Jump to content
WildBoyz

UK Crystal Palace Subway, London - April 2016

Recommended Posts

History

The Grade II Crystal Palace subway is a former Victorian relic that lies beneath the A212. The arched subway, which led from the High Level line and station into the centre transept of The Crystal Palace, opened two days before Christmas day, in 1865. Constructed out of plate-glass and cast-iron, The Crystal Palace was originally situated in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. The building was rebuilt in a larger and more elaborate form on Penge Common, near Sydenham Hill – an affluent area of London at the time. At the time the development, which comprised of 4,000 tons of iron, cost £150,000 (approximately £2 million today); this was an incredible amount of money in the 1800s. A second building, known as The Garden Palace which was based on the same design, was also constructed in Sydney in 1879. 

By the 1890s the popularity of the Palace had deteriorated considerably; it was purported that the condition of the building gave it the ‘appearance of a downtown market’. Bankruptcy was declared in 1911 and possession of the building passed through the hands of the Earl of Plymouth, until the 1920s when a public subscription purchased the Palace on behalf of the nation. Under the guidance of Sir Henry Buckland, Crystal Palace was restored to its former glory and it began to attract visitors once again. Nevertheless, despite the effort that went into the refurbishment, on the 30th November 1936 a catastrophic fire destroyed the entire building. It was reported that the fire started following an explosion in the woman’s cloakroom. Although over 400 firefighters arrived on the scene, they were unable to extinguish the ravaging fire. A few hours after it started, the entire building burnt down; all that was left standing were two water towers. These were later demolished. Somewhat ironically, The Garden Palace in Sydney was also destroyed by fire in September 1882; the only remnants of it that remain today are the sandstone gateposts and wrought iron gates. 

With Crystal Palace’s destruction, traffic on the High Level line quickly declined. However, the line was used during World War II as people used the former subway as an air raid shelter. The subway was fitted with 190 bunkbeds and chemical toilets. After the way, the High Level line was repaired following bomb damage, but the continuing decline in the number of passengers using led to its permanent closure in 1954. The station was demolished in 1961, and the old Palace site was redeveloped into housing in the 1970s. The subway, which manage to survive both the fire and demolition, still remains today. During the 1960s the old subway was popular among children as the old wooden steps were still in situ, meaning it quickly became a playground. By the late 1970s the subway was home to ‘Subway Superdays’, a society that organised cultural and educational days. The subway was finally closed to the public, except the occasional open day, in the 1990s, due to health and safety concerns. 

Presently, the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway aim to reopen the Grade II listed small underground space, for community use. Most recently, the FCPS received planning permission from the Council to reinstate a gate on the Southwark side of the Parade.  

Our Version of Events

After spending the night in London, we set off bright and early with good intentions for the day ahead. The old Crystal Palace subway was at the top of our list, because it looked pretty unique and there are rumours it will be reopened to the public very soon. For some reason, there seems to be less enjoyment in being able to see something that’s publically accessible, so we wanted to get it under our belts before we lost the opportunity to see it in all its abandoned glory. 

When we first arrived, access looked to be a bit problematic. It’s surrounded by palisade fencing, but that isn’t the main problem; after that there’s a rather large drop into the subway and we couldn’t see any obvious way of getting down there. You would think we’d have anticipated that, given it is a subway after all, but we didn’t. For a brief moment we discussed amongst ourselves how prepared we’d been, because we’d had the foresight to bring along a rope with us on this trip; however, we also made note that the rope was back in the car, on the other side of London. At first, we were going to have a crack at climbing down into the old courtyard but, because there was a park keeper nearby who probably would have seen us, we re-reconsidered this idea. 

Ten minutes later, after some quick thinking and waiting for the crowd next to a nearby bus stop to clear a little, we found ourselves stood outside the main gates of the subway. It looked spectacular inside, much better than all the photographs we’ve seen of the place; ours don’t do it much justice either mind, it’s one of those places you have to actually visit to experience it fully. Stood outside the locked gates still didn’t get us in, though, and the gap in the gates was tight. For those of us who don’t seem to eat, it was piss easy; for the rest of us, we had to strip down a bit and crack out a few hundred push up to shed a few inches off the waistline. Breathing in deeply was crucial… And not breathing out again midway through the bars was even more important! But, as anyone who’s ever squeezed through a tight hole will know, once the shoulders are through the rest is plain sailing. Gasping for air, we dropped into the old subway, and took in our surroundings. Inside, with the uniquely shaped pillars, patterned stone floor and red and cream brickwork, the atmosphere is phenomenal – if it wasn’t for the A212 above, it would feel like you’ve stepped into a different world. 

Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do and Husky.
 

The Crystal Palace

 

Crystal_Palace_General_view_from_Water_T

 

Crystal Palace High Level Train Station

 

Crystal_Palace_High_Level_Station_1908_z

 

1:

 

aDSC_0912_zpsxhx6yvwz.jpg

 

2:

 

aDSC_0841_zps0jr90n1i.jpg

 

3:

 

aDSC_0856_zpse8ghdcih.jpg

 

4:

 

aDSC_0874_zpsqsigy6ep.jpg

 

5:

 

aDSC_0877_zpstnaafmft.jpg

 

6:

 

aDSC_0880_zps3ez5cqde.jpg

 

7:

 

aDSC_0830_zps5w4qjpmb.jpg

 

8:

 

aDSC_0836_zpsi88srkqo.jpg

 

9:

 

aDSC_0838_zpspaaxv3xs.jpg

 

10:

 

aDSC_0858_zpsl9abihpm.jpg

 

11:

 

aDSC_0862_zps2hbw0b9b.jpg

 

12:

 

aDSC_0881_zps3hnhkwy4.jpg

 

13:

 

aDSC_0882_zps1fxmd81r.jpg

 

14:

 

aDSC_0886_zpsabci2ljf.jpg

 

15:

 

aDSC_0889_zpsaewp7cqy.jpg

 

16:

 

aDSC_0892_zpsz6mvvkur.jpg

 

17:

 

aDSC_0894_zpsh9rkcrpv.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write up and photos there, one of those spaces I really should pop into one day when I'm in London. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/23/2016 at 0:36 AM, Maniac said:

Great write up and photos there, one of those spaces I really should pop into one day when I'm in London. 


Thanks :thumb Definitely worth a little look inside if you're around that area. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Similar Content

    • By jones-y-gog
      First things first - this place is a death-trap. Simple as that. And it's quite likely to be worse now than it was when I went. But as I have a bit of an obsession about redundant old cinemas and theatres I left all common sense at the entrance.
       
      The building still shows signs of its grand past but sadly any possibility of saving it looks pretty slim, although a Trust has been set up to try to preserve it and bring it back into use.
       
      The four-storey building, designed by G. B. Rawcliffe, opened in 1894 as a music hall, before being converted to a cinema in 1938. It was last used as a bingo hall in 1995. 
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
      ^^^ Not sure about that!  
    • By shacklerurbex
      First vid upload for a while, although I have not stopped exploring.
       
      Should be more videos coming up soonish
       
      This gothic mansion was once owned by a doctor who released a mental health patient who sadly went on
      to stab an 11 yr old girl to death. I believe he was pretty much chased out of his home by locals (they may or may not of have had burning torches)
      Nice place though, there used to be more cars, but sadly there gone now.
       
      The car is a 1964 humber super snipe
       
      and yes I know I spelt doctor wrong on the vid title  god knows why
       
    • By Albino-jay
      This was my first ever trip down a mine. So a massive thanks to @EOA for making it happen and another massive thanks to @monk and his daughter for being excellent guides. 
       
      It was bloody awesome, I could've spent all day poking around the sheds at the top tbh. Underground however was just amazing. It's bloody big this place so a return visit over a couple of days with many more mine beers is a must. 
       
      History copied from the ever faithful Wikipedia. Obviously. 
       
      Maenofferen was first worked for slate by men from the nearby Diphwys quarry shortly after 1800. By 1848 slate was being shipped via the Ffestiniog Railway, but traffic on the railway ceased in 1850. In 1857 traffic resumed briefly and apart from a gap in 1865, a steady flow of slate was dispatched via the railway. The initial quarry on the site was known as the David Jones quarry which was the highest and most easterly of what became the extensive Maenofferen complex.
      In 1861 the Maenofferen Slate Quarry Co. Ltd. was incorporated, producing around 400 tons of slate that year. The company leased a wharf at Porthmadog in 1862 and shipped 181 tons of finished slate over the Ffestiniog Railway the following year.
      During the nineteenth century the quarry flourished and expanded, extending its workings underground and further downhill towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. By 1897 it employed 429 people with almost half of those working underground. The Ffestiniog Railway remained the quarry's major transport outlet for its products, but there was no direct connection from it to the Ffestiniog's terminus at Duffws. Instead slate was sent via the Rhiwbach Tramway which ran through the quarry. This incurred extra shipping costs that rival quarries did not have to bear.
      In 1908 the company leased wharf space at Minffordd, installing turntables and siding to allow finished slates to be transshipped to the standard gauge railway there.
      In 1920 the company solved its high shipping costs by building a new incline connecting its mill to the Votty & Bowydd quarry and reaching agreement to ship its products via that company's incline connection to the Ffestiniog Railway at Duffws.
      Modern untopping operations at Maenofferen. The uncovered chambers of the Bowydd workings are clearly visible
      In 1928 Maenofferen purchased the Rhiwbach quarry, continuing to work it and use its associated Tramway until 1953.
      When the Ffestiniog Railway ceased operation in 1946, Maenofferen leased a short length of the railway's tracks between Duffws station and the interchange with the LMS railway, west of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Slate trains continued to run over this section until 1962, Maenofferen then becoming the last slate quarry to use any part of the Ffestiniog Railway's route. From 1962 slate was shipped from the quarry by road, although the internal quarry tramways including stretches of the Rhiwbach tramway continued in use until at least the 1980s.
      The quarry was purchased by the nearby Llechwedd quarry in 1975 together with Bowydd, which also incorporated the old Votty workings: these are owned by the Maenofferen Company. Underground production at Maenofferen ceased during November 1999 and with it the end of large-scale underground working for slate in north Wales. Production of slate recommenced on the combined Maenofferen site, consisting of "untopping" underground workings to recover slate from the supporting pillars of the chambers. Material recovered from the quarry tips will also be recovered for crushing and subsequent use.
       
      Anyway onto my poto’s
       

       

       

       

       

       

       
      My first ever photo down a mine.
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • By Serenity4
      After discovering this place,  reading a news article I decided to take a look. Theres not a great deal of history on this place other than the fact it was used as a home for ww2 soldiers after coming  back from war. It's been home to several owners of the years however the place has fallen into disrepair. The manor is currently up for sale. 
       
      The explore itself went really well, after making our way through the grounds and finding an entrance, we were greeted with a stunning pool, with paintings on every wall. As we moved further on we found a sauna, bar, a superb inside courtyard, a huge basement complete with model railway and what looked like a full size tank made of wood, whoever previously lived in the manor was clearly very creative... The vast majority of rooms have Been emptied out however a few furnishings still remain. We made our way onto the roof when we noticed a man walking down the drive towards the manor, we noticed him walk around checking through the windows before leaving again. Must have been looking after the place and making sure nothing was damaged. We didn't get caught however so that's a bonus!
       
      Since then we have been back however our original entrance had been sealed back up.
       
      PHOTOS: 
      https://500px.com/serenity4urbex/galleries/pool-manor
       
       
    • By Ferox
      Had a look at this place while in the area back in March. The cars where the main attraction for me and they did not disappoint. Excellent examples of cars left to rust and rot until they finally fall in on themselves. The rest of the site consists of stripped huts with some being more interesting and less bear than others. A relaxed and pleasant half hour. Visited with non member Paul.
      HISTORY
      Known as Prisoner of war camp 116 was built in 1941 and located in Hatfield heath, just outside Bishops Stortford.
      The camp mainly housed Italians until about 1943-1944 where it held German and Austrian prisoners aswell. It was known at one point the camp housed 750 prisoners
      The prisoners had a relatively easy lifestyle here (Unlike the English prisoners in the German POW Camps) and could do voluntary work in the near by farm land in Harlow, they were picked up by the Land Girls and each prisoner had an allotted farm where they would work at.
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
      Thanks For Looking
       
      More pics on my Flickr page - https://www.flickr.com/photos/135648593@N02/albums/72157678466406434/with/32853941973/
×