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Secrets of London : Palace Underground

The Italianate brick design of the disused public subway at Crystal Palace Park.

Last weekend was Open House in London and I was lucky to win a coveted place in a public ballot to visit one of London's hidden secrets: The Crystal Palace Subway

Crystal Palace High level Station was opened in 1865 to serve the The Crystal Palace that was rebuilt in Sydenham, South London, after the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park. The public subway was built in a grand style to lead passengers from the station to the park where they would enter the Victorian wonder.

The subway was used as an air raid shelter during WWII.

After the Palace burnt down in the 1930s the station was used less and less until it was eventually abandoned and it was closed in 1954, 60 years ago to the day of my visit. The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway help educate and maintain the history and relics of the local area.

I'm glad I got to see a little part of London's history, usually kept hidden. 

The Palace was so popular on fete days it once welcomed 100,000 children in a single day.