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VICTORIAN INVENTIONS | BELVEDERE | 1930s | MANSARD FLATS

Engineering feats
Park Court owes its history to two great engineering feats: the railways and the Crystal Palace. Read on below to find how it all started, or click the navigation bars immediately above to know what happened next.

The railways
London exploded in size as the rail network brought previously rural areas within commuting distance of the Capital. Locally, the hamlet of Penge became commuter territory when the Grand Surrey Canal was bought by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company and converted into the Croydon to London Bridge railway – Penge West station occupies the site of what was the canal’s Scott's Wharf.

The Crystal Palace
The neighbourhood as we know it today owes its layout to the decision to relocate the Crystal Palace to south London after the Hyde Park-based Great Exhibition of 1851. The land now occupied by Park Court had once been part of Penge Common, but by the 1850s belonged to a country mansion called Penge Place. The Penge Place estate was sold to the Crystal Palace Company, who built a (much larger) version of the ground-breaking building along the ridge of the hill. The Crystal Palace – as rebuilt here – was the biggest building in the world.

Lawrie Park
The Lawrie Park area was formed when outlying portions of the Penge Place estate were sold for building in order to raise funds for the Palace. Crystal Palace Park Road, with its substantial Victorian villas, was a key part of that development.

It's ironic that since 2007 the Park’s owners (the London Development Corporation) have been proposing to build over the remaining open parts of Crystal Palace Park Road in order to raise funds for the Park’s restoration.


 

Links
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The canals and railways
Croydon Canal

LB&SCR

Suburbia in focus
Penge

Sydenham

Forest Hill

The Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace Museum