians were truly amazed by everything they saw at The Great Exhibition. Think about who you could share yours with – you could video call a classmate, or family member and present your exhibition to them.
Think about Curious Crowds when submitting your video entry – the judges will be excited to hear from you!
Engineering a better world
The original Great Exhibition was all about progress, developing technologies and using engineering to tackle problems of the day. Use your exhibition to create innovative solutions to one of the biggest challenges that our world faces today, climate change.
A Lasting legacy
Engineering is all about working to build a better future. The Great Exhibition had a huge and lasting impact and our engineers are working hard today for a better tomorrow. Consider what the impact of your Great Exhibition is, for you, your school and for the planet!
Use whatever comes to mind – string, sellotape – even sausages!