(L.16) London Borough Of Bromley - Agenda Item 11: Crystal Palace Exhibition
7 September 2000













Leisure & Community Services

7 September 2000

Crystal Palace Exhibition

Director of Leisure & Community Services

Barry Walkinshaw, Chief Librarian & Head of Arts, Ext 203





This report gives outline details of proposals for a specially designed exhibition at Crystal Palace Park, linking the historic Crystal Palace with the new design proposed for the leisure site.


Planning consent for a temporary building to house the exhibition, which it is planned in the longer-term will form part of the refurbished Crystal Palace Museum, will be required.



The Committee Is recommended to:


Authorise officers to seek planning permission pursuant to regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992.


Approve proposals for an exhibition at Crystal Palace;




At its meeting on 1 June, the Committee approved a grant of £5,000 p.a. for each of the next two years in support of the Crystal Palace Museum, whilst officers work with the Museum trustees to develop a longer-term business plan that should help to secure the Museum's future. As an early part of that process, it has become clear that there will be a period, probably during 2001-02 when the existing Crystal Palace Museum will have to be closed. This will be necessary because of the construction work, adjacent to the existing museum site, to create the tunnelled section of the access road from Anerley Hill into the leisure development on the top site. During this closure period, the existing museum building will be refurbished as part of the overall restoration plan for the park.


These factors will mean that for an extended period [possibly a year] there is likely to be no access to the museum or its collections at a key time of development for the park project and the top site. As a result, proposals are being developed to produce an exhibition that will link the historic Crystal Palace, a leading edge design and construction for mid-nineteenth century with the new design and construction, again leading edge in terms of glass and steelwork, proposed by London & Regional Properties for the top site.


The exhibition will play a key role in gaining wider public appreciation and understanding of the significance of the original building in terms of architecture and engineering; and also, that the new building retains the same design tradition, albeit with considerable progress in the use of materials and form of construction. It will also feature material from the collections of the current Museum so that access to these is maintained and new potential displays are created.


The exhibition will therefore:

  • mark the 150th Anniversary of the first Crystal Palace (June 2001);
  • link the design concept of the first Palace to the new Palace, a Crystal Palace for the 21st Century;
  • illustrate the ongoing progress with the construction of the new Crystal Palace and compare this with the work on the original Palace;
  • display material on the 'Restoring the Vision' projects within Crystal Palace Park;
  • sustain the profile of the Crystal Palace Museum during closure and building refurbishment over the period 2001-02 and encourage use to transfer to the building once refurbishment is complete


At this stage in the process, a two-phased approach is envisaged for the exhibition, as follows:

Phase 1: An exhibition of approximately 40 sq.m to be housed in a temporary building while the Museum is refurbished. Admission will be free.

Phase 2: External funding to be sought, particularly from the Heritage Lottery fund, to double the size of the exhibition to approximately 80 sq. m. The extended exhibition will then be relocated back into the refurbished museum building to form part of the ongoing displays at the museum.

The intention will be to agree with the Museum Trustees, as the next stage in the process, this general approach and to discuss the potential for material from the Museum, which already has some 120 sq. m. of display, to be incorporated into both phases of the proposed exhibition. The inclusion of the newer exhibition material in the refurbished museum would contribute significantly to the presentation of information about Crystal Palace; assist in the re-presentation of some of the existing information; and add to the wider appeal of the Museum by enhancing its coverage in terms of currency.


As the existing Museum is to be closed for building refurbishment during 2001-02, the proposed exhibition will be held in a temporary building designed for that purpose, which will be located on the gravel area between the construction site for the new Crystal Palace and the major decorative flower beds at the entrance to the park at the top of Anerley Hill. In addition to the exhibition area of 40 sq. m, it is planned for the temporary building also to house:

  • Small auditorium for c.40 people for class visits, meetings, marketing receptions;
  • Entrance/Reception Area for visitors;
  • Kitchen/Toilet facilities for ancillary use;
  • Office accommodation;
  • Storage areas.


Initial research has begun to identify a suitable temporary building. A design brief for the exhibition has been issued to six design firms experienced in the development and presentation of modern exhibitions both in the Museum/gallery and commercial sectors. This is because the design work has a longer run-in time than the temporary structure. Therefore, six firms were invited to presentation meetings with a multi-disciplinary working group led by the Director of Leisure & Community Services. The purpose of these meetings was for the Working Group to undertake some assessment of the capability, creativity and quality outcome of the firms prior to issuing invitations to tender.


In the event, three firms responded to the invitation and were interviewed by the officer group on 9 August. Of the three remaining firms, two had replied to say that other work prevented their participation in the process. Following the presentation and assessment, all three firms were invited to respond to a tender for a fixed price project. Thus, the tenders, due for return by 4 September, are designed to establish the fee rate. The selected designers will be responsible for developing and researching the story-line of the exhibition, its presentation and creation, in fact, a design/build project.


The Scheme will be developed under supervision from a small team comprising officers involved in the Crystal Palace Scheme, the Bromley Museum and representatives from the Trustees of the Crystal Palace Museum. Once a Scheme has been developed, it will be reported to Members for their consideration. The outcome of the tender process should be known in time to report this to the Committee at this meeting as appropriate.


In terms of the temporary building to house the exhibition, it is intended to bring a further report to the next meeting of the Committee on 2 November 2000, but it would be helpful, at this stage if Members could agree the necessary first planning resolution for the temporary building so that this side of the project can be advanced in step with the design elements.




To be reported at the meeting.




The restoration and refurbishment of Crystal Palace Park, to which this project is linked, remains a major element of the Committee's Service Plan.




Funding for the exhibition is intended to consist of a package including the Council's Partnership Fund which has already agreed an allocation of £40,000; a contribution from the top site developer L&R currently under negotiation and funding to be applied for under the SRB funding programme. Together, these sources are expected to produce a total of £150,000 of which it is currently estimated that £40,000 should be allocated to fund the design and production of the exhibition itself with the remainder to fund the temporary building and other related costs.


Tenders have been invited from the exhibition design firms on the basis of a fixed price project to include a percentage for fees. Any payment to the selected tenderer would then be phased to comply with the agreed costing schedule and the contract itself would, in any case, be subject to a break-clause should insufficient additional funding be achieved for the temporary building.




None at this stage.




The exhibition is to be housed in a temporary building specifically designed for the purpose and will be dismantled when permanent accommodation becomes available.




Proposals are being developed, due to the closure of Crystal Palace Museum sometime in 2001-02, to create a specially designed exhibition to mark the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, which will also link that design to the new architectural proposals for the leisure site at Crystal Palace.


The exhibition is planned to be housed in a temporary building, particularly whilst refurbishment of the existing Museum building is in progress over 2001-02 and planning permission is necessary due to the nature of this building and its setting. The longer term aim is for the exhibition to form part of the permanent displays in the refurbished museum.

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