This visitor’s guide to Crystal Palace — including detailed descriptions and many illustrations — offers a comprehensive overview of the glasshouse and pleasure park, together with descriptions of the special courts and galleries. It also offers a walking tour around the park’s thematic gardens. The Geological Illustrations and Extinct Animals are described, including the famous dinosaurs of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. Maps include both palace and park.
Why choose the 1856 edition?
The general guide was first published in 1854 with the opening of the park. It quickly went through several printings in 1854 and 1855, which the publisher called “editions”. When the 1854 edition first went to press, however, the palace and park were still coming together. (For instance, the fountains weren’t yet working!) The 1854 guide is more about hopes than reality. We chose to reprint the 1856 edition because the information accurately describes the park as visitors actually experienced it. Compared with the 1854 edition, the 1856 guide has more maps and floorplans, more drawings of exhibits, and far better descriptions of the gardens. The differences show how quickly exhibits evolved in the palace and park during its first few years. Later editions, such as for 1860 and 1862, were substantially revised. The 1860 edition uses most of the same images, though their quality is reduced; others are simplified, such as Map03 (above). Some important historical information was removed. Compared with other versions of the guide, the 1856 edition is special.
Compare the 1856 Guide to Crystal Palace with the significantly different 1871 edition of the Guide to Crystal Palace.
Other guides to Crystal Palace and Park exhibitions are available, too.
Samuel Phillips is the author.
Phillips, Samuel. 1856. Guide to the Crystal Palace and Park (London: Euston Grove Press), 205 pages. 2008 Facsimile of 1856 edition.
ISBN 9781906267094 (paperback)
Recommended price: £12.95 | $18.95
dimensions: A5 8.3 x 5.8 (inches)
dimensions: A5 210 x 148 (mm)