Detailed condition survey work to support the crucial restoration of the much-loved Crystal Palace Subway is underway.
The news follows the appointment of award-winning conservation architects Thomas Ford and Partners to undertake the restoration of the Grade II* listed structure. Bromley Council and The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway partnered with Thomas Ford and Partners in May 2020 following a competitive open tender.
Grant funding of £2.34million has already been secured following successful award of The City of London’s SIP Fund and a donation from the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway. It is hoped the project will eventually remove the structure from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.
Councillor Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal, Recreation and Housing said “The restoration of such a significant historical asset will be very positive news indeed and the survey work is very much part of that fantastic news. I do want to thank the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway for their support and hard work. The Friends group, Bromley Council and Historic England have been working in partnership for many years to secure the future of the subway and we are making progress, which as the project progresses, will hopefully enable further employment and volunteering opportunities, whilst continuing to build our knowledge of local heritage”.
Clive England, the project’s lead architect from Thomas Ford and Partners said, “It is a real privilege to be a part of this exciting project, which will restore the historic subway and provide it with a sustainable future. Whilst we work on conservation projects throughout the UK, there is something very special about being involved with such an important project in our local community, close to where we live and work. This project is the latest in a series of local, community-based, heritage projects with which we have been successfully involved including the Homestead and other buildings at Beckenham Place Park, and The Fellowship Inn in Bellingham.”
A spokesperson of The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway, the key community driver behind the project said, “As a partner and major stakeholder in the subway restoration project we are looking forward to working with Thomas Ford and Partners on this exciting next phase of the subway’s history. Local support for this important project continues to be strong and we are now in a better position than ever before to achieve this much needed restoration. We are confident that we can all work together to engage positively and transparently with the community who worked so hard to re-open the subway.”
Simon Buteux, London Partnerships Team Leader at Historic England said, “The subway is a valued local landmark and a striking visual reminder of the grandeur of Crystal Palace Park in its Victorian heyday. This is an important step in securing the future of the spectacular Crystal Palace Subway, with the ultimate goal of removing it from the Heritage at Risk Register.”
First opened to the public in 1865, the subway is partially located under Crystal Palace Parade, situated on the edge of Crystal Palace Park. The Subway is one of the last remaining structures of the original Crystal Palace; it is a beloved community asset with a dedicated Friends’ group and local and international following.
Due to the requirement for restoration works, public access to the subway is currently restricted. As part of the two-year restoration project, comprehensive works will be undertaken to conserve the historic fabric of Crystal Palace Subway, reinstating lost and compromised aspects of the site. Upon completion of the project, the site will be reopened enabling the public and community to interact and engage with local culture.
The restoration is currently programmed for completion and reopening to the public in late Summer 2022. The Subway will remain closed whilst these works are undertaken and a more sustainable future for the site is secured.
Picture caption: The magnificent attached picture (supplied by Historic England, with permission) which shows something of this hidden gem which is literally hidden under the road in Crystal Palace Parade – at one point, in the 1860s, this arched subway led passengers from the station to the Crystal Palace, which of course tragically burnt down in the 1930s.