Letter: The vision of the Crystal Palace

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The Independent Online
From Mr Ken Lewington

Sir: Further to your article of 18 October ("Crystal Palace may rise from the ashes", 18 October) and subsequent correspondence (21 October), it would seem appropriate to draw the attention of your readers to the following points:

If Sir Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace is rebuilt using Millennium Commission funds, it will be at one of the four shortlisted sites, ie Derby, Birmingham, Greenwich or Stratford - not at Sydenham.

Any building erected on the Sydenham site must, in accordance with the Bromley London Borough (Crystal Palace) Act 1990 reflect the architectural style of the original Crystal Palace. Two earlier schemes (1989 and 1991) complied with this Act, but they were roundly condemned by the Royal Fine Art Commission and English Heritage as committing an "aesthetic crime" and making a "mockery" of the original. Lord St John of Fawsley described the proposals as "a petty, scaled-down mimicry of some superficial Victoriana".

Bromley has now submitted an outline application to the Heritage Lottery Fund prior to a full bid for pounds 8-12m to re-landscape Crystal Palace Park. 2001 marks the 150th anniversary of the Great Exhibition - the vision of Prince Albert, Sir Henry Cole and Sir Joseph Paxton. Crystal Palace Park deserves not only the superb restoration protect that has been proposed by Bromley, but also a building to stir the spirit, enrich the mind and transform the soul of south-east London as we enter the new millennium.

Yours faithfully,

Ken Lewington


Crystal Palace Triangle

Community Association


London, SE19

22 October