Crystal Palace Subway 2021

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Apr 7, 2018
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Hidden under one of the busiest main roads around Crystal Palace Park is a cavernous, vaulted structure.

After the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, the Crystal Palace was moved to Penge Common in South London. To bring visitors to the new exhibition site, two railway stations were opened. Both were called Crystal Palace, distinguished by their location: Low Level and High Level. The latter was built into a ridge below the road on the opposite side from the Palace, and to allow visitors an easy route, a subway was built from the railway terminus.

The similarity of the subway to a crypt was no coincidence, as it was designed and built by cathedral craftsmen from Italy. Consisting of octagonal pillars, stone ribs, and a warm palette of reds and creams, the subway would have fitted with some of the exotic displays inside the Crystal Palace.

The fire that destroyed the Crystal Palace in 1936 rendered the High Level station practically obsolete, and it was eventually demolished. The subway survived, though, and took on many roles in the following years. During the World War Two, it was converted into an air-raid shelter with bunk beds and terrible chemical toilets.




That's excellent, have seen shots from here in daytime but looks dramatic with the light painting.
It has me thinking of the so well designed Moscow underground stations. There was also the Crystal Palace Pneumatic Railway, with the rumour of a buried underground coach. My mother - living at Carshalton at the time of the fire - told me she could see the flames and smoke of the burning exhibition halls.