The Great Exhibition of 1851 at the
Crystal Palace in London, acted as a ‘wake-up’ call to
many of our industries. The standard of the foreign
exhibits, in particular the French and German products
was much higher than our own, featuring better design,
and superior workmanship, from a higher skilled
workforce. People quickly realised that something had to
be done to re-address the balance, in order for the UK
to successfully compete with our neighbours.
The more progressive industrial towns and cities in the
UK set about correcting the situation by establishing
schools of art and design, to train, and improve the
skills of craftsmen and women.