Crystal Palace Park is the largest park in the London Borough of Bromley. It is an iconic Victorian park, originally created to house the Crystal Palace after its relocation from the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. Due to the building’s remarkable scale and complexity, the design was recognised and celebrated at an international level.
The palace and park were built by Sir Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace Company between 1852 and 1855. It was designed to impress, educate, entertain and inspire, through themes of discovery and invention.
The Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire in 1936 and the park entered a new era of degradation. Several sporting pursuits were introduced in the following decades – including a motor racing circuit (1937 – 1972), and the National Sports Centre and Athletics Stadium (completed 1964) – but nothing fully harnessed the park and many of its celebrated features fell into disrepair.
The London Borough of Bromley took ownership of the park in 1986, upon the dissolution of the Greater London Council. In recent decades, a number of transformation schemes have been brought forward but have not been realised. Smaller-scale projects have been successful, however, including the Improvement Scheme, completed in 2019.
The Council has an achievable aspiration to reinstate Crystal Palace Park as a place of fun and recreation in the spirit of Paxton’s vision, celebrating excellence in landscape and horticulture and providing facilities and events in-keeping with a park of international significance.
In order to achieve this, the Council appointed consultants AECOM Ltd. in 2016 to develop the Regeneration Plan which is an achievable and affordable holistic scheme. It builds on the work of the Improvement Scheme to deliver physical improvements to the park’s landscape and heritage assets but also implements a new form of governance – the Crystal Palace Park Trust – and a new business model.
The Regeneration Plan has been granted outline planning permission and we have now appointed inter-disciplinary design practice, HTA Design LLP, to develop our plans further. In the meantime, find out more about the Regeneration Plan and projects to restore the Crystal Palace Park Subway and the dinosaurs.
Founded in 2016, the Crystal Palace Park Trust is a registered charity, operating in partnership with the London Borough of Bromley, towards the goal of assuming park stewardship.
Following several years of collaboration on the implementation of the Park’s regeneration plan, and recent discussions on the planned handover of the Park, a target date for the handover of the Park to the Trust has been agreed for September 2023. The Trust will be granted a long-term lease to the Park and will assume responsibility for its management and maintenance, as envisaged in Bromley’s 2015 committee paper and ultimately approved at the June 2022 Executive, item 14.