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Creepy Crystal Palace


Figure One. Stone Sphinx of Crystal Palace. Conway Library 

The Sphinxes and stone steps of The Crystal Palace are the ghosts of what was, haunting the Crystal Palace Park forevermore. The Egyptian mythical beasts were built the Crystal Palace when it moved to Sydenham in 1852 and have remained despite the 1936 fire destroying the cast iron and plate glass exhibiting place completely. The images in the Courtauld show a glimpse into what was the grandiose structure built to house The Great Exhibition of 1851.

However, the metaphorical ghost of the Crystal Palace does not exist as the sole haunting. In 1978 it was claimed by a woman that she fell through a hole in the ground while exploring the park. She alleged to have discovered a train carriage of Victorian skeletons. This claim was unsubstantiated due to no skeletons or carriages ever being found (Wiggins, 2021).

Yet her claims were not completely ludicrous. In the 1860’s a project known as the Crystal Palace pneumatic railway was founded, an experimental railway which was built. The demonstration line was built undergrounded and was only 550m long to take passengers between the Sydenham and Penge Park entrances but was open for two months.  (Wiggins,2021). This birthed lore that the Crystal Palace Park grounds enclosed an entombed train which trapped its passengers resulting in their deaths.  Perhaps pay a visit to the grounds, are you alone? 

Wiggins, D., 2021. The truth behind the tale of Crystal Palace Park's ghost train full of corpses. [online] MyLondon. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 September 2021].

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