Harrow and Hillingdon Geological Society
The Crystal Palace Field Trip was lead by David Lancaster who has also contributed to this page. He explained the history of how it came to be built, what its objectives were and how the final design was built.
We had a tour of the dinosaurs. These have been refurbished recently in their original form.
We then had a tour of the grounds. David painted a vivid picture of what they looked like originally. It must have been very impressive with its beautiful gardens and fountains.
David then gave us a talk on the fire, how it is thought to have started and its progress.
We finished with a tour of the museum. As well as the many artifacts and pictures they even have a Victorian viewer where original photographs can be seen in stereo.
The prehistoric monster trail was originally designed from 1852 by Professor Richard Owen as a theme park based on the history of the earth to be seen when the Crystal Palace opened at Sydenham in 1854. Owen worked with the sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse-Hawkins to create the reconstructions based upon fossils from the Natural History museum and comparative anatomy. The models caused great controversy but were supported by Charles Darwin's theories on the Origin of Species published in 1859. The models have been the subject of a major restoration programme and are now in the best condition that they have been for many years.