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Video: The Crystal Palace is destroyed

A marvel of the Victorian era, the Crystal Palace was destroyed in a fire on November 30th, 1936.

Dean Nicholas | Published 30 November 2015

Opened by Queen Victoria for the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Crystal Palace, a vast steel-and-glass structure designed by Joseph Paxton, was originally sited in Hyde Park. When the Exhibition ended, the Palace was bought up by a private company, dismantled and moved to Sydenham, south-east London, where it was re-built as the centerpiece of an expansive new garden, complete with (inaccurate) models of dinosaurs. Despite these attractions the 'Acropolis of Empire' was not a financial success, despite a dedicated railway line from central London ferrying visitors to it, and was eventually purchased by the government in 1909. 

On November 30th 1936, a fire began in the cloakroom. The flames spread quickly, aided by strong winds and the timber flooring used throughout, and the entire building was soon destroyed. 


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