Plans to restore the amazing subway underneath part of the Crystal Palace has been given a boost by the local council.

The subway was built to link the Crystal Palace exhibition centre with the since demolished High Level railway station, but only for 1st class passengers. Everyone else traipsed around the hill to get to the Palace.

Although the Palace burned down, and lacking customers, the railway closed down, the subway clung on, being too marvelous to fill in, and of some use, for WW2 shelters, and later for filming.

Today the subway remains marvelous, but the staircase leading to it and the formerly grand foyer with it’s glass roof is a ruin. Occasionally opened to the public, there’s been a long term ambition to restore it to the point that it can be opened as a permanent visitor attraction.

Likely to be a community building in the foyer area, with the subway to the rear to visit.

The full restoration is expected to cost around £3.1 million, and the Mayor of London’s Strategic Investment Pot has already committed £2.3 million towards the works.

At the moment, Bromley Council, which owns the site, expects to receive £500,000 from Historic England and is applying for £296,000 from TfL, as the subway runs under a main road, with £5,000 coming from the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway.

The exact details of the restoration are still being worked out, and issues such as restoration of the glass roof over the main staircases is still being discussed.

The council said that once the restoration is complete the Subway is planned to become a new cultural destination for South London.

The restoration will also allow the council to start looking for a commercial partner for the site, who would fund the cost of visitor facilities at ground level linked through to the Subway.

The subway restoration is part of a wider £40 million investment in revamping the whole of the Crystal Palace, which is partly funded by the sale of new housing on council owned land along the edges of the park.


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