Crystal Palace station

crystal palace station

I passed through Crystal Palace Station last week on my way to Streatham Hill and was so struck by the building that I had to go back some days later to look at it properly. The picture above with its lines and curves, arches and stairs, reminds me somewhat of this picture by Escher.

The enormous cathedral-like structure with great arches and wide stairways was opened in 1854 to take what were obviously very large crowds to the relocated Crystal Palace. Its grandeur is now entirely out of scale to its importance in the railway system and it was empty and silent. It’s one of those spaces which invites whooping to test whether there is an echo. Yes, the echo is excellent.

There are two stairways (of which this is one) which are fenced off at the top and lead out, through small arches into a wide vacancy between the two remaining sets of tracks which is home to a potentially fine crop of hay. Apparently this used contain sidings and the whole area was covered between the red brick retaining walls by an elegant dual bow-spring arch iron roof. It must have looked spectacular.

One particularly endearing feature (if my presumption of purpose is correct) is the placing of a parallel handrail below those at adult height which I can only guess were designed for children to use. I can’t remember seeing such a thing anywhere else.


I went with Neha, who continues to bear my efforts to learn how to take pictures of people with great patience.


She writes poetry as well as modelling. However she wasn’t the most-photographed subject of the day. That honour has to go to Arun.

ooooo! arun omar

Two months old and he’s smiling, laughing, copying facial expressions like a pro (this is “oooooooh”) and generally behaving exactly as the perfect baby should. I realised that if I’m ever a grandmother I’m going to be a nightmare. I wrestled him from his mother‘s arms the moment I spotted her and only handed him back with great reluctance several hours later.

5 Replies to “Crystal Palace station”

  1. God that first pic is so gorgeous and sort of sepia. It conjures up quite a strange atmosphere. Almost eery, but somehow actually quite ressuring. So empty…

  2. They are wonderful! And your people pics are great too.
    You must be god’s gift to any mother if you take their babies off them so eagerly!

  3. Thank you very much y’all 🙂 It’s such a great space. They ought to have exhibitions and concerts there.

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