1811 “To elevate and instruct…delight and amuse”: the Crystal Palace Park

Saturday 09 June 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM

Price for single delegate: £0.00

Tony Woolfenden leads a walk around the Crystal Palace Park to see the remains of Paxton’s great pleasure grounds. His immense glass masterpiece was re-erected at Sydenham in 1854, and our visit is one day short of the 164th anniversary of the ceremonial opening by Queen Victoria. Fire destroyed the Crystal Palace in 1936, and the years since have seen a mix of neglect, decay, destruction, limited conservation and some re-use, plus the creation of the National Sports Centre. Our walk will include: the 1854 Low Level railway station; the Crystal Palace site; the remnants of Paxton’s grand terraces and flights of stairs; reservoirs for his long-gone water features with which he intended to outshine Versailles; Woodington’s 1869 giant bust of Paxton; the cricket ground where WG Grace played; and the 1854 lakeside prehistoric animal models created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Richard Owen. We also hope to visit the astonishing subway, not often open to the public, designed by Charles Barry junior to link the Crystal Palace to the now-demolished High Level railway station. A two-and-a-half mile walk with some steep climbs and long flights of steps, but worth it.


Event code: 1811

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