Originally created in 1854, as the new permanent home of the Crystal Palace, which housed the 1851 Great Exhibition, it was also an early home to the FA Cup Finals (from 1894-1914), the birthplace of television, where John Logie Baird produced the first TV pictures, and arguably the world's first theme park, with its concrete, brick and iron dinosaurs.
After the Great Exhibition the Crystal Palace was moved from Hyde Park to the Penge Park Estate.
The splendour of the Crystal Palace attracted people from far and wide. Visitors also flocked to the numerous exhibitions, concerts, spectacular fireworks displays, sports events and fairs held in the park.
The Palace burnt down on the night of November 30th 1936 in a blaze that was seen right across London.
Although, the Crystal Palace has long since gone, the remaining original terraces and their retaining walls can still be seen to this day.
Until the early 1970s, motor racing was a regular feature in the busy calendar of the park's events. Motor legends such as Stirling Moss were often known to race round the track. Scenes from Michael Caine's classic movie, The Italian Job were filmed in the park, including the famous blowing up of the van which gave birth to the immortal line, "You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"
Crystal Palace Park was arguably the world's first 'theme park.' It included the newly discovered and named dinosaurs. These were constructed in 1854 before the publication of Darwin's 'Origin of Species'. The dinosaurs can be found at the lower end of the Park and are surrounded by the same Jurassic geology that would have been present at the time of the dinosaurs.
The Park also contains a recently restored traditional hawthorn Maze, a Boating Lake, although boating no longer takes place. The park also hosted a children's farm, which although currently closed, is due to reopen as part of an exciting new horticultural and animal husbandry project.
The National Sports Centre was an addition to the centre of the Park in the 1960s. A Grade II* Listed building it is a classic example of 1960's modernist architecture. World class sporting events and concerts are still held here to this day.
Members of Mandy who have worked for Crystal Palace Park