Crystal Palace is famous for many things: A premier league football team, eco warriors, an active and vociferous local community and history, lots of it.
Crystal Palace came to be called so because the giant glass house which hosted the great exhibition of 1851 was relocated from its original home in Alexander Palace, to a woodland site at the top of Sydenham hill. This 'Crystal Palace' was become the centre piece attraction in a new commercial amusement park. Along with the Palace, in 1854 came the Dinosaurs. The Dinosaurs were the first sculptures of their kind and were made taking into consideration the most exacting scientific knowledge of the day. They were a marvel and pre dated Darwin’s ‘origin of the species' by six years.
The Glasshouse burned down in 1938 but the Dinosaurs remain in what is now Crystal Palace Park. They have been part of the fabric of many a south London childhood ever since. I remember as a teenager in the 1980’s hearing a rumour that you could hire out a Dinosaur to house a dinner party and that yuppies were doing this regularly having wild times and causing havoc. I seriously doubt if this is true but a good story, the idea of crashing one of those parties appealed to me greatly.
Bringing the story up to date our prehistoric friends have been very neglected over the years and are now in great need of repair, facing another extinction if action isn’t taken.
Aware of this, in collaboration with local charity “friends of Crystal Palace
local photographer Nik Strangelove undertook the ‘Dino island’ project. The project is a series of photographs shot up close and personal with the sculptures representing them in a new and refreshing way. The pictures are currently being exhibited here at Domali. A percentage of the sales will go towards the Dinosaur repair fund and donations can be made via this link.
Any sales or donations will be warmly appreciated.