Open House: Crystal Palace Subway October 06, 2016 21:10

Crystal Palace SubwayUncovering hidden gems and breathing new life and purpose into them is part and parcel of Denys & Fielding. We love reworking thirties and forties dress prints into totally new items for the home and garden. Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. Nothing beats an afternoon out exploring open gardens, old buildings, antique shops and flea markets. So when Crystal Palace Subway opened its doors as part of the Open House Weekend last month, Cat was there like a shot.

Crystal Palace High Level station opened in 1865 to transport the upper and middle classes to The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace. However, the station didn’t serve as many people as predicted so when the Exhibition burnt down in 1936 and traveller numbers declined further, the station subsequently shut its doors in 1954. It was then demolished in the 1960's. 

But the story doesn't end there. What remains, hidden and out of sight, is a beautiful Victorian subway, propping up the very busy A212.  

Cat and Simon have wanted to visit the Subway ever since living they first lived together in the 'cave' flat in Crystal Palace. They even spoke about how great it would be to get married and have their wedding reception in the subway (I'll be honest, I was sceptical. They had been living in an underground flat. Back then, fresh air was optional. I had visions of some underground hell hole. How wrong was I?). Anyway, it wasn't an option. After a swift reintroduction to life above ground and nine years later, Cat & Simon made it into the Subway for a mooch.

And it was worth the wait.

Thanks to the Open House Weekend, guides were on hand to advise on the history, architecture and design of the Subway. Or you could just wander around at your own pace.

The Friends of Crystal Palace Railway are doing their utmost to get the subway reopened so people can enjoy it all the time. Typical of Crystal Palace. People who live in and around the area have a real love for this little part of London. My sister included. And who can blame them? Leafy parks, quirky independent shops and kooky cafes sit above ground while beautiful, hidden chambers lie underneath. Proof that everyday inspiration is on (or under) the doorstep. You just have to look.