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When designing the roof, structural engineers Ordish & Grover and the Hall’s Architect Major-General Scott RE consulted a team of experts, including those who had built the roofs of St Pancras and Charing Cross Stations in London.
To make sure the 338-tonne iron metal frame could support the weight of 279 tonnes of glazing, a trial erection was carried out on the roof of its manufacturers the Fairbairn Engineering Company based at Ardwick, near Manchester.
After a successful trial in Ardwick, the roof was disassembled and brought to London where its iron girders were attached to the roof’s central elliptical ring one by one.
On 11 May 1869, after evacuating the building, the engineers stood at the top of the scaffolding and knocked the props supporting the dome away; incredibly the dome dropped just 0.8mm before settling into position on the supporting walls of the Hall, where it has remained ever since.
Image is a reproduction of a photograph from the 1860s