The Landscape Guide

Crystal Palace, SE19 - landscape architecture

Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace was moved to Sydenham in 1852 and set in a large Italianate park designed by Paxton. Joseph Paxton inherited many of his ideas from JC Loudon. 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. The central area of the site has been laid out as the National Sports Centre in a most unimaginative way. A bid was been made for National Lottery funding to rejuvinate the park but the plan was vigorously opposed by local community groups.

One day, the Crystal Palace Park will be restored to life and health. The planners should remember that Paxton did not conceive the space as a public open space: the site was selected and planned as an exhibition garden which would attract visitors from Central London and beyond - and they would pay to enter. He also developed railway links to Central London. The best solution might be to restore the exhibition garden role to the upper section of the park while leaving the lower section as a public park.

See comment on historic garden restoration.

Access from Crystal Palace Parade.

HOMEPAGE - Landscape Architecture London List

Paxton's sphinx's, awaiting restoration.

Joseph Paxton's prehistoric monsters, as restored by Kathryn Gustafson's London landscape architecture office