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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Crystal Palace

In London's Hyde Park in 1851 there took place The Great Exhibition, to exhibit the wonderful new inventions of the Industrial Revolution. The architectural engineer Joseph Paxton designed it, and it contained the wares of 14,000 exhibitors from across the world in its nearly 1 million square feet of exhibition space.

After the Exhibition was over, the huge glass and steel structure was dismantled and moved in an enlarged format to Sydenham Hill in south London. There it became one of the places of amusement for Victorians of all classes. A 12-year-old girl, Daisy Ashford, even wrote a little novel, The Young Visiters (sic) some of which was set there.

It remained an attraction - though somewhat shabbier - till it burned down in 1936. Apparently the flames could be seem from several counties surrounding London, and people came from all around the capital to see what was lighting up the night sky.

Very little remained once the debris was cleared away. One of the water towers (visible in the pictures below) was still standing, but had to be demolished during the Second World War in case it provided a landmark for the Luftwaffe.

Some of the stone terracing still exists in the park, and the statues of dinosaurs which were part of the permanent display decorate the surroundings. The cutting for the railway line which took visitors to the exhibitions is still visible as it disapears into a tunnel in the hillside of the nearby Sydenham Hill Woods. There still is a Crystal Palace railway station, and Crystal Palace football team, keeping the memory of The Crystal Palace alive.

A postcard picture of the full frontage of the Palace.
A closer view from another postcard.

A colour postcard from .a different angle


After the fire of November 20th 1936.
If you'd like to read a bit more, there's an entry on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crystal_Palace

6 comments:

JoJo said...

Wow that's wicked cool!!! I can see why BC's Parliament reminded you of this. Pity about the fire though.

Beverly said...

Thank you for sharing a piece of London history with us Val. Such a shame to lose such a impressive piece of architecture.

havers said...

I read a historian book about Queen Victoria's life from Cynthia Harrod-Eagles where the Cristal Palace took a big role. Very impressing building.

Diane said...

I always wondered why no effort was ever made to rebuild it, but I guess we were broke at the time. Nothing changes!!!

Tess said...

It was beautiful.

SnarkAngel said...

Such a shame that such a beautiful and historical piece of architecture was lost to fire. That really must have been some blaze!

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