to map above:-
Grand Central Walk:
Originally 2,660ft long, 96ft wide and
linking up to the Palace building, the Grand Centre Walk now only extends up to the steps of the
National Sports Centre. During the Festival of Empire in 1911, three-quarter size
replicas of all the principal Parliament buildings were reconstructed at this
point on the Walk.
2. Old Cricket
late 19th century building stood on this site until 1960. It was used by the
famous cricketer Dr WG Grace (1848-1915), who would walk over to play his
matches from his home, ‘Parklands’, sited on Crystal Palace Park
Road. Dr Grace was player and manager of the London County Cricket Club based at
Crystal Palace: This
timber structure and ship’s bell, originally sited on the lower terrace, became affectionately known as ‘HMS
Crystal Palace’ when it was occupied by 125,000 men during the First World
War. A tablet records its unveiling by the then Prince of Wales in 1931.
Rammell opened an experinlental 600-yard pneumatic or air-powered
passenger-carrying railway between the Sydenham and Penge entrances. It was
operated by a steam engine, which blew or sucked
the train along the track. The 50-second journey cost 6d (old pence) and
the single carriage held a maximum of 35 passengers.
5. The Vale:
A former Neo-Gothic villa named ‘The Vale’
occupied this site from 1880 until it was demolished and became overgrown after
1977. In an attempt to recreate its former grandeur, the railings have been put back
and the frontage walls re-built using most of the original bricks.
Until 1973, the former motor-racing circuit was used by such greats as
Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and many others. In 1927, the first motorcycles
raced around the pathways of Crystal Palace and, in 1953, a new Crystal Palace
circuit was reopened for motor racing.
This is where the first ever F.A Cup Final was held
in 1895. In addition to the Cup Finals, the Palace played host to
England-v-Scotland Internationals played every four years from 1897.
The Crystal Palace Park circular Tea Maze
is not only London’s largest maze, but also one of the biggest in the country,
being 160ft in diameter and occupying a total area of nearly 2000 square yards. It
has been fully rebuilt by the London Borough of Bromley as an exact replica of
the original that fell into disuse during the Second World War.
This area of the park was used as part of the
Pageant of London during the Festival of Empire in 1911. The natural
amphitheatre created by the landform has excellent acoustic properties. There is
an original statue from Crystal Palace in front
of the terrace wall, which depicts
'Dante’, the Italian poet.
Fireworks and Fun:
This was known as the Italian Gardens and was the
scene of many a spectacular display of fireworks. The first display took place in 1865 and
continued up until 1936, becoming world renowned by the turn of the
twentieth century. The current-day fireworks are centred around a grand November
5th public display in aid of charity.
This repository for an orange grove,
known as the Orangery, was constructed in 1854 as an annexe to the North
Wing. The structure was
finally demolished in the early 1950’s. The original wall to the Orangery can
still be seen, the archway being part of an entrance into the greenhouse area.
Donated by public subscription and unveiled at a
Fete in June 1873, this was to mark the 20th year of the Palace and to show
appreciation for the master architect. The bust originally looked towards the
Palace building over the central pool (now the car park) but has been re-sited
and turned to survey the park.
The retaining wall, steps and other features of both
upper and lower terraces survive largely intact and are Grade II listed. There
were statues on each of the plinths depicting the national dress from countries
of the Empire, of which one remains intact. The Sphinxes on the Upper
Terraces were copied from an Egyptian original in the Louvre and are made of a
The South Nave housed the Natural History Exhibition
and the splendid "Screens of the Kings and Queens of England". One of
the original statues from Crystal Palace (a nymph) now sits where the
magnificent Follett Osler’s Crystal Palace Fountain once stood. Thhis was 27 feet
high and made of 4 tons of the best quality glass.
The museum is situated in the former Crystal Palace
School of Engineering, established in 1872 and the only building left after the fire
of 1936. Outside the museum, alongside the base of Brunel’s 284ft water tower,
original 1852 column. The Crystal Palace Museum, run by an independent trust, is
only open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 2.00 - 5.00pm.
Level Railway Station:
The line and station were specifically built for the
visitors to the Palace and grounds, and were opened on the 10th June 1854. The Crystal Palace look-alike station
operationally replaced the old building in 1986.
Basin Pool-Water Features:
The South Basin Pool, which now houses flamingos, is
the last surviving element of Paxton’s extensive water displays. The area of
the National Sports Centre to the left was where the lower basin was situated.
The water basins supported two 250ft high fountains and, originally, there were over
100 miles of underground pipes using 120,000 gallons of water per minute
supplying 11,788 individual jets.
As part of the Victorians’ love of Education, this
area of the park was reserved for ‘Geology and Inhabitants of the Ancient
World’. The original cliffs included mountain limestone, millstone grit,
ironstone and new sandstone. To the left was a model of a Derbyshire lead mine,
complete with pipe veins, rake veins and stalactites and with life-size models of
Irish Elks above the entrance.
The prehistoric monsters, 33 in total, were built in
1854 under the guidance of Professor Richard Owen, who invented the word ‘dinosaur’.
These first-ever full-size dinosaurs were created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, an expert on geology and extinct animals,
who constructed the models based on fossils kept in the British Museum. It
is now known, however, that many errors were made, especially in Owen’s
masterpiece, the Iguanodon. The Iguanodon's rhinoceros-type horn located on the
its nose was, in fact, a kind of spiky thumb.
Constructed as the lower reservoir, the boating lake
was also known as the ‘Tidal Lake’. When Paxton’s full system of
waterworks was in operation, the level of the lake was subject to great changes,
being low when water was drawn off to feed the fountains and high when the water
was returned. People still enjoy the use of the boating lake
to the present day.