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Introduction & Index
History Of Crystal Palace Park

History Of The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Sculptures

Professor Richard Owen created these giant lizards in 1852 based on the best scientific information available to hopefully provide both drama and education for people visiting the park. The completion of the specimens was celebrated by a dinner-party of 22 distinguished members of society, which took place in the stomach of the partly completed Iguanodon on December 31, 1853. This photo taken in 1854 shows the dinosaurs shortly after they had been installed. The sculpting of the Dinosaurs was handled mainly by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. Owen used the known parts of the skeleton to estimate the size and overall shape of these dinosaurs, and Hawkins sculpted life size models following Owen's directions. Hawkins' dinosaurs were a prime attraction at the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1853-54, an event which heralded British industrial ingenuity and power, and marked the founding of the World's Fair movement that continued through the 1980's.



The Crystal Palace Ablaze

The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park to hold the Great Exhibition of 1851. In 1852 the building was taken down and moved to an estate at Sydenham Hill, overlooking a new park. The land below the palace was terraced with grand stone steps guarded by sphinxes. The palace was enlarged with water towers being added at each end. There were waterworks and fountains. In the park below a lake with islands was home to Hawkins' dinosaurs which were arrayed in the surrounding gardens. A stroll through the dinosaur islands was soon a popular part of a visit to this first large, iron girder and glass building, and public awareness of dinosaurs sky-rocketed. The palace was home to many events and exhibitions until it was destroyed by a disastrous fire in December 1936


Anaplotherium | Ichtheosaurus | Iguanodon | Megalosaurus | Megalocerus | Megatherium | Mosasurus | Paleotherium | Plesiosaurus | Pterodactylus