Crystal Palace, home to cheeky dinosaurs, a floundering football team, and a pair of priapic transmitter towers, could soon boast a rebuilt version of the structure that lent its name to the area.
Plans are afoot to resurrect the Victorian cast-iron & glass building (pictured), originally erected for the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, before being shipped to Sydenham where it met a fiery end in 1936. We originally brought you this news back in the happy, bountiful days of 2006, when a credit crunch meant biting down ruefully on your Amex card after you'd maxed it at Brent Cross. Flash forward two and a half years, and the architect, Ray Hall, has now released images of the replica Palace, which, he claims, at a cost of £265m, could be rigged up by 2014.
The Panglossian Mr Hall predicts a resurrected Palace, containing an Edwardian funfair, exhibition spaces, cinema screens, entertainment area and hotel, could become "one of the UK's top tourist attractions". In addition, being virtually identical in design (if not scale) to Sir Joseph Paxton's original, it could prove the height of kitsch.
Will it get built? Mr. Hall is confident, and having spent the past twelve years on the project, you'd expect him to be. But local residents are not wholeheartedly behind the plans, and with our financial hardships only just beginning, funding may be hard to come by: a "major bank" is apparently on board, though with the current maelstrom, that's by no means guaranteed. The LDA's plan for Crystal Palace park includes planting trees over the building's site, a move that pressure group Build A New Crystal Palace strongly oppose.
It may still be a pipe dream, but the Palace is at least a half-step closer to being rebuilt.