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Latitude: 51.4178 / 51°25'3"N
Longitude: -0.0673 / 0°4'2"W
OS Eastings: 534487
OS Northings: 170523
OS Grid: TQ344705
Mapcode National: GBR HN.KP3
Mapcode Global: VHGRD.SM8H
Entry Name: Prehistoric Animal Sculptures, Geological Formations and Lead Mine on Islands and on Land Facing the Lower Lake
Listing Date: 29 June 1973
Last Amended: 6 August 2007
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1067798
English Heritage Legacy ID: 358429
Location: Bromley, London, SE19
Electoral Ward/Division: Crystal Palace
Built-Up Area: Bromley
Traditional County: Surrey
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London
Church of England Parish: Anerley Christ Church and St Paul
Church of England Diocese: Rochester
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 12/08/2011
CRYSTAL PALACE PARK SE19
PENGE / BECKENHAM
PREHISTORIC ANIMAL SCULPTURES, GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS AND LEAD MINE ON ISLANDS AND ON LAND FACING THE LOWER LAKE
(Formerly listed as:
CRYSTAL PALACE PARK SE19
PENGE / BECKENHAM
27 PREHISTORIC MONSTERS ON ISLANDS AND
ON LAND FACING THE LOWER LAKE)
Sculptures of prehistoric animals with associated geological strata including lead mine. Constructed between 1852 and 1855 for The Crystal Palace Company on a twenty acre site.
The prehistoric animals were constructed out of re-constituted stone on a framework of iron rods on brick plinths by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, an artist and sculptor who specialised in natural history subjects, with advice on their authenticity by Sir Richard Owen. The associated geological strata and lead mine were probably laid out by David Thomas Ansted, consulting geologist, but constructed by James Campbell using geological rocks. The landscape was designed to represent the geology of Britain from the Primary (Pre-Cambrian and Lower Palaeolithic) rocks through the Secondary (Upper Palaeolithic-Upper Cretaceous) and Tertiary (Tertiary and Quaternary) eras with economic rocks, geological structures and reconstructions of associated animals and reptiles on the lakeside and islands.
To the south west of the site facing the lower lake is a cliff constructed to illustrate the coal formation with old red sandstone at the base, new red sandstone above and mountain limestone and millstone grit above this. To the south west of this is a thre quarters scale representation of a Derbyshire lead mine with cave complete with stalactites. To the east is the Secondary island illustrating the Secondary era with geological features including tilted red sandstone and in turn Lias Oolite and Wealden rocks, surmounted by chalk at the head of the island. On top of the rocks are reconstructions of animals recovered from these geological formations, two Dicynodonts and three Labrinthodonts from New Red Sandstone, three Icthyosaurs and three Plesiosaurs from the Lias, two Teleosaurus, two Pterodactyls re-constructed in fibreglass of the Oolite and Chalk, one Megalosaurus from Stonefield Slate and its prey from the Weald, two Iguanodons and one Hyaelosaurus and the chalk marine monster Mosasaurus. Originally the lake water rose and fell as the park fountains played, alternately submerging and revealing the aquatic animals. Separated from the Secondary island by a weir is the Tertiary island with animals placed on a geological backdrop of worked aggregates representing this era's relatively unconsolidated rocks. These comprise two Palaeotheriums and three Anoplotheriums from the Paris basin, one Megatherium from South America and four Megaceros or "Irish Elk". Further planned reconstructions for the Secondary era and none of the Primary era were ever constructed becase the project ran into financial difficulties and was terminated in 1855.
STATEMENT OF IMPORTANCE: This was the first attempt to accurately re-construct the three dinosaur species known to the scientific world by the 1850s within their geological environment and the sculptures and associated geological strata form a unique display of the state of palaeological understanding in the 1850s, opened five years before the publication of Darwin's "Origin of Species". Of exceptional historic interest in a national and probably international context.
[Samuel Phillips "Guide of the Crystal Palace Park" 1854.
"Country Life" 14th Nov 1968.
Steve McCarthy and Mick Gilbert "The story of the world's fist prehistoric sculptures" Published by The Crystal PAlace Foundation 1994.
Various publications by Peter Doyle 1993-2002.]
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