Wednesday 3 February 2010

The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace was originally built to house the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park, London, but when the Exhibition ended in the October of that year the designer of the Palace, Sir Joseph Paxton, together with a number of other people, raised enough money to move the structure to Penge Place.

The Palace reopened in 1854, Penge Park became known as Crystal Palace Park, and became the theme park of its day.  After a while its popularity waned, it struggled through a number of incidents and was declared bankrupt in 1911, after which it was purchased for the nation.

During World War I it was used as a place of training for the Royal Navy, which did nothing for its state of repair.  After the war, John Logie Baird opened up a television studio, workshops and manufacturing units while the buildings and Park were renovated.  Almost as soon as a small profit started showing another disaster struck and the building burned to the ground.  By 1937 the last remains had gone.

Nowadays, when you come across the name Crystal Palace, a number of images may spring to mind:
  • a football team
  • a major sports centre
  • a television transmitter
  • a railway station
  • an area of south London,
among others.  There are ambitious plans for further development.

This card showing the original Crystal Palace is unused, and has a divided back with the words "Write here for inland postage only".  This indicates it dates from after 1902 and probably before 1907.  Interestingly though, it is in a collection of cards all with a naval connection, so it may well have been added to the collection or bought during the First World War.

C is for Crystal palace.  A post for ABC Wednesday.
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  1. Love the name of the structure. Versatile, too.

  2. those are really nice and thanks for the great info.

    Btw, Chuck E. Cheese is a popular place for kids here in Canada and in US. It's like a gaming center and you can also order some pizza.:)

  3. That is fascinating! I doubt many postcards like this one are still in existence; it's a wonderful way to mark history.
    Re: Camilla - will she ever become Queen? My bet is that William will be the next sovereign, if there is to be one.

  4. Thank you for the suggestion, I have some time so I'm going to look into it now. :)

  5. When I was about 8 years old we visited London. In a park my dad told me Crystal Palace used to be there.

    It didn't mean much to me then. I was more interested in the statues of dinosaurs! :-)

  6. I collect different types of postcards too.

  7. Shame it burned down. Paxton has an interesting history , we have a street named after him here, well part of a street actually because some of it was demolished years back.
    The dating of this card and the Japanese one is fascinating.

  8. Such a sad end to a beautiful building.

    On behalf of the team, thanks for taking part in ABC Wednesday this week! :)

  9. What a coincidence! Just moments ago, we returned from an exhibit on the World's Fairs. Although the emphasis was on the U.S. fairs, there were several large pictures of the Crystal Palace in London. I was already interested in the World's Fair before seeing the exhibit, but now I really want to know more. It was such a great venue for new inventions, design and architecture, and technology...from nylon stockings, to telephones. I also love the inventions that never really took off, like the Norge dish maker from the 1964 World's Fair that would wash and grind up your used plastic dishes and then mold new ones for you as needed. Anyway, sorry to go on and on, but this post obviously got me all excited about the topic again.

  10. Very interesting! Enjoyed the read and the postcard!

  11. Great name and I remember the footballteam:-)
    Have a nice day!

  12. LOVE the history lesson. I'd heard the term, but little else.

    -Ramblin' with Roger

  13. Hey! Thanks for the "page" suggestion, it'll be easier to update. Unfortunately, it seems to be hard to make them look nice, maybe I'll have to go find a template somewhere (which'll be fun, because they seem to hate me. :P). Thanks again! :)

  14. You can still see the foundations of the building. It must have been incredible. I wonder if there are any postcards of the dinosaurs?

  15. Thanks everyone for the comments.

    @Christine H, I am delighted that you found it interesting. It's makes my day if a card strikes a chord with someone!

    @Salisbury Matt, I didn't know the foundations were still visible. That must be great to see. I'm sure there are dinosaur cards, but so far I haven't come across any.

  16. Wow, that place looks unreal. Amazing!

  17. We were just chatting about this on the weekend! It was quite exquisite, wasn't it?


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