Shirley's UK Trip 2012 travel blog

The original Crystal Palace in Hyde Park

Central London from Crystal Palace hill

Dinosaur in Crystal Palace Park

More dinosaurs

and still more

The address here is 15 Fox Hill & I actually saw a fox wandering through the garden this morning. He was probably after those squirrels I saw a few days ago. Amazing, just 20 minutes from central London.

A lazy day today. I cleaned up a bit & did a load of washing which is always an adventure, especially with an unfamiliar front-loader without any instructions. I got it started & it seemed to know what it was doing then it stopped about an hour later so I must have been on the right track.

It was another beautiful day but very still so I decided it was better to drape the washing over the 3 wall heaters instead of trying to get it dry outside so I did that, then took off to explore the local area. I wanted to learn more about the Crystal Palace & also find the Victorian dinosaur models I'd read about & glimpsed from the train.

For those of you who don't know, the Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. This was the very first World Trade Fair & more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's 990,000 square feet of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution.

Because of the recent invention of the cast plate glass method in 1848, which allowed for large sheets of cheap but strong glass, it was at the time the largest amount of glass ever seen in a building and astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that didn't require interior lights, thus a "Crystal Palace".

After the exhibition closed, the building was relocated to this area at huge cost. There was not enough money for its very expensive maintenance & it slowly fell into decline until it was totally destroyed by fire in 1936.

The Crystal Palace Park still exists as a large open space & houses, among other things, the National Sports Centre.

The dinosaurs are another story altogether. Commissioned in 1852 and unveiled in 1854 as part of the landscaping for the Crystal Palace, they were the first dinosaur sculptures in the world, pre-dating the publication of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" by 6 years. At that time dinosaurs were generally considered to be mythical beasts & this was the first time the controversial theory that these creatures actually existed millions of years ago was introduced to the public.

I had lunch at a nice little cafe in the park, then climbed back up the hill & called in to Sainsbury's on my way home as my bottle of wine is getting low.

So the end of another very pleasant day.

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