27 Prehistoric Monsters, Crystal Palace Park, Penge, Greater London

27 Prehistoric Monsters, Crystal Palace Park, Penge, Greater London
Photograph taken 16 August 1999 © Mr Robert Smedley. Source Historic England Archive ref: 358429

Some of these prehistoric monsters or dinosaurs were part of the Great Exhibition of 1851. After the Great Exhibition it was decided to find a permanent site for the Crystal Palace. Sir Joseph Paxton decided that a group of prehistoric monsters should form an integral part of the layout. They were positioned on islands and land facing the Lower Lake. This reflects the Victorian interest in prehistory and for a long time these models filled an educational need - so that people could see what dinosaurs looked like. In 1854, to celebrate their completion, a dinner was held inside the model of the Iguanodon. The 27 dinosaurs include: 1 mosasaurus, 2 iguanodons, 1 megalosaurus, 2 pterodactyls, 1 hyloeosaurus, 2 teleosaurus, 2 ichthyosaurus, 3 plesiosaurus, 3 labyrinthodonta, 2 dicynodonts, 3 Irish Elks and 5 unidentified monsters.