Her Majesty the Queen has appointed the 12th of May for the opening of the International Fisheries Exhibition, which an influential and energetic committee, under the active presidency of the Prince of Wales, had developed to a magnitude undreamt of by those concerned in its early beginnings.
The idea of an international Fisheries Exhibition arose out of the success of the show of British fishery held at Norwich a short time ago; and the president and executive of the latter formed the nucleus of the far more powerful body by whom the present enterprise has been brought about.
The plan of the buildings embraces the whole of the twenty-two acres of the Horticultural Gardens; the upper half, left in its usual state of cultivation, will form a pleasant lounge and resting place for visitors in the intervals of their study of the collections. This element of garden accommodation was one of the most attractive features at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.
As the plan of the buildings is straggling and extended, and widely separates the classes, the most convenient mode of seeing the show will probably be found by going through the surrounding buildings first, and then taking the annexes as they occur.
THE INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES EXHIBITION, LONDON.
BLOCK PLAN.--A, Switzerland; B, Isle of Man; C, Bahamas and W.I. Islands; D, Hawaii; E, Poland; F, Portugal;
G, Austria; H, Germany; I, France; J, Italy; K, Greece; L, China; M, India and Ceylon; N, Straits Settlements;
O, Japan; P, Tasmania; Q, New South Wales.--Scale 200 feet to the inch.
On entering the main doors in the Exhibition Road, we pass through the Vestibule to the Council Room of the Royal Horticultural Society, which has been decorated for the reception of marine paintings, river subjects, and fish pictures of all sorts, by modern artists.
Leaving the Fine Arts behind, the principal building of the Exhibition is before us--that devoted to the deep sea fisheries of Great Britain. It is a handsome wooden structure, 750 feet in length, 50 feet wide, and 30 feet at its greatest height. The model of this, as well as of the other temporary wooden buildings, is the same as that of the annexes of the great Exhibition of 1862.
On our left are the Dining Rooms with the kitchens in the rear. The third room, set apart for cheap fish dinners (one of the features of the Exhibition), is to be decorated at the expense of the Baroness Burdett Coutts, and its walls are to be hung with pictures lent by the Fishmongers' Company, who have also furnished the requisite chairs and tables, and have made arrangements for a daily supply of cheap fish, while almost everything necessary to its maintenance (forks, spoons, table-linen, etc.) will be lent by various firms.
The apsidal building attached is to be devoted to lectures on the cooking of fish.
Having crossed the British Section, and turning to the right and passing by another entrance, we come upon what will be to all one of the most interesting features of the Exhibition, and to the scientific student of ichthyology a collection of paramount importance. We allude to the Western Arcade, in which are placed the Aquaria, which have in their construction given rise to more thoughtful care and deliberation than any other part of the works. On the right, in the bays, are the twenty large asphalt tanks, about 12 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 3 feet deep. These are the largest dimensions that the space at command will allow, but it is feared by some that it will be found somewhat confined for fast going fish. Along the wall on the left are ranged twenty smaller or table tanks of slate, which vary somewhat in size; the ten largest are about 5 feet 8 inches long, 2 feet 9 inches wide, and 1 foot 9 inches deep.
In this Western Arcade will be found all the new inventions in fish culture--models of hatching, breeding, and rearing establishments, apparatus for the transporting of fish, ova, models and drawings of fish-passes and ladders, and representations of the development and growth of fish. The chief exhibitors are specialists, and are already well known to our readers. Sir James Gibson Maitland has taken an active part in the arrangement of this branch, and is himself one of the principal contributors.
In the north of the Arcade, where it curves toward the Conservatory, will be shown an enormous collection of examples of stuffed fish, contributed by many prominent angling societies. In front of these on the counter will be ranged microscopic preparations of parasites, etc., and a stand from the Norwich Exhibition of a fauna of fish and fish-eating birds.
Passing behind the Conservatory and down the Eastern Arcade--in which will be arranged algae, sponges, mollusca, star-fish, worms used for bait, insects which destroy spawn or which serve as food for fish, etc.--on turning to the left, we find ourselves in the fish market, which will probably vie with the aquaria on the other side in attracting popular attention. This model Billingsgate is to be divided into two parts, the one for the sale of fresh, the other of dried and cured fish.
Next in order come the two long iron sheds appropriated respectively to life-boats and machinery in motion. Then past the Royal pavilion (the idea of which was doubtless taken from its prototype at the Paris Exhibition) to the southern end of the central block, which is shared by the Netherlands and Newfoundland; just to the north of the former Belgium has a place.
While the Committee of the Netherlands was one of the earliest formed, Belgium only came in at the eleventh hour; she will, however, owing to the zealous activity of Mr. Lenders, the consul in London, send an important contribution worthy of her interest in the North Sea fisheries. We ought also to mention that Newfoundland is among those colonies which have shown great energy, and she may be expected to send a large collection.
Passing northward we come to Sweden and Norway, with Chili between them. These two countries were, like the Netherlands, early in preparing to participate in the Exhibition. Each has had its own committee, which has been working hard since early in 1882.
Parallel to the Scandinavian section is that devoted to Canada and the United States, and each will occupy an equal space--ten thousand square feet.
In the northern Transept will be placed the inland fisheries of the United Kingdom. At each end of the building is aptly inclosed a basin formerly standing in the gardens: and over the eastern one will be erected the dais from which the Queen will formally declare the Exhibition open.
Shooting out at right angles are the Spanish annex, and the building shared by India and Ceylon. China and Japan and New South Wales; while corresponding to those at the western end are the Russian annex, and a shed allotted to several countries and colonies. The Isle of Man, the Bahamas, Switzerland, Germany, Hawaii, Italy, and Greece--all find their space under its roof.
After all the buildings were planned, the Governments of Russia and Spain declared their intention of participating; and accordingly for each of these countries a commodious iron building has been specially erected.
The Spanish collection will be of peculiar interest; it has been gathered together by a Government vessel ordered round the coast for the purpose, and taking up contributions at all the seaports as it passed.
Of the countries whose Governments for inscrutable reasons of state show disfavor and lack of sympathy, Germany is prominent; although by the active initiative of the London Committee some important contributions have been secured from private individuals; among them, we are happy to say, is Mr. Max von dem Borne, who will send his celebrated incubators, which the English Committee have arranged to exhibit in operation at their own expense.
Although the Italian Government, like that of Germany, holds aloof, individuals, especially Dr. Dohrn, of the Naples Zoological Station, will send contributions of great scientific value.
In the Chinese and Japanese annex, on the east, will be seen a large collection of specimens (including the gigantic crabs), which have been collected, to great extent, at the suggestion of Dr. Günther, of the British Museum.
It is at the same time fortunate and unfortunate that a similar Fisheries Exhibition is now being held at Yokohama, as many specimens which have been collected specially for their own use would otherwise be wanting; and on the other hand, many are held back for their own show.
China, of all foreign countries, was the first to send her goods, which arrived at the building on the 30th of March, accompanied by native workmen who are preparing to erect over a basin contiguous to their annex models of the summer house and bridge with which the willow pattern plate has made us familiar; while on the basin will float models of Chinese junks.
Of British colonies, New South Wales will contribute a very interesting collection placed under the care of the Curator of the Sydney Museum; and from the Indian Empire will come a large gathering of specimens in spirits under the superintendence of Dr. Francis Day.
Of great scientific interest are the exhibits, to be placed in two neighboring sheds, of the Native Guano Company and the Millowners' Association. The former will show all the patents used for the purification of the rivers from sewage, and the latter will display in action their method of rendering innocuous the chemical pollutions which factories pour into the river.
In the large piece of water in the northern part of the gardens, which has been deepened on purpose, apparatus in connection with diving will be seen; and hard by, in a shed, Messrs. Siebe, Gorman & Co. will show a selection of beautiful minute shells dredged from the bottom of the Mediterranean.
In the open basins in the gardens will be seen beavers, seals, sea-lions, waders, and other aquatic birds.
From this preliminary walk round enough has, we think, been seen to show that the Great International Fisheries Exhibition will prove of interest alike to the ordinary visitor, to those anxious for the well-being of fishermen, to fishermen themselves of every degree, and to the scientific student of ichthyology in all its branches.--Nature.