A Trip To The Crystal Palace
One day our Time Traveller, George, having read so much about the Great Exhibition of 1851 decides that he wishes to visit the event himself. He takes two weeks leave in the summer of 1996. He is only going to visit for one day but there is much work to do before then.
Firstly he finds out about the clothes that were worn and hires out the correct attire for a middle class Victorian Gentleman of the early 1850's from a costume hire shop. Next he manages to obtain some old coins having visited many Collectors Fairs and Antique Dealers always checking to make sure that they were all minted before 1851. In the course of his visits he also picks up a watch and chain, a writing pen and a walking stick.
George's research has shown that the Exhibition was always very crowded so he had decided to go on one of the more expensive days and choses a Saturday when the admission price was 5 shillings. This was a great deal of money then but not to George who had accumulated some £5 worth of coins in various denominations.
When the day finally came for the trip George put all the Victorian clothes and things in the boot of his car together with his Pocket Wormhole Creator and set off very early for Hyde Park. He arrived before light and changed into his clothes in his car. He kept out of sight as his clothes would look out of place in 1996. Leaving the car he moved well into the park behind trees he knew from his research were there in 1851. He set his Pocket Wormhole Creator for the correct date. The hole appeared and he stepped through. Now he sat and waited for the dawn which all going well would herald one June Saturday in 1851. Time passed.
As the sun rose it was clear that the trip had worked from the sound of horses hoofs on the roads outside the park. George got up and as he came out from the trees he was greeted by the most magnificent sight he had ever seen - The Crystal Palace. The sun glinted off the glass. There were acres of the stuff.
George slowly walked around the building trying to take it all in. 1848 feet long, 408 feet wide, 63 feet high and 108 feet at the Transept. Finally after some time George arrived at the principal entrance on the south side. He stood there in awe and wonder at seeing such a fantastic sight at first hand. After a while more people started to arrive and he joined them as they queued to get in. Sure enough he was asked for 5 shillings as he went through one of the pay booths which he duly gave up receiving quite an impressive ticket in return. This was certainly something to keep. He put it carefully in his wallet. With his Pocket Wormhole Creator carefully hidden in his pocket George was glad that this was too early a time for metal detectors . That would have been difficult to explain.
If he thought the outside was impressive then the inside was even more so. George quickly moved to as close to the centre of the building as he could get. The roof of the Transept was so far away and he could just make out either end of the building as he looked down the Central Aisle. Luckily he could get a fairly good view of the building as it was still early and there were few visitors. This soon changed as the building began to fill up with thousands of people. He noticed that it was quite noisy with all this glass for the sound to reflect off. The building really was like a Cathedral!
And now for the exhibits. This would be interesting seeing state-of-the-art 1851. George saw all kinds of machinery - agricultural, railway locomotives, printing presses. Not a gaurd in site - Health and Safety would have a field day he thought. George got into conversation with a few of the men exhibiting. It was interesting hearing how they saw the future knowing what he did. He moved on to see the works of art from around the world and the Koh-i-noor diamond. Wow that was a big gem! Finally he arrived in the Mediaeval Court which had been arranged by A.W.Pugin. There was a great deal of work here in such a small area and it was dimly lit which seemed to add a certain mystique to the objects.
George continued around the exhibition looking not only at the exhibits and the building but at the visitors. It was difficult to take it all in. Finally the crowd began to thin out as the visitors began to go home. George stayed as long as he dared but did not want to draw too much attention to himself by being one of the last to leave. He took the long way around the building back to the trees. He took one last look at the building before moving into the trees where he waited for the sun to go down. When it was dark he took out his Pocket Wormhole Creator and switched it on. The hole appeared and he stepped through back into 1996. Sure enough he was back in the twentieth century. There was his car and there was a parking ticket on the windscreen. Typical thought George - 5 shillings to visit the exhibition and £12 for parking. Well that's inflation for you!
Naturally with the above story there has been some artistic license, like the Pocket Wormhole Creator for example. It might seem a little unlikely to us today but then perhaps travelling across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound seemed unlikely to the Wright brothers or being able to telephone Australia while standing in the Grand Canyon might have seemed unlikely to Alexander Graham Bell.
What I have tried to show is a possible trip to a different time which has little effect on History. George was just another visitor. A face in the crowd. He didn't try to influence the future in any way. By researching the time and place he was visting he was able to blend in with the other people that were there. Further examples at this site will show that when the time traveller stands out or tries to effect the future then this is where the problems begin.
If this type of time travel is possible then the trips are endless. Imagine going back in time just to see famous events that took place. The question what are you doing this weekend takes on a completely different meaning.
I'm going to see the launch of Apollo 11.
I'm going to see the Games at the Colluseum.
I'm going to hear Mozart play.
I'm going to see the first performance of Hamlet.
I'm going to see the opening of the Forth Bridge.
I'm going to see the launch of the Apple II...
The list is endless.
In the above story George was away for only one day choosing to spend a Saturday in 1851 instead of 1996 but with this type of time travel it would be possible to spend longer away in the past. Now you could leave the office on Friday night and spend six months away crossing the Alps with Hannibal before returning to the office on the following Monday morning. Sure you would be six months older rather than two days but what a holiday!
Please return to the Contents Page below to continue....
DISCLAIMER: All remarks at this site are strictly my own and have not been written deliberately to offend. Neither is it my intention to misinform. If you have any comments or remarks to make on any of the pages at this site whether they are regarding mistakes, inaccuracies, out-of-date links or anything else then please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Edwards - December 1996