A small trip south of the river Thames can take you many places but back in time is not one you would expect. Here in Crystal Palace Park, you will find you have stepped back in time to a land of Dinosaurs or at least a Victorian view of them.
There is a park in the heart of South London that has an amazing history not least of which are the ‘monsters’ it contains. In 1852 the Great exhibition was moved to Sydenham South London and with it the Crystal Palace designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. On the lower levels of the park you will find amongst the undergrowth some large sculptures, the monsters created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins under the guidance of Professor Richard Owen who invented ’ The Dinosaur’ These models were based on what the Victorian idea of a dinosaur might look like.
To celebrate the construction of these wonderful monsters Hawkins held a dinner party inside the Iguanodon, supposedly the scientists ate pigeon pie! The park was opened in 1854 and drew great attention with the chance to visit the Palace and now these scary creatures.
Today, the area around the sculptures has been cleaned up and in fact the sculptures themselves have been cleaned, personally i think they have lost something in that process but time will no doubt have an effect on that. Planting that is sympathetic, has occurred recently and the new trees give more of an impression of plants that would have been from the right era with palms and the like. The Dinosuars can’t actually be touched as they exist on their own little island not far from the main lake in the park. There are also other creatures some of which defy description, some are like massive deer, or bears but a visit is the best thing and especially in the summer when you can make the most of the rest of the park.
Access can be from a number of Stations, it is worth coming in from the historic Crystal Palace Station, which lies in a deep cutting This is at the South Western entrance to the park. Penge West Rail is also very close near the South Eastern entrance and there is also Sydenham Station but that is a walk away. Numerous bus routes are available at the top of the park on Crystal Palace Parade, from here you can get busses all the way into the city.