Crystal Palace Park, Penge, South London

Legend to map above:-

1. 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.
Old Cricket Pavilion:
A 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.
3. H.M.S 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.
Airpowered Railway:
During 1864, TW 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.
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.
The Race Track:
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.
7. Football: 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 Maze:
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.
The Concert Bowl:
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.
10. 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.
Orangery/North Wing:
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.
Paxton’s Bust:
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.
Italian Terraces:
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 brick shell.
South Nave:
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, is an 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.
Low 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.
South 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.
Geological Strata-Paxton Bridge:
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.
Prehistoric Monsters:
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.
17. Boating Lake:
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.