Guided walks in Crystal Palace and Forest Hill this weekend

Walking tour company London Walks are offering a south London double-bill this Sunday, with a guided walk of Crystal Palace in the morning, and Forest Hill in the afternoon. This could be the excuse you need to nose round those stops just down the train line.

There's no need to book, just turn up, but you do have to pay £7 (per walk, we assume). Full details are on their blog. We wonder whether Brockley could be next on the list?

The Crystal Palace
Couldn't resist posting this wonderful postcard of the Crystal Palace

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whats the £7 for,why not just walk behind them.

Tamsin said...

To cover costs. Publicising a walk in a park they will have had to notify the local authority which incurs a fee and (if it's like Lewisham) will have to get public liability insurance before they can go ahead.

£7 does seem a bit steep, though. The history walk in the Telegraph Hill Festival (which starts off in the Upper Park) is free. But only because we did not twig until this year and until after the programme was with the printers that gathering people there for a guided tour of the area counts as "an event" in the park which we have to tell Glendale about and that and will cost us a £25 administration fee.

Sevenoakser said...

Not wanting to sound like an advert, but I've been on heaps of this company's walks - they are always, always terrific and well worth the cash. Would go if I didn't have to work Sunday. Curses.

Headhunter said...

Organised, guided walks in London are usually about £5-7, if it's guided then they have to pay the guide as well as the associated other costs.

I find the Crystal Palace really interesting - it was an enormous glasshouse, an amazing engineering feat of the time. they actually built it over some enormous old trees which were subsequently inside the building. Crystal Palace was also home to the fist public lavs in the world apparently! I remember my Grandad telling us as kids that when he lived in Highgate that on the day Crystal Palace burned down in 1936 a small crowd gathered on a hill in Highate somewhere to watch the flames and smoke which could be seen all the way across London. Amazing to think that a glass and metal building could burn so ferociously, but they think it was arson, as far as I know.

The 2 big water towers on each side, which served 2 build water pressure to feed the massive fountains and water exhibits in front survived the fire and remained as attractions in the area until the 2nd WW until they were purposely blown up to prevent the Luftwaffe using them as landmarks to guid bombers. Such a shame.

Crystal Palace station also has such a decrepit yet grandiose feel to it. It was obviously designed as a major gateway to what was proposed as an important attraction at the time. Shame they closed Crystal Palace high level station in the 1950s. I think the site of the high level station has been built on now.

oryx said...

Does anyone know if London Walks do these as a regular thing? I like the sound of the Crystal Palace walk but being a complete wuss would prefer to wait till the weather's better.

Re. the high level station - my partner has a book about that particular line, with photos of the station in the 50s. It looks magnificently spooky - apparently it got very derelict, with weeds on the track and a gloomy atmosphere. I don't know whether I've just brought out my inner trainspotter or my inner Goth.

We tried to move to the Palace as we both love it, but ended up in Brockley - though no regrets.

Sevenoakser said...

I get the London Walks brochures and this walk is one of their "from the repertory" walks - there are lots of walks they do every single week, but these special ones seem to be either one-offs to check interest (I can't remember seeing these two walks done before, so this may be the case in this situation, but I didn't used to live in the area and wouldn't have paid much attention before) or ones that they do every now and then, from the repertory just as they say.

I think on the website you can contact the owner of the company, who's a lovely guy, and he could tell you if it will be done again.

Tamsin said...

Occasionally the Crystal Palace High Level station has been re-opened for railway geeks to visit. And the tunnel is still there, behind huge steel doors.

The blaze could also be seen from Brighton. Glass and metal do burn, especially if the metal is coated in layer upon layer of flammable paint. I thought it was years accumulation of rubbish that caught light.

oryx said...

Cheers, Sevenoakser

Headhunter said...

May be you're right about the discarded cigarette. Seems that the true cause of the fire was never discovered but some believe it was a cigarette in the ladies tiolets which ignited foorboards initially, although some thing it was an electrical fault in ancient wiring. For some reason I remember being told it was arson...

Tamsin said...

Well, you are more likely to get sympathy if it is arson. Like the Vicar of St. Catherine's when it first burned down in 1913 - probably caused by a gas leak or the like but two suspicious looking women had been seen loitering in the vicinity the day before so it was obviously a suffragette outrage. With this stated as a "fact" it made the national press and a fund was set up that rapidly covered the re-building costs. Even got a donation from Queen Alexandra. Confessing to be careless with the gas would have got him nowhere.

Headhuunter said...

Sounds like the arson rumour partly persists to this day, a couple of websites mention it. I'm sure it was my grandad who told me it was caused by arsonists. He was a true Londoner from that period so probably got this from the general consensus view/gossip at the time...

Monkeyboy said...

I remember watching alexandra palace burn down. Lots of dark rumors about Haringay council torching it for thee insurance payout. Now there's an underused asset

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