Planning application submitted for restoration works to the Crystal Palace Subway

Published Thursday, 8 July 2021

A planning application to undertake restoration and repair works to the Grade II* listed subway has been submitted.

Following the successful award of £2.8m grant funding from the City of London and Historic England and the appointment of award winning architect Thomas Ford and Partners, the restoration works are positively progressing.  Surveys and updated drawings have now been completed.  The planning application seeks permission to partially deconstruct and rebuild existing walls, ultimately constructing new parapet walls and a new roof structure.  

Once restoration work is completed, it is envisaged that the subway will be removed from the Heritage at Risk Register, securing the immediate future of the subway.

Consultation is now underway as part of the planning process.  The proposed new roof structure will be visible from Crystal Palace Parade, with the plans, including a new roof design, taking inspiration from the original construction, whilst also meeting the needs of this important site in the 21st century. The external materials of the new roof will be glass and stainless steel, with the gable enclosed with Corten steel.

Councillor Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal, Recreation and Housing said “The submission of this planning application for this Grade II* listed site is a product of our partnership work with Historic England and The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway.  The subway is treasured by many but is in a serious state of disrepair, with these proposals and the restoration works vital to securing the subway’s long-term future. The striking new roof design both meets the needs of modern-day challenges that the site faces, whilst also reflecting previous historic elements.”

A spokesperson of The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway, the key community driver behind the project said, "Over the last nine years we have been fortunate to work with a dedicated group of volunteers, enthusiastic supporters, and valued local funders. The positive collaboration with Bromley Council and support of communities and stakeholders has made this restoration project possible.

It has been wonderful to see the care, expertise, and meticulous work that has taken place on the restoration project so far and we are delighted to be working with such a dedicated team on this momentous project".

Clive England, the project’s lead architect from Thomas Ford and Partners said ‘’We are delighted to have reached this milestone in the project to save the remarkable structure that is Crystal Palace Subway. In addition to the essential repair and conservation work, which comes not a moment too soon for the subway structure, the reinstatement of a new roof over the east courtyard has been an interesting design challenge. The roof needs to address a number of critical requirements ranging from external appearance, to the use of the space beneath, to regular maintenance, whilst also being appropriate for the historic structure. Despite the apparent simplicity of the final design, many options were explored and arriving at this design has involved a lot of hard work from the whole project team - including valuable input from Historic England, The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway and Bromley Council. We are looking forward to finally starting work on site later this year”.

First opened to the public in 1865, the subway is partially located under Crystal Palace Parade, situated on the edge of Crystal Palace Park, where it adjoins with grant partners, neighbouring London Borough of Southwark.  The subway is one of the last remaining structures of the original Crystal Palace; it is much loved community asset with a dedicated Friends’ group and local and international following.

Following the outcome of the planning application, it is envisaged that restoration work could be complete towards the end of 2022 when the subway could also then open.  The subway will remain closed whilst these works are undertaken and a more sustainable future for the site is also secured. For further  information, interested people can visit and join the council’s mailing list to receive further updates.


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