After seeing some photos of Crystal Palace park on my friend Graziela’s Facebook, I proposed hubby to take my mum and Laura there (Bea went with us, of course, but she doesn’t care where we go, as long as there’s milk and a place to sleep). It was mid July, hot as Brazil!
We used to go to Crystal Palace, the town, quite a bit when we lived in a neighbour town. The area is nice, not big, but it not only has the park, but also has a Portuguese (A Torre) and a Brazilian (Braziliana Cafe) restaurants. Good enough reason for us.
So, we went to the Brazilian restaurant and then walked to the park. I had forgotten how big it was; my mum wanted to kill me (not really, but she wanted to go back even before getting to the bottom of the park). All I wanted was to visit the Dinosaur court.
* The Crystal Palace was a glass building originally built in Hyde Park in 1851 to host the Great Exhibition.
* An even bigger building was then erected in Sydenham Hill in 1854 and stood there until 1936, when it was destroyed by a fire.
* The rebuilt of the Crystal Palace was opened by Queen Victoria in June 1854.
* The whole area where the “palace” was became known as Crystal Palace, as was the park is where the actual palace was built on.
* There are rumours that a new building is to be erected in the park.
* After being claimed by other boroughs, The Crystal Palace park is now part of the London Borough of Bromley. Hence this post being part of the “Bromley series” of this blog. 😛
The map of the park in 1857
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace
Now, the new photos of Crystal Palace Park. Compare the map below with the map above. On the top of the park, where the Crystal Palace used to be, there is a museum (I haven’t been there yet), and what for me seems a bunch ancient ruins. If you didn’t know the story of the place (because now you know), you would think that the park was completely abandoned (which isn’t entirely wrong) and falling apart.
The map of the shield-shaped park
Photo below: the area where the Crystal Palace was. Some remains of the original building are still there.
This is just a small part of it
Egypt? No, Southeast London.
Some areas of the park are falling apart
The old bits of the Crystal Palace could do with some real restoration
The photo below is the BBC Transmitter (or the Crystal Palace transmitting station). It was built in the 50’s and it is the fourth tallest structure in London (behind The Shard, One Canada Square and Heron Tower). P.S.: We can see the tower from out top floor bedroom window; as an “internal” joke with friends, we say that we live so far away that we can see Paris from here.
You can also see the Italian Terrace in this picture, part of the original Crystal Palace.
The iconic BBC transmitter
The nice bits of the park, in my humble opinion, are further down, with the beautiful roads surrounded by trees, lakes, the maze, playgorund for kids and the dinosaurs area.
And you walk and you walk and walk some more
A green walk
Bouncy castle = summer fun
Chill out area with the children’s playground at the back
Now here is something that was totally new to me. As I said, we used to live in the area (for three years and a bit) and went for walks in the park. I had never paid much attention to the history of the park, as for me, it was just “a park”. I had never seen the Dinos area either. I thought it was a recent thing, but little I knew…
The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were commissioned in 1852 and unveiled in 1854. Yes, you read correctly, they are there since 1854! There were restored, of course, but still… These are the first dinosaurs sculptures in the world! Apparently they are pretty outdated, but who cares? They are from the 1800’s! By the way, these are dinosaurs and other extinct mammals.
There is an audio trail (Darwin and the Dinosaurs audio trail) that can be downloaded online and you can listen to it on your mobile while visiting the place.
Dinos in Crystal Palace
Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace
Another curiosity: the Crystal Palace Football Club field is not located in Crystal Palace, but in Selhurst Park, Croydon (they share the grounds with Wimbledon F.C.). Crystal Palace F.C. was recently “promoted” to the Premier League, for the joy of all of us, Southeasterns. 😉
The National Sports Centre
This post is part of a series of posts of interesting places I visited in the London Borough of Bromley. The posts will be at random, as and when I visit a place we like, it’s worth talking about and I have at least one picture taken by us.
Downe House, Charles Darwin House
Bromley and Keston Common