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Joseph Paxton


Price: £5.25


By John Anthony (one of the Shire Lifelines series).

Joseph Paxton is best known as the designer of the Crystal Palace, built to house the Great Exhibition held in Hyde Park in 1851, and the later Crystal Palace at Sydenham which survived until burnt down in 1936. But he had many more achievements to his credit in the course of an incredibly varied career. Born in humble circumstances, he became head gardener to the sixth Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth at the age of 23 and rapidly became not only the leading horticulturist of the day but also the trusted confidant of the Duke.

His experiments in the design of glasshouses were to lead to the greatest glasshouse of all in Hyde Park. He wrote extensively, took a leading part in founding a national daily newspaper, was prominent in promoting railways, designed a number of public parks and was the architect of a large number of conventional buildings. He was MP for Coventry for eleven years, organised a civilian works corps to help the army in the Crimea and concerned himself with the sewerage and traffic problems of London.

48 pages paperback 31 illustrations.