Crystal Palace, London, England, ca 1915
Shown on this postcard is the Crystal Palace in London, England. W. Straker, Ltd. of London, an Office Supplies and Stationery Company founded in 1863 produced the card. Like many companies that sold stationery W. Straker also printed cards. This black & white postcard is dated ca 1915.
The Crystal Palace was commissioned for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Joseph Paxton, who was primarily a gardener, designed the cast-iron and plate-glass structure. Paxton planned a layout of gardens, fountains, terraces and cascades but these all required thousands of gallons of water that proved too heavy for the original water tanks and they collapsed. Isambard Kingdo Brunel, an engineer, was consulted to solve the problem and he came up with the two giant water towers shown on either side of the building. Each tower supported water that was gathered from three reservoirs. The Queen who was present when the fountains and cascades were opened got wet when a gust of wind blew spray over the royal carriage.
The name came about as a result of an article written by playwright Douglas Jerrold who referred to the 1851 Exhibition a “palace of very crystal.” The name was repeated so often that it was called that even before the project had been approved. The Palace was erected in Hyde Park for the exhibition and stayed there until 1854 when it was rebuilt in an enlarged form on Penge Common. It was there until it was destroyed by fire in 1936. In 2013 there was a proposal to re-build the Crystal Palace but it was cancelled in 2015. The park, however, still contains the Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins’s Crystal Palace Dinosaurs from 1854. Hawkins was an English sculptor and natural history artist. The 33 life-sized dinosaur models at the Crystal Palace Park were made using the most modern scientific knowledge of that time and created a sensation at the exhibition.
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