The Crystal Palace



The Crystal Palace was built to house the Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in Hyde Park, London, in 1851. After the Exhibition, it was moved and expanded and rebuilt on Sydenham Hill overlooking London, where it enjoyed a second life from 1854 until its destruction in a horrific fire in 1936.

Viewing the ruins, Winston Churchill was said to have remarked, "It is the end of an era."  

This site houses texts as well as graphics related to the history of the Crystal Palace, as well as links to related resources. All images herein are, or are believed to be, in the public domain.


Resources on this Site

NEW! Read a letter from an eyewitness to the terrible fire in 1936 that destroyed the Palace.

1. The Crystal Palace as it appeared in 1851 (an enlarged version of the photograph on this page)

2.NEW! See a rare early stereoscopic daguerreotype of the interior of the Palace, from the Library of Congress

3.NEW! See a poster for the Crystal Palace when it served as the Imperial War Museum

4. From the Exhibition of 1851: A "Talking "Telegraph

5. The Last Promenade at the Crystal Palace (May, 1852)

6. What should be done with the Crystal Palace? (from Punch, 1851)

7. "What is not clear about the Crystal Palace," by Henry Morley (1851)

8. An advert from an 1852 issue of the Globe and Traveller for stock in the Crystal Palace Company founded to move the palace from Hyde Park to Sydenham.

9. The Crystal Palace re-arising on Sydenham Hill

10. Ahalf-guinea ladies' season ticket to the Crystal Palace

11. Some handbills from the numerous shows at the Palace

12. A firework celebrating Victoria's reign

13. The Palace on fire, from the Illustrated London News of 5 December 1936.

14. The Palace on fire (detail), November 1936

15. Before and after aerial views of the Crystal Palace in 1936

16. The ruins of the Palace

17. Mr. Punch Mourns the Passing of the Palace, 1936

18. John Logie Baird, the inventor of the first practical Television, had his studios in the Crystal Palace from 1933 to 1936.

19. The Farnsworth Television Company referred to early demonstrations at the Crystal Palace in an advert from 1945

20. Enamored of the success of the Great Exhibition, New York City built its own Crystal Palace, which was destroyed by fire in 1858.

21. The Palace site as it looks today -- photos taken by me in January of 2002.

22.  A selection of coins and medals featuring the Crystal Palace

Resources Elsewhere

1. An extraordinary site on the design of the Crystal Palace, including several 3-D models of the 1851 Palace (University of Virginia)

2. PhotoLondon hosts a page showing several recently-discovered daguerreotypes of sculptures displayed in 1854 at the Palace (Guildhall Library)

3. A site dedicated to the Crystal Palace Campaign to stop planned commercial development of the site