A Grade II-listed Victorian subway in Crystal Palace could soon reopen to the public after more than 20 years of disuse.
Supporters of the 1865 structure want to transform the derelict space into a community arts and events venue, but need £10,000 more to realise their goal. The subway originally connected a railway station, now demolished, to the Crystal Palace exhibition building, which was destroyed by a fire in 1936.
‘Crystal Palace is a weird area as it’s named after something that doesn’t exist – the subway is the last meaningful part that still remains from it,’ says Jules Hussey, treasurer of Friends of Crystal Palace Subway. ‘I think there’s a real mysticism about hidden sites.’
The group’s proposal, which has had planning permission for two years, includes recovering the structure and fixing its steps, terrace and railings. Among the few additions is a new gate on the edge of the space, which sits on the border between the boroughs of Southwark and Bromley.
Structural engineer James Frith has been appointed to lead the project, and the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway are hopeful of making an announcement about its future ahead of the structure’s 150th anniversary on 23 December.
Adds Hussey: ‘We want to make it about art, culture and heritage as much as possible.’