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The Crystal Palace (wikipedia.org)
48 points by aquadrop on Dec 8, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments

I used to walk home through the ruined grounds of this when I was at school. It was fenced off and pretty strange and creepy. Headless statues and vast terraces of stone alcoves. Almost looked like it could be from a game like Journey.

It's now been tidied up and is open to the public as part of the park. I'm glad I got to experience it when it was still strange and mysterious.

There's also an abandoned train station and huge blocked off train tunnel quite near. We used to make up ghost stories about the place.

> I'm glad I got to experience it when it was still strange and mysterious

Yeah, there's something about a raw location that has a much better connection to the history. Bletchley Park today (still a good museum) is almost a theme park when compared to what it was 10 years ago. There are still a few pure historic sites around that haven't had the chance to visitor attraction treatment but almost by definition they're harder to find.

Except if you go around the rear to TNMOC.

That somewhat reinforces my thesis - 10 years ago you didn't need to go around the rear as there wasn't a fence separating the two.

I live basically opposite it.

It's such a great, strange park. Lots of random abandoned follies. I've been mugged there twice but still it feels weirdly safe. It has such a great view at night and feels so desolate and strange especially with the antennas. Going there when there's a good level of fog is excellent.

Youve got South Norwood one side and Dulwich on the other. Crystal Palace is right on the cusp of being mugged and stepping on an artisan terrier.

It's great fun walking the line :)

Also walked through often on my way to school, and had sports at the NSC regularly, A lovely place most of the time. The hedge maze was always fun as a kid too, but the scale of the terraces and their staircases was always something that seemed larger than life to a 12 year old kid

There's a building in Dallas, Texas called the Infomart that looks like it might have taken inspiration from it: https://cdn.bisnow.net/fit?height=489&type=jpeg&url=https%3A...

Edit: Ah, so not a coincidence...

"The design was modeled after The Crystal Palace, a huge iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park in 19th century Britain"


I came here to post this, I worked there for a long time. Yahoo used to have a huge datacenter there when Yahoo was a big deal in the late nineties.

I live quite close to what is now crystal palace park. I would have loved to have seen the building, even in ruins. It boggles my mind how the Victorians even managed to relocate the entire structure from Hyde park, especially given that the crystal palace park site is on the top of a massive hill (in fact one of the highest points in greater London). The park now is a nice place to go walking and hang out in the summer. There's a natural bowl area which would be great for concerts if only the local council can get their act together to refurbish the stage.

There's an Italian restaurant (Pizza at the Palace) at the Crystal Palace triangle that has a series of fantastic pictures and artworks of the Crystal Palace, including pictures of the fire itself, on its walls.

I know it well. I have several old prints/lithographs and original photos of the palace hanging at home too :)

Same here, taking a trip through the dinosaur park to the train station makes for a lovely commute when the weather’s nice.

The Crystal Place became a symbol in 19th century Russian literature. These two articles are by a specialist who adds "I live in Crystal Palace and have been reading up on the palace itself and the area, exploring the ruins and generally gaining a new perspective."

The socialist utopian Chernyshevsky ("What is to be done?") celebrated it as a triumph of progress and modernity:


Dostoevsky visited it and hated it, and used it for one of his most famous anti-utopian invectives:


I've been to the ruins, which are atop a lovely park. It's a real shame that it never got rebuilt.

In a similar vein in Vienna there was also the Rotunde built for the Vienna World Fair of 1873 which burned down in 1937.



Reminds me also of the San Francisco World's Fair of 1915, which included some cyclopean structures which are mostly gone today:



As a comment on the video testifies, the construction and then obliteration of such an enormous site is popular fodder for Cultural Layer type conspiracy theorists.

Sometimes I feel like the Victorian era was bad fiction. Who would believe this?

* Designed and costed in two weeks * Eight months from design acceptance to building completion *100% modular; reassembled into a different building after the event

I can gurantee there was no environmental impact assessment, comment period for local residents, nor mandatory safety training, rest periods, or other accommodations for the workers.

Whether or not these things are a net positive they do serve to slow things down dramatically.

Also without safety glass that place would have posed a massive safety hazard of falling glass shards.

There was kind of environmental review. At least there was environmental opposition to building it in the park and they added dome to the building so it could fit old elm trees completely inside the building and so trees were saved.

Can I urge people interested in this to hunt down Bill Bryson reading his own book "At Home" - the first chapter is mostly the crystal palace history and is fascinating

If you want to walk through the Crystal Palace, a virtual copy is being constructed in Second Life by the city-state of New Babbage. Opening next spring.

People still play Second Life?

Yes. If it were on Steam, it would rank about even with GTA V Online. Average online users, all in the same world, is in the 35,000-50,000 range.

I think it's a great read that shows how projects (including IT) can be effective if you find right approach for the task.

Not to be confused with Crystal Palace FC.

Always used to bother me that the football grounds weren't actually in Crystal Palace. It was bloody miles from Selhurst Park to real thing!

(actually - now I think about it why was the football ground called Selhurst Park? It was in Thornton Heath!)

It's actually in Selhurst. Though nowadays with the (sub)urban sprawled it's hard to delineate where exactly Norwood, Selhurst and the 'Heath meet or overlap.

I went to Selhurst last season, I was thinking of visit the Crystal Palace, but didn't have time. Rather wish I had now.

Agreed. The football club was named after this building.

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