Subscribe to Sue

Ratings Made Easy

Ratings Guide Made Easy

Design and Desire: The Great Exhibition of 1851

ex -


Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron,


Tel : +44 01952 884391

Visit website
send a message


A new free exhibition at the Coalbrookdale Gallery, adjacent to Enginuity near Ironbridge, aims to bring the excitement and intrigue of the Great Exhibition of 1851 to life. Open Monday to Friday from 10am until 5pm, Design and Desire: The Great Exhibition of 1851 will use objects and images, including prints and paintings from the Elton Collection, to tell the story of how it became one of the most influential and renowned events of the 19th century, breaking class boundaries and laying the foundations for a century of invention and modernity. Opening on 21st March 2016, it will run until 24th February 2017 (10am-5pm, Monday to Friday).

The Great Exhibition of 1851 was the first international show of manufactured products. Organised by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, it was held in the revolutionary glass and iron 'Crystal Palace' in London’s Hyde Park. After its closure many of the exhibited objects were used as the first collection for the South Kensington Museum which opened in 1857, and later became the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Rather than focus solely on the 100,000 plus objects displayed from the British Empire and around the world, this display will also consider The Great Exhibition’s impact on the popular imagination of the time. It will explore the reaction to the event in popular periodicals, prints and caricatures, its social and economic impact, and the ways in which the event was commercialised in the form of souvenirs. Additionally it will show the process of its creation and colossal design and explore what it would have been like to visit such a wondrous spectacle 165 years ago.

For further information, contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).

Upcoming Events

Recent News



By Road

From junction 6 of the M54 take the A5223 south towards Ironbridge.

Pass turning for Cherry Tree Hill on the left.

Turn left onto Jiggers Bank.

Finish on the right at Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron.

By Public Transport

FromTelford Centralstation it is5 milestoCoalbrookdale Museum of Iron.

ex -
ex -

Design and Desire: The Great Exhibition of 1851 facilities include:

    Design and Desire: The Great Exhibition of 1851 accessibility includes:

    Contact - Design and Desire: The Great Exhibition of 1851


    I would like receive details of future offers and events that may be of interest to me.

    Nearby and Related Items

    Darby Houses (Ironbridge)This image is copyrighted

    Darby Houses (Ironbridge)

    In the Darby houses, Dale House and Rosehill House, you can delve in to the everyday life of Quaker families.

    Coalport China MuseumThis image is copyrighted

    Coalport China Museum

    At the Coalport China Museum you can see the vibrant National Collections of Coalport and Caughley.

    The Tar TunnelThis image is copyrighted

    The Tar Tunnel

    Dare you enter this narrow, dimly lit tunnel to see a geological curiosity, where bitumen still oozes through the walls. Don't forget to pick up your hard hat!

    EnginuityThis image is copyrighted


    At Enginuity you can turn the wheels of your imagination, test your horse power and discover how good ideas are turned in to real things.

    Coalbrookdale Museum of IronThis image is copyrighted

    Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

    Here iron is the business, take a look at the pioneering spirt and revolutionary thinking that made the Gorge the silicon valley of it time.

    Annual UnChained Pass

    Black Country Living Museum

    Tudor World

    Heart of England Map view

    West Midlands map

    Looking for inspiration? use the Heart of England map to search for ideas

    Tourist Information

    Tourism Information

    Destination Brochures

    Tourism Information