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 track.

30 November 1936
Crystal Palace destroyed by fire.
The Crystal Palace is on Fire! & Crystal Reflections - The Crystal Palace Foundation

December 1936
Edward W. Meyerstein offered £100,000 for the use of the site of the Crystal palace as a convalescent home.

February 1937
Suggested use of the gardens as a national park.

28 September 1937
Horace Parnacott, FRIBA submitted a plan to the Crystal Palace Trustees for a 25,000 seater covered sports stadium, ice rink, exhibition centre, and 300 ft x 160 ft swimming pool. There would also be a 3,000-seat theatre, 8,000-10,000-seat concert hall/conference centre. He proposed retaining the two water towers and constructing two more, all four would be used for water storage and building ventilation. There was proposed to be a large under buildings car park and a ramp connecting it to Crystal Palace Parade. The building would be made of brick or more preferably concrete - but not glass but a large amount would be used and the building would consist of transepts and arches. He hoped the scheme would not interfere with the terraces.

January 1938
Suggested use of the site of the Crystal Palace as a working mens club.

12 April 1938
Metropolitan Playing Grounds Association suggested use of the whole park as a Public Open Space.

2 June 1938
Suggested use of the gardens as playing fields.

1 July 1938
Suggested use of the grounds for small buildings, car park, recreational and reading rooms, dance and concert halls, grassed area and gardens.

8 July 1938
Suggested use of part of the grounds as a 1,000 bed hospital.

December 1938
Suggested use of the grounds as a physical fitness centre.

Refugee and French sailors Holding camp opened in Crystal Palace Park

April 1940
An area north and south of Grand Centre walk used as allotments at a cost of 1/- (5p) a rod.

16 April 1941
North Tower demolished

15 October 1941
The General Manager stated that with the exception of the premises occupied by Cinema Television Ltd. who were engaged on Government work and our own offices etc. The whole of the Crystal Palace Grounds was under requisition as he reported on 16 April 1941 and that no part was available for admission to the public.

January 1942
Croydon Advertiser

"Work is well in hand for a new Crystal Palace to arise on the site of the old. Sir Henry Buckland said that work had already started on the land where the new building was proposed was being built up with rubble from bombed buildings.

It was intended to do away with the slope on which the original Palace stood, to abolish the icy cold draughts for which the Crystal Palace was notorious.

The news was welcomed with open arms in the Advertiser: "The decision will send a thrill of hope through Upper Norwood, which has suffered so grievously of recent years, mainly as a result of the destruction of the Crystal Palace and the heavy raids of last winter".

The construction of a 20th Century Palace would not justify the title "Crystal" perhaps it should instead be called Victory Palace,"

20 January 1943
War Office agreed to pay £4,000 p.a. under section 2(1)(a) of the Compensation (Defence) Act 1939 together with arrears of wages to 31 December 1942 amounting to £2,366,18.11d Trustees would benefit by upwards of £5,000 p a.


The Crystal Palace grounds were left in an appalling condition by the War Department when handed back, said Sir Henry Buckland, General Manager at a meeting of the trustees yesterday.

"The general devastation, which we have suffered," he stated, "would lead one to suppose that our acres had been chosen as the field for the most realistic battle of the war."

"All our equipment, stands, seating and furniture have either been destroyed or removed by the military."

"Not an inch of mahogany has been left in the contents of the buildings. Not a single shelf has been left in any cupboard."

March 1945
(Quoted verbatim in the original context [EXCEPT WHERE SHOWN])

1. The Crystal Palace Trustees and the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (hereinafter called the Promoters) jointly invite Architects and town Planners to submit designs in competition for the layout of the new Crystal Palace and its surroundings. The competition was partly sponsored by the Pilgrim Trust.

2. The Assessors were:

Professor Sir Patrick Abercrombie FRlBA
Dr Charles Holden FRIBA
Mr Alister Macdonald FRIBA
Sir Kenneth Clarke KCB
Mr Lewis Silkin MP
3. The awards were:

First £2, 000
Second £750
Third £500
Discretional merit awards £500
4. No member of the promoting bodies nor Assessors nor any partner, associate, or employee thereof shall compete or assist a competitor.

6. The site comprises about 200 acres of land.

7. The objects of the of competition are to explore the possibilities of development of the site with a view to establishing at an early date the Crystal Palace "... a place for education and recreation and for the promotion of industry, commerce and art... "

9. Since the Promoters will not necessarily be responsible for the later stages of the scheme, they cannot commit themselves as a Condition of the Competition to employ the services of the author of the design placed first. The work of the successful competitor will be placed at the disposal of whatever body may ultimately be responsible for the redevelopment of the site in the hope that they will share the views of the present Promoters as to the merits of the winning design.

17. (d) Advantage is to be taken of the existing levels and general formation but Competitors are invited to exercise their imagination on the layout in order to provide a pleasant and varied assembly of features having a wide appeal to all classes and all interests. The Crystal Palace will cater for various types of activity, recreational and cultural; there will be exhibitions, entertainments, etc., from fun fair to chamber music and full orchestra, and from Punch and Judy show to good opera. It is also intended to continue the firework displays.

17 (f) (ii) Competitors have to bear in mind the subsequent cost of maintaining and heating and lighting the building. The promoters do not have in mind the building of a "glass palace." The upkeep of the old Crystal Palace was costly and the amount of heating required was too excessive for the cubic contents.

18. The Crystal Palace is a centre with a strong character of its own and yet it adapts itself to the needs of all sorts and types of amusement and education. The planning of the various parts and of the flow of traffic must be on the scale to deal with 150,000 SIC [EQUALS 54,750,000 P.A.] persons per day paying to enter the building and grounds.

19. The following accommodation is to be provided at the NW end of the site:-

(a) AMPHITHEATRE to seat 8,000-10,000 designed for entertainments such as Circuses and Boxing Tournaments in Central Arena, or big Music festivals with massed bands or choirs.
(b) LARGE THEATRE (for Opera or ballet), 2,500 seats
(c) SMALL THEATRE, 1,000 to I ,500 seats, also with cinematograph facilities.
(d) Two CONCERT HALLS, one to seat 4,000 persons and the other seat 1,500 persons. The latter to to cinematograph facilities
(e) A self-contained DANCE HALL with facilities for 1,500 persons.
(f) SPORTS HALLS to include:

(i) Large Swimming Pool to take International Water Polo Matches;
(ii) An Ice Skating Rink to take International Ice Hockey Matches;
(iii) A Dance Hall for 1,500 persons;
(iv) Accommodation for indoor games such as Badminton, Bowls, Squash, Fives, etc.;
(v) Hall for gymnastic displays
(vi) Suitable Lavatory Accommodation and Snack Bar refreshments.
(g) A suite of STATE ROOMS for the reception of distinguished visitors placed in a commanding position
(h) ADMINISTRATION OFFICES with a total floor area of 10,000 square feet, to comprise General Managers Offices with Conference Room adjoining, Secretarial Offices, Cashiers Department, Accounts Department, Advertising department, Engineers Department and General Offices.
(i) And most important, the provision of space for EXHIBITION HALLS in a central commanding position. Competitors are asked to provide as much space as is possible within the area at their disposal having in mind the full accommodation requirements. This space must be capable of sub-division into large and small sized areas, to house great events such as the British Industries Fair, or a whole series of small Trade or Livestock shows. These buildings should be low and feature Roof Gardens.
j) Various types of RESTAURANTS seating in all up to 3,000 persons. Competitors should bear in mind the diversity of interests and different types of exhibitions attracting persons to the Crystal Palace. The restaurants should be well spread about, some serving full meals, others light snacks only. Licensed bars and buffets must be included but no details need be shown. Restaurants leading onto broad expanses of terrace or flat roofs overlooking the Grounds should be a great asset. Provision should also be made for about four private small suites for dining.

20. The following buildings and accommodation must be provided within the park area:

(a) STADIUM to accommodate 100,000 spectators
(b) An AMUSEMENT CENTRE, preferably in the public park
(c) BOATHOUSES, etc.
(d) Additional RESTAURANTS
(e) Additional LAVATORIES
21. The Assessors are not asking for detailed plans of any of the buildings. They wish to see a general layout of co-ordinated buildings. They envisage groups of buildings, which can easily be converted (temporarily) for a variety of uses. It should be possible in a scientific and an architectural manner to utilise movable screens false ceilings and enlarge or decrease the size of auditorium or exhibition space without detracting from a well balanced main group of buildings.

22. At least six entrances to the group of buildings each direct from the street, will be necessary and other entrances to the grounds will be required to cope with the crowds. The relation of these entrances with the adjoining roads must be studied and suggestions made for traffic connections, but Competitors are not required to consult the highway authorities.

It must be borne mind that central control of crowds is essential and no opportunity for unauthorised entry should be allowed to arise. It may be necessary on special occasions to "enclose," in whole or in part, the main buildings and terraces so that visitors there are self-contained and the other crowds do not mix with them.

23. Non-return exits must be liberally spaced around the grounds

24. Ample provision with easy ingress and egress must be made for car parking. This is as far as possible to be out of sight and must be contained within the boundary of the site.

25. The existing Water Tower [THEY MEAN THE WATER TOWER THAT USED TO STAND BESIDE THE RESERVOIR SITE] must be considered in relation to the main buildings and must be shown along with the main elevation of the buildings. The Water Tower may be enclosed. The swimming Pool and its appropriate buildings might provide an effective link between the Water Tower and the main buildings.

26. Competitors are required to place within the 200 acres a portion 70 acres SIC in extent, which is to remain open free as a public park. Free access to the remaining 130 acres must of course be prevented, but it is hoped that the whole 200 acres will not be unduly divided into two obviously separate sections.

27. The Tarmac-racing track is not to be retained for racing, but parts of it may be retained and adapted for other use at the discretion of the Competitor. ,"

28. The Southern Railway is prepared to co-operate should a Competitor feel that the Anerley Road entrance [THEY MEAN CRYSTAL PALACE STATION ROAD] should be enlarged to suit his layout.

29. Neither the Maze or any existing building need be retained, [WHAT IS MEANT IS THE COTTAGE YARD COMPLEX. BANDSTAND, RNVR MEMORIAL AND THE RESIDUE OF THE FESTIVAL OF EMPIRE BUILDINGS] but the grounds must be attractive and full of interest to visitors.

3 May 1946
by the Minister of Town and Country Planning
AT THE LCC Westminster
ON May 3rd 1946
Chairman: The Rt. Hon. The Lord Ammon.

The Rt. Hon. Lewis Silkin, MP [MINISTER OF TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNlNG] and Sir Kenneth Clark, KCB

THE RT. HON. THE LORD AMMON said: "The assessors and promoters in response to an invitation published in March 1945 received 57 designs. In their report the assessors state: we have adjudicated on the whole of the designs submitted in making the award. We would emphasis that in inviting competitors to design the general layout of the grounds and the grouping of the specified buildings that it was the desire of the Arts Council in cooperating with the competition to give encouragement to the art of architecture. For this reason, we had hoped that the excellence of the layout of the grounds would be combined with equal merit in architectural treatment of the main buildings. We found however that we have had to make our award primarily on the general layout.

The First prize was won by Herbert Jackson, FRlBA and Reginald Edmonds, FRIBA of New Street, Birmingham (Design No. 79)
The Second prize to Eric Lyons, LRIBA and Roy Christy, ARIBA of East Molesley, Surrey (Design No. 19)
The Third prize to Messrs Johnson and Lanchester and Lodge of Woburn Square, we (Design No. 63)

Other designs received offer solutions that are remarkable for their variety and ingenuity from the re-erection of the old Crystal Palace complete to the enclosure of all their in a modern pyramid.
We feel that the following designs are worthy of special attention:
A Fourth prize to Edward Forshaw and Greaves of Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent (Design No.20)
A Fifth prize to Mr A 0 Connell of Mulberry Walk, Chelsea (Design No. 80)

Honourable Mention awarded to Major A G Evans and Francesco Caltagirone of Rome. (Design No. 13)"

After the awards ceremony LORD AMMON went on to say that, the competition was the idea of Sir Henry Buckland who encouraged Lord Keynes to make the arrangements for the competition. He said" The results you have heard just now, and I am hoping that we shall not have to live very long before we see them embodied materially in order to provide a meeting place for recreation, for music and culture for the mass of the people. That I know is the ambition of all the Trustees and that it shall not be cheap and tawdry; their real desire that it shall be the centre of culture-if it is not it would be a real calamity. In that connection I think that we can add that we are taking part here in the inauguration of what I hope is going to have a great effect on the national life of the country."

SIR KENNETH CLARK said "The old Crystal Palace was a symbolic building; it implied I believe peace, prosperity and industry, and it implied a belief in the popular appreciation of the arts. It was the first time that the mass of people were able to enjoy all the arts on a large scale. Now, it is I think in all our minds that the new Crystal Palace should be symbolic of the new era of peace, prosperity and industry and a proper appreciation of the arts. I believe people have learned that there is a new form of enjoyment, not subject to the laws of diminishing returns - if I may say that to an economist. This is one of the main things in this new great building, that it will give enjoyment. Indeed the new Crystal Palace must be a place where people can enjoy themselves - the Trustees too - and one of the ways we can do this is by the provision (and this is the Trustees concern) of halls, theatres and similar buildings where the arts can be practised and displayed. There will also be, of course, a large exhibition hall ".

SIR KENNETH CLARK continued by saying" As your Chairman has said when Lord Keynes, with extraordinary vision took on this scheme, and commended it to the Arts Council, he had hoped and persisted in the hope that we might be doing something to encourage the art of architecture. With that in mind, he went into the scheme. Plans had to be slightly modified in the interests of the profession and our final conditions laid practically no stress on the art of architecture but laid stress on the imaginative use of the grounds. They stressed the layout and not the beauty. That was in some ways disappointing to us, because the old Crystal Palace was a remarkable piece of art, as you know. It was however a great pioneer work in our history of art and we all hoped the new Crystal Palace would be the same. I must be truthful and say that we have not awarded the prize to a great pioneer work or to a great masterpiece of architecture. A number of pioneer works of architecture were sent in, utilising all the new contrivances of modem construction but they were not workable. The strange fact is that the functional buildings sent in looked rather nice but did not fulfil their functions, while buildings on the beaux arts principles did not look quite so nice but were functional. I would go further and say that we have got a masterly layout in its simplicity and grasp of the essentials and that we can go forward and build with perfect confidence. By the time, it comes to putting it up who knows what we shall have to come in our feeling for modem design in elevation [SIC]. SO I think as I say the Trustees are to be congratulated on having got a thoroughly workable building".

THE RT. HON. THE LORD AMMON said: "I did object to one of the architects, in my ignorance, that it appeared quite impossible to combine elevation and layout, whereas I am told there might be a change of ideas and even that might be brought in in the years ahead".

THE RT. HON. LEWIS SILKIN, MP said"... But in spite of its architectural merits the building had its defects; it was difficult to maintain and it was rather cold; it was expensive". "... the facts are that at present there must be the highest priority given to houses and to industry" "In so far as the building of the Crystal Palace does not conflict with these priorities it win be done but I am afraid we cannot hope to have an early rebuilding of the Crystal Palace, but we must recognise to that man does live by work alone, and that recreation and educational facilities which the Crystal Palace will provide are essential for human beings and must be provided at the earliest possible moment. Therefore, while recognising the paramount claims of housing and industry we shall nevertheless continue to press for the earliest reasonable rebuilding of the Crystal Palace. Now I am sure that that does not satisfy Sir Henry Buckland, but we shall consider whether it is not possible to do something which will not conflict with paramount claims. We can do a good deal of preparatory work and I hope that the time is not to. far distant when we can proceed with the rebuilding of the Crystal Palace". "I believe the new Palace has great part to play in the future life of Londoners and of the whole country. Everyone coming to London would inevitably come here, it is a place to which men and women from the Dominions and abroad will come. That is our objective and I am convinced that it will come about. We all hope that this will come about at the earliest moment".

THE RT. HON. THE LORD AMMON said: "The old palace of glass is gone but we hope the new palace will have as wide a recognition as the one that went before".

18 JUNE 1946

May 1946
We have already published our award according to the terms of the Conditions of Competition. We feel, however, that the Joint Committee might care to know privately our views on the results of this Competition so that the Joint Committee may make its own recommendations formally to the Promoters further to Clause 9 of the Conditions of Competition.

Clause 9 reads as follows: "Since the Promoters will not necessarily be responsible for the later stages of the scheme, they cannot commit themselves as a Condition of the Competition to employ the services of the author of the design placed first. The work of the successful competitor will be placed at the disposal of whatever body may ultimately be responsible for the redevelopment of the site in the hope that they will share the views of the present Promoters as to the merits of the winning design".

The competition has presented many difficulties and in being held at time when many first class architects were otherwise engaged, the response was less good than could have been wished. No doubt, the difficulties of the competition were a serious discouragement; many of the competitors attached more importance to the buildings and less to the layout and vice versa with the result that no scheme was completely satisfactory in both respects. This being the case it was felt that the layout plan must be the crucial decision in this competition and in that sense, the result has been successful.

We have already expressed our appreciation of the high merit of the first premiated layout plan. It placed the various parts in happy and workable relation to each other and maintains without frigidity the grand manner, which should be associated with such a site.

The winners' proposed buildings do not show the same broad and imaginative treatment

Present indications are that such buildings could not be erected within the next two years because the type of materials and the labour required must be concentrated during that period on the building of factories of the highest priority.

It would therefore be possible to improve the planning and architectural treatment of the buildings without delaying the commencement or progress of the actual building work of the new Crystal Palace.

We would also draw attention of the Promoters the variation of costs between the five-premiated designs. We instructed a well-known firm of Chartered Surveyors to examine and measure the areas of the various buildings in these designs. The comparative list of total cubic contents of the main group of buildings is as follows:

If one (1) cubic foot of this type of building costs 2/- in 1946 to build, it will be appreciated that there is a difference in total cost between the highest and the lowest amounting to £2,250,000. The Promoters would therefore be unwise to recommend acceptance of a building scheme, which will possibly cost £1,000,000 more than it is necessary to spend on such buildings.


First prize
Total cu. ft. 79,290,100
Total cu. metres 2,244,623

Second Prize
Total cu. ft.42,149,400
Total cu. metres 1,193,207

Third Prize
Total cu. ft.69,340,100
Total cu. metres 1,962,948

Fourth Prize
Total cu. ft.33,940,800
Total cu. metres 960,830

Fifth Prize
Total cu. ft.77,229,700
Total cu. metres 2,186,295

We are therefore of the opinion that it would both be to the advantage of the Crystal Palace and to the encouragement of the art of Architecture if a second competition were now to be held. The present winning design should be accepted and become the master plan on which the whole development is based.

The cost of the competition would be more than recovered by the more economic plans that would result, as mentioned in para.8.

With the layout finally decided it should now be possible to hold a perfectly straight-forward architectural competition with plans and elevations to much larger scale from which it would be possible to prepare the final working drawings. This work would have to be done in any case and no time would be lost in the process of holding such a competition for the selection of a competent architect to be entrusted with the carrying out of the work.
The assessors are unanimous (a) that the winning layout is excellent (b) that the designs of the buildings is altogether unworthy of such a noble a site (c) that the site [provides] a unique opportunity for a group of buildings of great distinction and of a general form that would be a land mark for many miles around. The importance of the latter cannot be overstressed.

January 1948
Suggested use of the grounds to build government offices.

11 January 1949
Sir Henry Buckland resigned as General Manager

1 January 1950
John Q. Henderson of Ayr, Scotland started as Manager of the Grounds

31 December 1951
Crystal Palace Trustees ceased to exist upon being superseded by the London County Council (LCC)

The Crystal Palace Fund
"When the Crystal Palace Trustees ceased on 31 December 1951 they handed over Crystal Palace Park to the LCC together with various securities altogether valued at £250,000 which they hoped would go some way to providing what they had not the resources to achieve - namely a 'new Crystal Palace' industrial exhibition centre. This would be in keeping with the original ideals of the Crystal Palace 'as a place for education and recreation and for the promotion of industry, commerce and art.' It was agreed in March 1950 that the fund would be used to continue the work of the trustees including the ultimate development of the palace section. In October 1952 it was agreed that the fund should continue to be held 'until the redevelopment of the palace section is undertaken' (in whatever form) - this was envisaged to be in approximately 10 - 15 years hence.") Temporary campsite opened to help alleviate accommodation problems caused by the Festival of Britain.

Summer 1952
Crystal Palace Zoo opened.

November 1952
Suggested installation of the Bennie Air-Speed Railway.

18 November 1952
Sir Gerald Barry engaged by the GLC to submit a scheme for a National Youth and Sports Centre.

February 1953
Suggested construction of a roller skating rink

8 April 1953
GLC discussion about Crystal Palace drainage system on the site of the proposed television tower. No positive outcome as most Crystal Palace employees who would have known the system in operation were dead. The BBC was to be warned about the potential dangers.

10 April 1953
Sydney Legg (Secretary to Sir Henry Buckland and latterly an employee of the GLC) still occupied the Crystal Palace Fire Station Stables. Cinema Television Ltd. still occupied the Rotunda.

1 September 1953
Upper and lower terraces listed as Grade II.

January 1954
Aircraft museum proposed for the underground subway.

19 October 1954
Report by the GLC on the construction of a 2,500 seat motor racing grandstand.

20 December 1955
Report by the GLC suggested the provision of greenhouses and cold frames at the northern end of the Terrace. The construction of an acoustic shell in the natural amphitheatre overlooking the pond for open air concerts. The introduction of a riding paddock and bridle paths. The construction of a 160 ft-observation tower served by lift for viewing and television camera usage and combining a ski slope.

The enlargement of the cricket field to accommodate a cricket square and one full size and one junior football pitch. In the same area as the cricket field, it was proposed to have other amenities such as tennis courts, children's boating pool, shell bandstand, old peoples rest garden, restaurant and beer garden.

The entrance opposite Sydenham Avenue would be laid out as an entertainment centre/piazza with flowerbeds, kiosks and an illuminated water feature. A children's theatre and entertainment pavilions might be provided at a later date. There would be a generous provision of restaurants and car parks.

Sir Gerald Barry submitted a proposal to the GLC for a National Exhibition Centre as a result of the report by the 1952 Goodale committee that discussed the future of the British Industries Fair that the Crystal Palace would be the most suitable site for a permanent home the London Section of the fair and as the site for a modern and up-to-date exhibition centre. It would consist of a number of different size exhibition buildings of over 500,000 square feet the largest occupying most of the Italian Terrace. There would also be an arena and amphitheatre, which could be used for boxing, matches, circuses, large public spectacles, band contests, horse shows cycle-racing, roller-skating and football etc. Each of the buildings would be independent of the other or could be used for a single event. The rest of the Crystal Palace Parade site would be gardens, supplementary car parks and an open-air exhibition area. A 5,000 space car park would be built on the site of the High Level Station and a further 2,000 space multi-storey car park on the North Tower Gardens site.

Total estimated cost £7,000,000 and work would start in 1956 and take between four and five years.

It was also proposed that work would commence in 1956 on the preparation of the pond area for the amphitheatre (£10,000) and the construction of the park restaurant (£25,000) and the Westwood Hill toilets (£5,000).

January 1956
Proposal to lay the park out as an educational relief map of the United Kingdom.

February 1956
Proposal to reopen the High-level railway.

June 1956
Suggested use as an amphitheatre, holiday centre and hotel.

December 1956
Suggested use for a huge globe cinema.

21 December 1957
Formal commissioning (opening) of the Crystal Palace Television aerial.
Pleasure Garden & Phoenix Tower - The Crystal Palace Foundation

World Refugee Year Camp located in Crystal Palace Park

Work commenced on the Sports Centre

September 1963
Lambeth Civil Defence excercise held in the park

Sports Centre opened at a cost of approximately £2,750,000

1 April 1965
London County Council abolished and replaced by the Greater London Council.

The exhibition centre was still being discussed having been the subject of an enquiry by the board of Trade and The Federation of British Industries and a further proposal had been put forward by them and the cost had now risen to over £J 5,000,000.

The scheme had now expanded to be an exhibition centre of over 1,000,000 square feet of exhibition area and three conference halls with a capacity of over 2,000 persons with management offices attached. The parking would initially be for nearly 7,000 cars with expansion room to 10,000 at a later date. There would have to be a new road through the park itself, which would connect with the improved road system in the area. The cost was now between £20,000,000 and £29,000,000 depending on whether or not the road improvements were made. The centre would open in 1971.

It was stated that the scheme would not start until 1968 at the earliest and would open in 1974. The government had given its full support to the scheme but in view of the fact that support for exhibitions in general was waning the GLC informed the government that they were uncertain of the viability of the centre and therefore considered the matter closed unless or until the government decided to revive it,

Television aerial officially opened.

It was noted that the exhibition centre negotiations with the government had broken down.
It was proposed that the Caravan Club site was to be moved to a site in Woolwich to give a permanent site and allow for expansion.

Proposal to demolish the houses on Crystal Palace Park Road and absorb the land back into the park. Feasibility study to be done.

Proposal to build houses on the High Level Station site in view of the fact that it will no longer be required for national exhibition centre carparking.

27 September 1972
Underground Subway listed Grade II

31 January 1973
Crystal Palace Forum established. Its terms of reference were: "To advise the Council's Arts and Recreation Committee of local feeling on matters relating to and affecting the future of Crystal Palace and its grounds".

29 June 1973
Dinosaurs listed Grade II
Crystal Palace Low Level Railway Station listed Grade II

23 June 1976
Report to the GLC on the views of the Crystal Palace Forum about the future usages of the site namely:

Suggested by
GLC Observations

Bus station & car park on High Level Station site
CPTCA, Norwood Society, Sydenham Society
Already allocated for housing

Model Farm
Farm Interpretation Centre already in use at Harefield

Livestock Element
Additional livestock already in for the Children's Zoo

Multi-purpose covered arena
Norwood Society
GLC already agreed to built a 5,000 seat stadium elsewhere

Pitch & Putt Course
Norwood Society
Probably not viable in the area

Dry Ski Slope
Norwood Society

Interpretation Centre or Crystal Palace Museum in Low Level Station
Norwood Society
Not a GLC site therefore would have to be discussed with British Rail

Restaurant on top of Water Tower
Norwood Society
Land owned by Thames Water

Bowling Green
No known demand

Community Arts Centre
Not a GLC Responsibility

Caravanning and Camping Site, inflatables, folding & tent structures
GLC and all the societies
GLC report pending

Could be appropriate if correctly sited & in conjunction with other developments

Golf facility
Norwood Society
Probably not viable in the area

TV rerun theatre
Norwood Society
Not strictly complying with the provisions of the 1951 Crystal Palace Act

Car narks
Norwood Society
Desperately required

Space Age Museum
Norwood Society
Not strictly complying with the provisions of the 1951 Crystal Palace Act

Camera obscura
Not strictly complying with the provisions of the 1951 Crystal Palace Act

Children's Playground
Proposed but deferred due to expenditure restrictions

1 o'clock Club
Already established at Penge Entrance. No justification for a second site

It was agreed 'That officers report as soon as possible on the preparation of an overall development plan for the Crystal Palace lands distinguishing between things which can be implemented in the next] 8 months, in the next 5 years and in a metropolitan park context in the long term'

July 1979
Crystal Palace Foundation created.

March 1980
It was agreed by the GLC that:-

The opening of the "Closed Lands" and the removal of the fences and gateways should be achieved. Landscape and cleanup the reservoir area, the "old nursery" and the fairground hardstanding.
Design and construction of the balustrading at the top of the slopes from the Italian terrace and restoration of the steps.
Layout cricket and football pitches on the Italian Terrace and restore the fountain basins and use as an occasional car park.
Restore all original pathways and create new entrances near College Road and Upper Norwood.
Modify Ledrington road access.
Construct new toilet facilities at the winter quarters and Rockhills.
Move motor cycle training school to High-Level station site.
Remove Caravan Club.
Use Caravan Club site as an occasional fairground site.
Historic Buildings programme to continue and be completed.

29 September 1981
The GLC considered the proposals put forward by the Crystal Palace Foundation for park restoration and for the setting up of a Crystal Palace Museum in the Anerley Hill offices.

19 October 1981
Press release from Tony Banks Chairman of the GLC A&R Committee about the proposed opening up of 50 acres of the "Closed Lands" and about the proposals by the Crystal Palace Foundation for park restoration. He said, 'This hilltop site is one of the most spectacular viewpoints in London. I welcome the imaginative and enthusiastic proposals put forward by the local people who have formed the Crystal Palace Foundation. Crystal Palace serves people all over South London, from Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Croydon and Bromley. Increasing the open space available to them and making it more attractive will be a significant addition to recreational facilities in South London."

17 February 1983

22 June 1983
Restoration of terrace pathways and balustrading to allow safe public access and to bring 14 1/2 acres of land into open space use. The erection of temporary fencing across the Lower Terrace to allow the work to take place. The pathways would be designed to allow occasional vehicular use but would be in the original design. Total estimated cost £51,200 and work would take place between November 1983 and March 1984.

27 March 1984
Restoration of the terraces, pathways, fountain basins, steps, Orangery and the Crystal Palace Parade boundary and the construction of a viewing platform.

Total estimated cost of nearly £3,000,000.

It was also stated in the report to committee that new developments should in future satisfy two criteria:

a) that public access and/or enjoyment of the land should be improved; and
b) that the historic structures should be respected and their setting enhanced

30 March 1984
The value of the Crystal Palace Fund was £223,000

9 May 1984
Report by the GLC (First stage proposals of 27 March 1984 plan)

I. Accommodate all current peak day parking on the (Motor Racing) Paddock area.
2. To tidy up the derelict areas associated with the former motor circuit and other eyesores (mainly dilapidated fencing).
3. To make a start on the creation of a new landscape, in keeping with the historic Paxton arcades.
Total estimated cost £158,200 and work would take place 1984/85

July 1985
Future of Crystal Palace Park leaflet issued. This is mainly a political leaflet issued by the GLC problems stating what they thought would arise in the park after their demise.

1 April 1986
Greater London Council abolished and the whole park and leases vested in the London Borough of Bromley.

2 July 1987
Butterfly farm proposal (deferred for further negotiations)

8 October 1987
New road proposed for sports centre from Anerley Hill

30 June 1988
Drive in cinema proposed for top site (Refused) Crystal Palace Fund valued at £129,456.38p and internally invested and further comments deferred until 1990.

6 October 1988
It was decided to use the Crystal Palace Fund for budgeted expenditure within the park

London Borough of Bromley (Crystal Palace) Act passed after discussion by a Commons Select Committee

25 July 1996
London & Regional Properties appointed as developers

10 October 1996
Kathryn Gustafson appointed for park plan

9 December 1996
Ian Ritchie appointed architect for the new building

2 December 1997
Crystal Palace National Recreation Centre listed Grade II*

6 March 1998
Government Office for London decide not to call in the Crystal Palace Development proposals

May 2001
Ian Ritchie multiplex scheme collapses

March 2005
London Development Agency (LDA) takes control of the National Recreation Centre

Crystal Palace Foundation applied for the dinosaur area to be upgraded from Grade II to Grade I

Dinosaur area upgraded to Grade I

Copyright Crystal Palace Foundation 2023
Compiled By Melvyn Harrison, Chairman