Following the successful award of £2.8m grant funding, much needed works to restore the Crystal Palace Subway are now underway. The site is partially located under Crystal Palace Parade, situated on the edge of Crystal Palace Park and forms part of the Council’s wider Regeneration Plan to restore and rejuvenate the Park. The restoration of this structure will ultimately remove the Subway from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register by Summer 2022, making the site safe for future generations to enjoy. The site is now closed whilst the restoration works are underway.
The Crystal Palace Subway Restoration Project
With the grant funding, and with the support of the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway (FCPS) and Historic England, the Council appointed award-winning conservation architects Thomas Ford & Partners in May 2020, to undertake the restoration of the Grade II* listed Subway. The project includes detailed survey work to understand the current condition of the structure.
Designs are also being developed for a new roof over the east courtyard, to replace the roof that was lost in the years following the great fire of 1936.
Once completed, it is envisaged that the Subway will be removed from the Heritage at Risk Register and will be safe for the public to enjoy. The project has provided an extraordinary opportunity to secure a sustainable future for the much-loved community asset, which is of significant historical importance.
The current programme of works for the Subway’s restoration indicates that construction will begin in August 2021, with the project due to complete in Summer 2022. To date, extensive survey work has been undertaken and the site has been cleared of vegetation. The clearance uncovered the remains of the Subway’s south staircase that has been inaccessible since the early 1900s.
First opened to the public in 1865, the Subway was originally designed by Charles Barry Jnr, and provided access to the Crystal Palace from the High-Level Station. The main structure of the Subway is a series of spectacular vaults, built from red and cream brick, with an elaborate floor paved in two alternating types of stone.
The Subway is one of the last remaining features of the original Crystal Palace after the 1936 fire. It has an international following and a dedicated Friends group, who have worked for many years to secure the future of the site. Further information on the Subway and its history can be found on the FCPS website: https://cpsubway.org.uk/history.
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