However, traces of the station and the railway line that lead to it, have not been totally erased. If you've ever walked through Dulwich and Sydenham woods for example, you will have come across the tunnel portal there. Another stands at the end of Crystal Palace Parade beneath the turn into College Road. But perhaps the most exciting structure is the most hidden. Below the Parade is a subway which formed a direct link from the station to the Palace. Subway is too prosaic a way of referring to what could be mistaken for the crypt of a long vanished cathedral.
It seems strange therefore that this extraordinary space - I once heard to referred to as London's Alhambra - is locked away from public view, except on special occasions, (my birthday as it happens). The one-off reopening was thanks to the persistence of 2 locals, Jules Hussey and Karl Richter, who, over a pint one day, decided something had to be done, and set up The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway. In the great tradition of local campaigning, they battled hard against the twin dragons of local bureaucracy and health & safety. Thanks to the assistance of local volunteers, they were able to clear the site and make it safe enough for the powers that be, to agree to the opening. The longer term goal is to find an appropriate use for the site, and the funds for its restoration and development. While the vibrant Byzantine style cream and red brickwork of the vaults is in remarkably good condition, the rest, as you will see, requires plenty of attention.
|Karl Richter & Jules Hussey
|Karl & Jules with volunteers, Ray Sacks, Brian Abbs, Terence Smith, & Patricia Trembath MBE