Help us re-instate bridge access to the Dinosaur Islands in Crystal Palace Park
The Dinosaurs
The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are a collection of 30 Grade 1 listed statues of extinct animals and 10 geological displays in the vicinity of the tidal lake in Crystal Palace Park. This section of the park was constructed in 1854 to accompany the relocation of the Crystal Palace from Hyde Park in south London following the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The site is of international importance as the first ever attempt to recreate extinct animals as full-scale, three-dimensional active creatures and as the first major effort at public engagement for science and entertainment.

The problem
Despite being much loved local and international landmark, the ‘Dinosaurs’ face a serious conservation risk. Many of the sculptures are located on an island that became hard to access when the original bridge was removed in 2017. Serious cracks and breakage of the sculptures have gone unmonitored, and grounds have not been maintained because getting on the site was expensive and impractical. We need reliable access for conservation monitoring, repair of the sculptures and grounds maintenance. As a local heritage asset we are also keen to enhance local volunteer and outreach opportunities at the site.
Our solution
As a charity dedicated to conservation and interpretation of the site, Friends of CP Dinosaurs launched a successful Crowdfund London effort in 2018 to raise money for a new bridge. It has been supported by the council, the Mayor of London, numerous professional societies, historical societies, working specialists including many conservators and over 600 individual contributors.

We have since worked with architects Tonkin Liu, engineers Arup and metal fabricators Cake Industries to design a beautiful and fit-for-purpose pedestrian bridge. We have support from the park’s landowner, London Borough of Bromley (LBB), and Historic England (HE), for the project and for our current design. We’d like to include your views as stakeholders in our next steps.

The bridge
We will reinstate a secure, lockable bridge to the Dinosaur Islands. We have selected the new site as being more sympathetic to the landscape, logistically easier and more appropriate to the narrative of the geological walk through time. The previous bridge location is no longer easily accessible due to the new weir and interferes with the landscape views.

Maintenance and conservation work is the priority for access using the bridge. Public access will only be in tours and escorted by responsible parties such as volunteer sessions. It will not be continuously open.

The bridge is constructed on a pivot to open and connect or close and disconnect. There will be strict rules (covenants) on when the bridge can be opened to limit numbers and avoid further damage to the sculptures. Historic England, Bromley (LBB), GLA and IDverde, the park maintenance contractor, will ensure there is enforceable control over security and access.

Please take a look at the proposed designs and plans and give us your views!

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