Unique Crystal Palace Dinosaurs Declared “At Risk”

By |2024-01-17T13:39:09+00:00February 28th, 2020|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Crystal Palace Prehistoric Animals Declared at Risk by Historic England

The world-famous, Grade I listed dinosaurs and the other prehistoric animals on display at Crystal Palace Park (south London), have been added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.

Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

The now, very much inaccurate but at the time they were constructed more than 160 years ago, state-of-the-art depictions of long extinct creatures, are cracking and showing signs of distress.  Dinosaurs, pterosaurs, marine reptiles and examples of ancient mammals are in danger of losing toes, tails and teeth.

One of the Iconic Megalosaurus Statues at Crystal Palace

The Megalosaurus dinosaur at Crystal Palace Park.
The Megalosaurus statue at Crystal Palace a dinosaur from 1854.  This sculpture and the other prehistoric animals at the Park have been added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Deterioration of Iconic London Landmarks

In a press release from Historic England, it was stated that the cause of the deterioration of these iconic London landmarks was not understood, but ground movement on the artificial islands upon which many of the 30 statues are sited could be to blame.

By adding these impressive, life-size sculptures to the Heritage at Risk Register, Historic England is raising awareness of their condition and is focusing attention on their conservation and repair.  Bromley Council will be taking the lead as part of a major regeneration project centred on Crystal Palace Park.

The statues, created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, with the guidance of Richard Owen, were originally put on display as part of “The Great Exhibition”.  Since, their relocation to Crystal Palace the sculptures have fallen into disrepair.  Extensive conservation and restoration work in 2003 and in 2016/2017 was undertaken with the support of the Office of the Mayor of London and the National Lottery.

With the dinosaurs and their fellow exhibits added to the Heritage at Risk Register, Historic England and Bromley Council can focus on their repair and conservation with a fresh impetus.

Marine Reptiles at Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Ichthyosaur.
A statue of an ichthyosaur at Crystal Palace Park, part of a display of prehistoric marine reptiles. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Visit the Everything Dinosaur website: Everything Dinosaur.

Commenting on the significance of this development, Duncan Wilson, the Chief Executive of Historic England stated:

“These wonderful creatures are in a state of disrepair and require significant conservation works.  We don’t want them to become extinct again!  By adding them to our Heritage at Risk Register, we can focus attention on them and ensure a lasting programme of repairs and on-going maintenance is carried out.  Working in partnership with Bromley Council and the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, we hope to secure their long-term future.”

The Magnificent Megaloceros Sculpture

Megaloceros statues.
A pair of magnificent Megaloceros statues. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

A new project to build a bridge to the islands will reinstate access for guided, up-close-and-personal interpretation visits and maintenance has been crowdfunded by many hundreds of members of the public, businesses, the mayor’s office, and council, and supported by Historic England.