London truly is full of hidden gems. Following a £50,000 fundraising drive, this incredible Victorian subway in south London might be reopening to the public. Held up by intricate pillars, patterned with orange and white bricks, this incredible secret Grade II vaulted walkway is tucked away at the edge of Crystal Palace Park, just behind an ordinary park gate.
The 150-year-old subway first opened in 1865 to create access to Crystal Palace for first-class passengers, but after the Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire in 1936, passenger numbers for the train station dwindled and fell to almost nothing during the Second World War. The subway was then turned into an air raid shelter which was then demolished in 1961 following its deterioration after the war. This left the subway unused…except for becoming an unofficial children’s playground…and then an illegal rave spot for partygoers.
While it shut about 20 years ago due to safety concerns, the subway opens once a year for a guided open house event, with hundreds of people applying for tickets. Now, thanks to the Friends of Crystal Palace Subway group, £50,000 worth of donations have been made for a new iron gate in order to make the entrance structurally sound so that people can enjoy the space.
The group will continue to raise funds to pay for further works and activities inside the subway!
Featured Image Credit: Flickr