What Did The Victorians Ever Do For Us #crystalpalace

As with Monty Python and the People’s Front of Judeah listing what the Romans missed, so we can often forget the genius of some Victorians.

One such near me was the creation of the Crystal Palace which was reconstructed on the top of Sydenham Hill after its one year in Hyde Park in 1851.

This extraordinary celebration of ingenuity lasted until the 1930s when a fire rendered it rubble.

Today we have a few signs of what was once there..

There’s one small section of the original glasshouse frame

The bust of Joseph Caxton, the designer

The sphinxes

The odd statue

Some terracing…

And the dinosaurs…

But the thing that stands out for me and which was first opened to the public on this day in 1863 was what today would be a concrete tunnel.. a subway connecting the newly built high level railway that was to service the park with the main exhibition hall.

Naturally being Victorians they went totally over the top..

Recently money has been found to restore this entrance into the park.

Hopefully public access will be restored. Meanwhile we have to make do with occasional openings. Still it’s good to know it’s there..

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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23 Responses to What Did The Victorians Ever Do For Us #crystalpalace

  1. I have never been there, but my mother remembered seeing the flames lighting up the sky from their house in north Cheam. I would have loved to have seen Crystal Palace or go back in time to see the Great Exhibition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Me too. How fascinating about your mum. My father says it was one of his first memories when his family moved to Caterham in Surrey in the 1930s seeing the glow on the horizon!!


  2. arlingwoman says:

    I’ve often wished the Crystal Palace had survived as it must have been something to see. The Victorians were ingenious with the industry, invention, scientific discoveries and literature that sprang from them. But I’m mighty darned glad to have been born much later. And those dinosaurs must be fabulous to see in the park. I love that they’re by the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      How very true. Much better to have the science and skills today, even though what they achieved is extraordinary. Just a shame they were also rapacious colonialists at the same time…!


  3. ThingsHelenLoves says:

    I love these traces of the past. That section of glasshouse frame looks a little lost and lonely. I’m a fan of the Victorians, I appreciate a good graveyard and no one has done burial and mourning quite as well as they did.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Oh how true. I’ve visited several of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries around London and it’s terrifying how many Victorians ‘went to sleep’ and ended up in some grandiose mausoleum! I even found my great grandfathers grave in West Norwood, about a mile from where I live!


  4. Thank you for the tour. I hope it opens at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    The Crystal Palace and the park around it must have been stunning – what is left is so impressive!
    Thanks for the tour! I love old places like these – I wish more buildings from the 1893 World’s Fair In Chicago had survived, but that Fair has tremendous history, good and bad, associated with it:


    • TanGental says:

      I read a tremendous murder mystery based around the Chicago world fair. All lit with electricity if I remember right. The Devil in the White City. Based on fact I think.


  6. Elizabeth says:

    I wondered why there was no graffiti until I saw your end comment that it isn’t open most of the time. It is surely lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. L.K. Latham says:

    Knowing the Victorians built the Underground still amazes me. However, until today, I’ve never seen pics of the inside. I’m even more amazed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      It is beautiful. As I understand it the authorities brought over Italian cathedral builders as they understood best how to do these sorts of ornate supports…


  8. willowdot21 says:

    Absolutely it beautiful isn’t it 💜 ,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s astonishing. So want want to see this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Having never been there, I find this fascinating

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      It is extraordinary. Apparently those supports are hollow and hold up the dual carriageway above which is also the entrance to a major bus station so takes a daily pounding with no noticeable signs of distress…

      Liked by 1 person

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