The Crystal Palace, Sydenham, conjures up memories of the great Victorian architects and engineers. Brunel, Gilbert Scott, and Paxton to name a few.
Paxton was the architect for our subject here today, the once glorious Crystal Palace. As we know, the original Palace was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park. It was a great success, having had six million visitors in only six months pass through its doors.
Because of its success it was decided that after the exhibition closed, it would be rebuilt, and Sydenham was the chosen district. Showcasing the great achievements of the British Empire, including design, engineering etc, it was at first a commercial success. A large park was designed that included places of relaxation, entertainment, sport and education.
Many attractions came and went. The FA Cup final was held here for nearly twenty years, the world’s first Grand Prix circuit went around the outskirts of the park for fifty years, and true to scale dinosaurs still guard the lakes at the Penge end of the park, and there was even a hydraulic railway!
These are just a few of the attractions that Crystal Palace had/has to offer, and on this stroll around the park, Ade will enlighten you on numerous amazing, strange and ‘very’ Victorian attractions. Unfortunately the Palace itself burnt down in 1936, which in itself was a sight to see, as the huge structure lit up the South London sky.
Fortunately the park still retains much of its original history, and is a very atmospheric place to visit with some of the original statues still in place, and stand ghost like in their loneliness.
So, come with Ade and meander around this fascinating green space south of the river, as this stroll certainly has lots to offer history buffs.
As a final point, rather than call myself ‘a guide’, I’d rather be known simply as a bloke who has done a bit more research into an area of London than the average Joe! I won’t wear a costume, read from a script etc, I will however just babble on about stuff that I’m deeply passionate about, and hope that you will be also.
Think of me as a mate who shares your interest in London’s rich history, and a fella you’d like to have a pint with. I don’t want to give you a history lesson but if you want a “guide” that digs deeper, then I think I’m your man.
Take a stroll with Ade, a qualified London Borough Guide
Walk takes about 2.5 hours.
£10 on the day.