Crystal Palace, London
View of Crystal Palace from the park. Four London Boroughs; Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, and Southwark meet at this junction. A fifth, Lewisham, is only 0.6 km away.
Crystal Palace shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||SE19, SE20, SE26|
|Dulwich and West Norwood|
|Lewisham West and Penge|
|London Assembly||Bexley and Bromley|
|Croydon and Sutton|
|Lambeth and Southwark|
Crystal Palace is a residential area in south London, England named from the former local landmark, The Crystal Palace, which occupied the area from 1850 to 1936. The area is located approximately 8 miles south east of Charing Cross, and offers impressive views over the capital. An electoral ward named Crystal Palace and Crystal Palace Park are entirely contained within the London Borough of Bromley. However, the wider area has no defined boundaries and straddles the convergence of five London boroughs and three postal districts. It is contiguous with Anerley, Dulwich Wood, Gipsy Hill, Penge, South Norwood, Sydenham and Upper Norwood. It includes one of the highest points in London, 367 feet (112 m) at OS map reference TQ337707. Two television transmitter masts make the district a landmark location, visible from many parts of the London area.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
The ridge and the historic oak tree known as The Vicars Oak (located at the present-day crossroads of the A212 Church Road and A214 Westow Hill) were used to mark parish boundaries. This has led to the Crystal Palace area straddling the boundaries of five London Boroughs; Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. The area also straddles at least three postcode districts: SE19, SE20, and SE26. The ancient boundary between Surrey and Kent passes through the area and from 1889 to 1965 the area lay on the south eastern boundary of the County of London. It included parts of Kent and Surrey until 1889 and then parts of Kent, London and Surrey between 1889-1965.
For centuries the area was occupied by the Great North Wood, an extensive area of natural oak forest that formed a wilderness close to the southern edge of the ever-expanding city of London. Local legend has it that Sir Francis Drake's ship, the Golden Hind, had its timbers cut from trees in this area. The forest was a popular area for Londoners' recreation right up to the 19th century, when it began to be built over. It was also a haunt of Gypsies, with many local street names and pubs recording the link. The area still retains vestiges of woodland. The third quarter of the 19th Century brought the Crystal Palace and the railways.
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Following the success of the exhibition, the palace was moved and reconstructed in 1854 in a modified and enlarged form in the grounds of the Penge Place estate at Sydenham Hill. The buildings housed the Crystal Palace School of Art, Science, and Literature and Crystal Palace School of Engineering. It attracted visitors for over seven decades.
Sydenham Hill is one of the highest locations in London; 109 metres (357 ft) above sea level (spot height on Ordnance Survey Map); and the size of the palace and prominence of the site made it easy to identify from much of London. This led to the residential area around the building becoming known as Crystal Palace instead of Sydenham Hill. The palace was destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936 and the site of the building and its grounds is now known as Crystal Palace Park.
Crystal Palace is notable in that it sits on the boundary of four London boroughs - Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark - with a fifth borough (Lewisham) nearby. As a result the area is served by a diverse range of local government bodies and members of Parliament.
The following table lists the elected officials by ward for Crystal Palace local authorities as of June 2013:
|Local Authority||Ward||Elected Councillors & Party|
|Bromley||Crystal Palace||Tom Papworth (LD), John Canvin (LD)|
|Croydon||Upper Norwood||Alisa Flemming (Lab), John Wentworth (Lab), Pat Ryan (Lab)|
|Lambeth||Gipsy Hill||Matthew Bennett (Lab), Jennifer Brathwaite (Lab), Niranjan Francis (Lab)|
|Lewisham||Sydenham||Chris Best (Lab), Liam Curran (Lab), Marion Nisbet (Lab)|
|Southwark||College||Andy Simmons (Lab), Helen Hayes (Lab), Lewis Robinson (Con)|
The area is represented by four constituencies in the London Assembly, the following table lists the elected assembly members as of June 2013:
|London Assembly Constituency||Elected Member|
|Croydon and Sutton||Steve O'Connell (Con)|
|Bexley and Bromley||James Cleverly (Con)|
|Greenwich and Lewisham||Len Duvall (Lab)|
|Lambeth and Southwark||Val Shawcross (Lab)|
Crystal Palace Triangle
The "Crystal Palace Triangle", formed by Westow Street, Westow Hill and Church Road, has a number of restaurants and several independent shops, as well as an indoor secondhand market on Haynes Lane. A farmer's market also operates near Haynes Lane. The triangle also contains a range of vintage furniture and clothing stores, as well as galleries, arts and crafts shops and other businesses.
Crystal Palace still retains much of its Victorian architecture, although housing styles are mixed, including Victorian terraces, mid-war terraces and blocks of modern flats. Crystal Palace Park is surrounded by grand Victorian villas, many of which have been converted into flats and apartments.
Two TV transmitter towers — Crystal Palace Transmitter (640 ft) and Croydon Transmitter (500 ft) — stand on the hill at Upper Norwood, making the district a landmark location, visible from many parts of the London area. The towers may appear similar in height and design, but the Crystal Palace mast, constructed 1956, stands on a slightly higher elevation. The current Croydon tower was built in 1962. Television transmission has been taking place from Crystal Palace since at least the 1930s.
Crystal Palace Park
Crystal Palace Park is a large Victorian pleasure ground occupying much of the land within Crystal Palace and is one of the major London public parks. The park was maintained by the LCC and later the GLC, but with the abolition of the GLC in 1986 control of the entire park was given to the London Borough of Bromley. The Crystal Palace railway station is located in the park, as is the National Sports Centre. The park was formerly used for motor racing and has been used in the past for concerts, often performed at the site of the Crystal Palace Park Concert Platform.
The park is situated halfway along the Norwood Ridge at one of its highest points. This ridge offers views northward to central London, east to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and Greenwich, and southward to Croydon and the North Downs.
It is also one of the starting points for the Green Chain Walk, linking to places such as Chislehurst, Erith, the Thames Barrier and Thamesmead. Section 3 of the Capital Ring walk round London goes through the park.
A smaller park occupying 2.73 hectares lies to the south west of the triangle on Church Road. Westow Park hosts the annual Crystal Palace Overground festival, a free community festival held over four days during the summer.
To the south of the triangle is a small area of woodland occupying 1.92 hectares, containing the Stambourne Woodland Walk. It was opened in 1984 and covers an area of land between developments on Stambourne Way and Fox Hill. The land originally formed the gardens of Victorian Villas built on the hill overlooking Croydon, but were allowed to fall into disrepair. In 1962 Croydon Council approved terms for buying the land from the Church Commissioners and other local freeholders, allowing the construction of a link. Paths and benches were installed but much of the vegetation was left undisturbed, creating a woodland pathway.
Arthur Conan Doyle was active in the area between 1891 and 1894. Although he lived in nearby South Norwood he visited the Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood area regularly in connection with the Upper Norwood Literary and Scientific Society. The Forresters Hall on Westow Street was then known as the Welcome Hall (or just Welcome) and it was in that hall in May 1892 that Arthur Conan Doyle was elected president of the society. He was re-elected to the post in 1893 and resigned in 1894. Each occasion was in the same hall.
Crystal Palace is the former home of Crystal Palace F.C., retaining its named association with the area despite moving to Selhurst in 1918. The Crystal Palace triathletes club is based locally.
Crystal Palace contains two primary schools, Paxton Primary School and All Saints C of E Primary School, and one secondary school, Harris City Academy.  Crystal Palace Park also contains a branch of Capel Manor College, offering courses in Animal Care, Arboriculture and Countryside, Horticulture and Landscaping and Garden Design along with other short courses.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2013)|
The Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, in the centre of the park, lies at 88 m above the mean sea level.
The following climate data is from the nearest Met Office climate station based in Greenwich Park:
|Climate data for London (Greenwich)|
|Record high °C (°F)||18.5
|Average high °C (°F)||8.3
|Average low °C (°F)||2.6
|Record low °C (°F)||−10.0
|Precipitation mm (inches)||51.6
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||10.8||8.5||9.6||9.4||9.0||8.3||8.0||7.6||8.5||10.7||10.1||9.9||110.4|
|Avg. snowy days||4||4||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||16|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||49.9||71.4||107.1||159.8||181.2||181.0||192.1||195.1||138.9||108.1||58.5||37.4||1,480.5|
|Source #1: Record highs and lows from BBC Weather, except August and February maximum from Met Office |
|Source #2: All other data from Met Office, except for humidity and snow data which are from NOAA|
The area is served by the A212, A214, A234 and A2199 roads. The area would have been affected by the cancelled London Ringways motorway plans, as one of the radial routes connecting the South Cross Route to Ringway 2 (the South Cross Route to Parkway D Radial) would have run through a part of Crystal Palace Park, following the railway line.
London Cycle Network routes 23 and 27 travel through Crystal Palace. Route 27 runs from Anerley Hill through part of Crystal Palace Park towards Bromley and route 23 through the Crystal Palace triangle to connect to Borough and Croydon.
Crystal Palace is accessible by rail via Crystal Palace railway station, where Southern trains run to and from Victoria and London Bridge railway stations on the Outer South London Line. In addition, Southern services run to Beckenham Junction, Sutton and Epsom Downs. Crystal Palace railway station is one of the few stations to border two zones, Zones 3 and 4.
The South Gate of the Park is accessible by rail via Penge West by Southern trains from London Bridge and London Overground services.
Crystal Palace used to have a second railway station, the Crystal Palace (High Level) railway station, which was closed in 1954. The station was built to serve passengers visiting the Great Exhibition and was demolished in 1961, although a Grade 2 listed subway remains under Crystal Palace Parade. The Crystal Palace pneumatic railway was also built in Crystal Palace c. 1864.
The area is served by multiple bus routes, many of which terminate at Crystal Palace Bus Station. These services include routes N2, 3/N3, N63, 122, N137, 157, 202, 227, 249, 322, 358, 363, 410, 417, 432, 450, 931 and 934.
The French novelist Émile Zola lived in what is now the Queen's Hotel on Church Road between October 1898 and June 1899. Zola fled to England after being convicted of criminal libel in France on 23 February 1898, a direct consequence of the publication of his open letter J'accuse.
- The Crystal Palace
- Crystal Palace Park
- Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
- Crystal Palace railway station
- Crystal Palace (High Level) railway station
- Crystal Palace pneumatic railway
- Crystal Palace circuit
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|Section 3:||Capital Ring Walking Route||Section 4:|
|Grove Park||Crystal Palace||Streatham|