There are no live dinosaurs – apart from some older persons like me – wandering around Crystal Palace Park. When the park was designed in 1851, two islands were created in the lake at the southern end. On these islands some sculptures of creatures from the Secondary and Tertiary periods were to be displayed for the amazement of visitors. 33 such creatures were crafted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. Many of those sculptures survive to this day.

Not all the creatures were Dinosaurs – the Tertiary period was the age of the Mammals and there are some Irish Elk to be found…

Beasts of Crystal Palace Park_01

However, we’re here to see the Dinosaurs on the Secondary Period island – Here are a pair of Iguanodon…

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A Labyrinthodon…

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…with some tasty morsels in the background😂

There’s Ichthyosaurus hiding in the weeds…

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…along with a pair of Teleosauri…

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…I’m not convinced that those are entirely extinct 😟

Then there’s a Plesiosaur…

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…suffering the unwelcome attentions of some saurian descendants😂

And finally, the Megalosaurus…

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Just as the Dinosaurs were of a particular period in the Earth’s history, these models belong to a period in the history of Palaeontology. First displayed in 1854, they excited an interest in fossil hunting and scientific understanding. Just 40 years later they were a laughing stock among serious palaeontologists with species such as the Megalosaurus now known to have been bipedal. Today’s visitors enjoy those that are left for what they are – fascinating sculptures of strange beasts. Classed as Grade II listed buildings in 1973 and upgraded to Grade I in 2007, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins’ animals have been repaired and restored over recent years and look to be safe for future generations to enjoy.

A few weeks ago, I promised that I would return to Crystal Palace and take some views of the park. When the government decreed that the Crystal Palace could not remain in Hyde Park, designer Joseph Paxton formed the Crystal Palace Company to buy the palace and relocate it to a site on Sydenham Hill. It’s worth reading the more detailed history on Wikipedia. On that page you will find a map of the park as it was in 1857 which you may wish to keep open as it will allow you to picture where each of the items I choose for this post is located.

When you exit Crystal Palace Station, there is a wall that abuts to the Railway Colonnade that has a pretty mural advertising things in the park including the National Sports Centre and the Dinosaurs…

Crystal Sauropod Train

As you leave the station, you will find a footpath signpost…

Crystal Palace Park Sign

…Quite a lot of walking routes pass through the park.

If you walk in the general direction of the mast in the background you will climb through some trees until you find the Italianate Lower Terrace…

Crystal Palace Terrace_01

…and get a clear view of Crystal Palace TV transmitter mast which occupies part of original Palace site at the top right hand end on the map.. The grassy bank between the sections of terrace was once one of the sets of steps leading up to the lower terrace. Only the central set of steps remain to allow access to the next level. On the lower terrace, nothing remains of the fountains but the central steps to the Upper Terrace are still there to give a vague feeling of how elegant the gardens once were…

Crystal Palace Terrace_02

…The grassy mound beyond is where The Crystal Palace itself was sited.

At the top left of the plan of the gardens, one of the original entrances to the Palace now serves as a bus station…

Crystal Palace Bus Station

Back in the park and at each end of the Upper Terrace, the steps down from the Palace itself remain complete with flanking Sphinx’…

Crystal Palace Sphinx

…These ones at the right hand end of the terrace are below the TV transmitter.

The Crystal Palace Bowl sits below the terrace at this point, just a little further to the right..

Crystal Palace Bowl

…The original structure, built in 1961, resembled a miniature Hollywood Bowl. It fell into disrepair and was replaced with the current structure in 1997. This ‘Bowl’ has also fallen into disrepair but the local council are looking at potential future uses for the stage.

All of the central fountains shown on the map have disappeared. However, the Intermediate Reservoir remains and is used by a fishing club…

Reservoir - Crystal Palace Park

The area where the main central fountains and cascades once stood has been taken over by the National Sports Centre – this view is from the right hand side of the map…

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

In the area where the lower reservoir was located, there are now public toilets, a restaurant and this rather colourful container bar serving booze and ices…

Booze n Ices - Crystal Palace Park

…and the southern section of the central avenue remains as a tree-lined walk…

Crystal Palace Park Avenue

…although now, the steps midway lead up to the National Sports Centre.

The Lake on the bottom left of the map remains and is partly used as a boating facility. That’s where we find the Tertiary and Secondary islands – home of the Dinosaurs. I will be showing them in a separate post 😎