Our past board members and project partners have contributed significantly to the success of FCPD. Thanks to each and every one for their input!
Dinosaurs dominated my childhood reading and viewing habits – from the creatures of Conan Doyle’s Lost World and Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidar/At the Earth’s Core, to the Savage Land of Marvel Comic’s Ka-Za and the wonderful stop-frame animated creations of Ray Harryhausen (The Valley Of Gwangi left an indelible mark with its mind-blowing combination of jerk-motion Triceratops and live action cowboys…). They fed endlessly into my imagination and stoked my creative appetite for realising the impossible… so there’s a nice sense of completion in that my most recent art project – Ghosts of Gone Birds – set about the task of breathing life back into all the extinct bird species we have lost over the last 250 years through the imaginative power of painters, sculptors, poets and writers. Art vs. Extinction seems a fairly worthy fight to undertake. And when I’m not curating the resurrection of Laughing Owls and Red-Moustached Fruit Doves, I like to dedicate my creative energies to any other cause-related communications project that seems to challenge the usual way of the world – like staging music festivals inside book stores, opening up empty art galleries or reinventing Peanuts for the C21st.
I’m a local with a passion for all things dino-related, and the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs in particular. I’m an ultra-running enthusiast and spend half my waking hours plodding past our dinos in the park, as well as tipping my hat to their pals the sphinxes up the hill.
I first heard about the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs in The Usbourne Book of Ghosts, Monsters and Legends when I was a kid, and have been fascinated with them ever since. They’re not just utterly charming to see, but to me they represent the deep eccentricity of the British, and the have-a-go mentality of the Victorian era. Did Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen know exactly what iguanodons and megalosaurs looked like when they came up with the statues? No, but they gave it their best shot. Their Dinosaur statues are the spirit of the scientific method – the workings left behind for everyone to see even after the problem has been found to have a different solution.
I want our incredible Dinosaurs to be celebrated for the superstars of science that they are, and for the statues to be looked after and cherished for centuries to come.
I’m a university professor with expertise in the history of evolutionary biology and palaeontology. This includes Darwin and Darwinism. I’m fascinated with the period 1800-1850, when British geologists led the world in thinking about “deep time” – the idea that Earth has a long history, and fossils are bits from previous chapters in that history. This takes history far beyond science, into questions about the meaning and purpose of life on Earth. Indeed, the statues in Crystal Palace Park spoke to those questions as much as they illustrated some of the most exciting new discoveries of science in their day.
I’m a passionate advocate for the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs. In my day job, I’m Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology at University College London and Head of Department for UCL’s Department of Science and Technology Studies.
I was a Crystal Palace local. The park and its cultural heritage are close to my heart. I’m delighted to do my bit to help conserve them and to promote thinking about the questions they raise.
I am a museum education professional, currently working at The Grant Museum of Zoology and Brooklands Museum, and serving on the board of the London Museums Group. The reason I got into museums and heritage as a career is due to a genuine love of interpreting history and the view that you need to enjoy your job otherwise you’re wasting you time – a thought process that was initially stoked age 5 by Dinosaurs.
The first time I read about the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs was in a magazine in 1991 (appropriately called ‘Dinosaurs!‘), which featured cartoons about palaeontological history, including of course the Crystal Palace sculptures. Being a Londoner myself I found their nearby locality fascinating, as well as the window it gave me into scientific interpretation in the Victorian times. Fired by that same interest for well over a decade, I later worked at several dinosaur museums and exhibitions, gained qualifications in Prehistoric Archaeology and Museum Studies, and worked my way through the sector to the point where I can now help to actively contribute to the maintenance, interpretation and public enjoyment of the sculptures.
I joined Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs because I want to make sure that our local community assets are properly looked after. I was also Chair of the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway, a related heritage project in Crystal Palace Park, and CEO of EngagedX, a company developing market infrastructure to unlock more socially motivated investment.
I am an objects conservator experienced with hands-on conservation of inorganic materials, conservation methodology and material science. I am looking forward to helping with their preservation, which should make for an interesting challenge! Living just round the corner from the dinosaurs I see them almost daily, yet cannot imagine ever tiring of them.
I have previously worked at the Natural History Museum, the British Museum and the Imperial War Museum and am currently a preventive conservator at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. From 2010 to 2012 I was on the committee of the Institute of Conservation’s Ceramics and Glass Conservation Group and since 2009 I have given two annual lectures to conservation students at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. I have also been lucky to work as an excavation conservator in Tell Brak, Syria with the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge.
Examples of my previous conservation projects include the ‘Blaschka Glass Models’ at the Natural History Museum and the Neolithic Statues of ‘Ain Ghazal at the Institute of Archaeology.
I am Communications and Web Coordinator for Autograph ABP.
I’m a senior arts administrator with over 15 years of working in the public sector including significant experience of funding and managing major arts Lottery-funded building projects as a key member of Arts Council England’s Capital team. As such, I’ve worked closely with English Heritage, CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), Heritage Lottery Fund, regional funding agencies and local authorities on a range of heritage and cultural capital projects.
I’ve lived in the Crystal Palace area – only metres from the Lower Lake area of the park – for the past eight years and the longer I live here, the more I love the place and the people. Coincidentally, I also have links with Lyme Regis and the wonderful, dinosaur-centric Jurassic Coast through my family and being a trustee for a brilliant SW-based theatre company, Shanty Theatre.
So when I heard about the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, I was very excited to combine my interests, skills and enthusiasm and work with a hugely knowledgeable and talented team in the conservation and promotion of a major local cultural and historical asset – the CP dinosaurs!
I am the curator of the Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL and I have had a lifelong interest in palaeobiology and evolution. You can’t tell the history of evolution, science communication and palaeontology without the story of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs. In fact, you could argue that none of these disciplines would be as they are today were it not for the dinosaur court down at Crystal Place. Fortunately, these sculptures still exist so that the history of paleontological thought, with an emphasis on Britain’s contribution can be shown, not just taught. Because of their impressive stature and size it’s assumed that they are robust objects but at over 150 years of being on open display they need preserving and conserving as much as museum specimens. Seen today they may appear to hilarious outdated and old fashioned but these sculptures have more to tell us about the history, development and communication of science if you know where to look closely and carefully.
I am a biologist at the Natural History Museum in London where my group works on the evolution of parasitic worms through the study of their development, genomes and diversity. Although I’ve never specialised on dinosaurs, they have inspired me since childhood and were my first true fascination with the animal world outside of my immediate surroundings. Combined with an interest in the history of evolutionary thinking, a career at the NHM and a home in south London, the CP Dinosaurs are linked in some way to all parts of my life and I was delighted to join the Friends’ board in order to assist with their conservation efforts. The sculptures are a unique and important heritage asset worth preserving for future generations that provide not only a physical example of the very distant past, but also of Victorian natural science in its height of discovery. Through the Friends, I hope more people learn to appreciate the specialness of these installations and how they are linked to the Natural History Museum through its founder Richard Owen, to the British Empire through the spectacle of the Crystal Palace, and of course to palaeontology and the study of deep time.