Crystal Palace and the Concrete Dinosaurs – the Original Jurrasic Park!

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In 1851, the Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park, London, to host the Great Exhibition.  This was a show-piece for the advancement of British industrial technology to a world audience.  After the exhibition finished, the British government ordered that the Crystal Palace – a structure of cast-iron and glass – be demolish.  However, its designer – Joseph Paxton raised the funds to purchase the structure from the government and move it to what was then called Sydenham Hill in Kent – now a suburb of southeast London.  This area was renamed ‘Crystal Palace’ and re-made into a leisure and sporting park.  It was opened in 1854 by Queen Victoria and attracted thousands upon thousands of visitors.  This project was a celebration of science, part of which was represented by the then fledgling subject of ‘Palaeontology’.  To this end – a full 6 years before Charles Darwin changed the world with his 1859 publication of his book entitled ‘On the Origin of the Species’ – concrete models of extinct mammals and dinosaurs were created by the sculpture and natural history artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, who was guided at the time by Palaeontologist, and Biologist Sir Richard Owen.  Knowledge of dinosaurs was in its infancy – but at the time no models had ever been made before for the general public to study.  The dinosaur models are big and were placed in and around man-made lakes amongst various foliage.  This may be considered a crucial step forward for the development of human science and the freeing of the human-mind from the ignorance of superstition and theistic religion.

Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

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