Crystal Palace History

Crystal Palace fire photographs

Crystal Palace fire 1936 - South tower to the rightThese photographs were taken by the Sport and General Press Agency who were located in Fleet Street, London but many of their archives were destoyed in a 1941 bombing raid.

The original photographs are of typically excellent quality and are of quite large size - 285mm wide x 260mm...


Leaving Hyde Park, 1851

The Crystal Palace - 1851 Great Exhibition from Rotton RowWhen the doors of the Great Exhibition closed in October 1851, it had already been agreed that Hyde Park had to be returned to its original state. From that arose the controversial question posed by Sir Joseph Paxton: 'What is to become of the Crystal Palace?' The building had become so popular...


The rebuilding at Sydenham, 1852-1854

Terrace Fountains at the Sydenham Crystal PalaceThe Hyde Park Crystal Palace building was purchased by the Crystal Palace Company for £70,000 (over £3.5 million today) from Fox & Henderson and on 5th August 1852 rebuilding began. During a time of high unemployment the project provided jobs for over 7,000 workmen. On Monday 15th August...


Bankruptcy, 1909

The Crystal Palace - 1909 Knight Frank and Rutley sale documentDisaster and misfortune were always associated with the Palace. The first major disaster was in 1861 when the building was badly damaged in a gale. The first major fire was on 30th December 1866 when the north transept containing among other areas the Alhambra, Assyrian, Byzantine Courts, and...


Disaster strikes, 1936

Crystal Palace fire 1936In 1914 a charitable trust under the control of the Ministry of Education was formed and the trustees hired Henry James Buckland (lately Manager of Harrogate Spa) as the Manager of the Crystal Palace. He was a firm but fair man who had a great love for the Crystal Palace - so much so that he...


Crystal Palace Timeline 1913 - 2005

Crystal Palace Company declared bankrupt

Suggested use of the building as a museum.

Crystal Palace and grounds now run by a charitable trust

November 1927
Suggested use of the gardens as a zoological garden.

December 1927
Suggested use of the grounds as a dog racing...


In Remembrance

In RemembranceOn April 29th 1922 three young children - the eldest not more than seven years old - moved through a huge crowd which had gathered in Upper Norwood. Each child placed three daffodils - the stems covered with brown tissue paper - in memory of their 'Dear Daddy'.

The occasion was the unveiling of...


Raising the first Pillar at Sydenham, 1852

The Crystal Palace - raising the first Pillar at Sydenham 1852The Times 6 August 1852 Page 5 Col. A

At Half-past 2 o’clock the visitors, guided by a programme which had been delivered to them, assembled round the spot where the first pillar of the palace was to be planted; and shortly afterwards a procession advanced, proceeded and marshalled by Mr...


Open again, 1854

The Crystal Palace - open again 1854It was intended to open the building on 1st May 1854 but because of constructional and financial problems it opened over a month late on 10th June. Another significant problem that contributed to the late opening was the fact that dozens of male statues throughout the building had to have their...


Map of Crystal Palace Park 1911

Map of Crystal Palace Park 1911When the Knight Frank & Rutley Sales Catalogue was sold originally it came with a large (40"x50") colour map of Crystal Palace Park in a brown envelope.

The story behind the catalogue and map.
When the Crystal Palace Company was declared bankrupt in 1911 the famous auctioneers Knight Frank...


Change of ownership, 1951

On the 1st August 1951 the Crystal Palace Trust was dissolved and responsibility for Crystal Palace Park passed into the hands of the London County Council and eventually to the Greater London Council. Much work was done by LCC/GLC staff in the Park to maintain the terraces, subway, and...


Raffaele Monti sculpture archive

The Sleep of Sorrow and the Dream of Joy by Raffaele Monti (1818-1881)Raffaele Monti (1818-1881) created many of the sculptures that graced the Crystal Palace and its Park, at Sydenham, and a talent for which he is especially renowned is his ability to convey the illusion of transparency in veiled marble figures.

Above: a stereo photograph from the International...