THE HISTORIC subway underneath Crystal Palace Parade could see public access for the first time in more than 20 years as part of September’s capital-wide ‘Open House London’ event.
Ray Sacks, a member of the Crystal Palace park community stakeholder group, says if the subway does open it will coincide with a photographic exhibition there.
He told the group’s first annual meeting that the subway neatly divides itself into two parts – the Southwark side and the Bromley side.
“But Southwark and Bromley don’t actually appear to have written down an agreement about ‘this is our bit, this is your bit. “They’ve assumed that what goes underneath is Bromley and above is Southwark.”
A planning application by Friends of Crystal Palace Subway to open the subway up had gone to Southwark. Access was being planned via the Southwark side of Crystal Palace Parade.
“There are two breaks in the long wall on the Southwark side of Crystal Palace Parade, one near Farquhar Road, the other about half way along behind which are some stairs which lead down to the Southwark side of the subway.
“The application is for access to that end of the subway and for the brickwork blocking the stairs to be removed. “If we have events there we have to make sure access through the second set of archways is taped off.”
Safety railings would be put up along the parapet on the Southwark side “to ensure people don’t fall into Bowley Close below” he added.
English Heritage would be paying for the first two stages of the planned three-stage project. The first stage would be to establish what was wrong – a consequence of the subway being open to the elements for so long. Stage two would be for a programme of works and stage three would be for tenders and getting the work done.
Stakeholder group chairman Martin Tempia said the Friends of Crystal Palace subway had done a “pretty remarkable job in getting things to this stage. “It will be an absolute gem again as far as the park is concerned.”
Stakeholder group member Annabel Sidney said the subway was hugely popular. One person on the recent walk led by fellow group member Tim Bellenger said the subway should not need a business case for keeping it open because it is a visitor attraction in its own right.
“It will be lovely to see it open so people can enjoy its splendour. “It’s a national treasure.”
POINTS from the annual report of the stakeholder group – which gives an in depth account of the various activities – include:
COMMUNITY CONFERENCE: Eleven priority projects have been identified for funding by the Greater London Authority and the park’s management board.*
TREE LABELS: 77 of the most historic and interesting trees have been labelled.
The labelling was carried out by a five-way partnership: Crystal Palace museum; the Metropolitan public gardens association; Capel Manor college; the stakeholder group and Bromley council with funding coming from the Metropolitan public gardens association. Bromley council covered the remaining costs of the project.
EDIBLE GARDEN: A grant from SUSTAIN, an alliance for better food and farming covered the costs of creating the edible garden in the museum grounds.Funds for edible plants were provided by Capital Growth. Lavender, a fig tree, vines, hops and raspberries have also been planted.
PARK USAGE SURVEY A park usage survey is being planned for this month to understand how the park is being used. To ensure comparability previous surveys will be recreated as much as possible.
VOLUNTEERS: The group is always looking for new volunteers. If you would like to get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org
*Full report of the conference can be found on the Sydenham Society website www.sydenhamsociety.com in the society’s Winter 2012 News page eight.
Further information on the stakeholder group can be found on www.crystalpalacepark.org.uk
(For a previous report of the stakeholder group annual meeting see our April 5th posting – NFCP.)
ENGLISH HERITAGE has approved a substantial grant to conduct condition surveys on the park’s sphinxes, say Friends of Crystal Palace Subway.
“The sphinxes are full-sized copies of an original housed in the Louvre, Paris, which dates
to Egypt’s 12th Dynasty ruler, Amenemhat II (1929-1895 BC)” say the Friends.
“These impressive replicas have welcomed visitors to the Crystal Palace since its original opening in 1854.
“The six sphinxes, arranged in pairs, stand on the south wing, the south
transept and the north transept of the Crystal Palace terraces. “They are
among the few remnants of the magnificent glass structure which succumbed
to the fire on the night of 30 November 1936.”
As well as conducting condition surveys a repair specification will be prepared for the conservation of the six remaining sphinxes and south wing steps.
Friends of Crystal Palace Subway say they hope this will lead to funding for conservation works to begin later this year.
For further info including photos of the subway go to: cpsubway.org.uk