The Garden Landscape Guide

Crystal Palace Park

Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace was moved to Sydenham in 1852 and set in a large Italianate park designed by Paxton. Most of the park has gone but one fine terrace survives, as do Paxton's extraordinary prehistoric monsters round the lake in the southern corner of the park. Though Paxton's experience had been wholly in garden design, his design of a glass house for the 1851 produced the most architecturally innovative building of the nineteenth century. It set a key precedent for all the glass and steel structures of the twentieth century. Paxton's design for the Crystal Palace Park, though less innovative, is also a key design in the history of landscape architecture. Its transition from 'the works of man' to 'the works of nature' (which Paxton probably conceived as a transition from 'formality' to 'informality') was followed in Ebenezer Howard's Garden City concept in much of the twentieth century's best urban and regional planning. Sadly, the central area of the Crystal Palace Park  was  laid out as the National Sports Centre in a most unimaginative way. In 2013 a Chinese developer made a proposal to restore the Crystal Palace.

Thicket Road, Penge, London, Greater London, England, SE20 8DT

All year. Daily. Open dawn to dusk.

Entrance free

Visit the Crystal Palace Park website

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