28 February 2020
Many of the 30+ iconic sculptures of dinosaurs and other extinct animals depicted in Crystal Palace Park have large cracks in their bodies and limbs, and some are in danger of losing toes, teeth, tails and antlers.
The causes of the deterioration are not yet fully understood, but ground movement on the artificial islands which are home to the statues and changing water conditions in the surrounding lakes are suspected.
Despite major specialist conservation work undertaken in 2003 and 2016-17, Historic England, Bromley Borough Council and the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are once again very concerned about their condition.
By adding the much-loved sculptures to its Heritage at Risk Register, Historic England is raising awareness of their plight and is focusing attention on their repair and conservation. They will work in partnership with Bromley Borough Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs to ensure their long-term survival.
Future conservation work will be facilitated by the building of a new bridge in 2020 to the islands that will reinstate access for guided, up close-and-personal interpretation visits and maintenance. The bridge project, led by Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, was crowdfunded by many hundreds of members of the public, businesses, the mayor’s office, and council, and supported by Historic England.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “These wonderful creatures are in a state of disrepair and require significant conservation works. We don’t want them to become extinct again! By adding them to our Heritage at Risk Register, we can focus attention on them and ensure a lasting programme of repairs and on-going maintenance is carried out. Working in partnership with Bromley Council and the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, we hope to secure their long-term future.”
Councillor Peter Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal, Recreation and Housing said: “Despite recent investment and restoration works the dinosaurs are continuing to deteriorate. A radical new approach to their conversation is required to ensure they survive the next hundred years for everyone to enjoy, and we will be working closely with Historic England to build a specialist team dedicated to safeguarding these sculptures, the money for which will generated by the sale of sites on the periphery of the park, which are one of the subjects of the current planning application, which is before the Council. Their repair, along with their landscape, is a priority of the Crystal Palace Park Regeneration Plan for which the outline planning application will be determined this year. We invite the community to support this planning application to ensure that the funding and permissions needed are secured to restore this exceptional historic park.”
Dr Ellinor Michel, Chair, Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs said: “We’ve been working for years to improve the future for this site, which is one of the most important in the history of science, with the support of many thousands of Dinosaur friends locally and around the globe. Whilst it is distressing that the sculptures need to be called ‘at risk’, it is the best way for them to get the professional conservation work they need. Thank you, Historic England; the future suddenly looks brighter for the birthplace of ‘Dinomania’!”
We are also thrilled to have the support of Sir David Attenborough for our project: