First housed in Hyde Park, the palace was erected on a temporary basis in the spring of 1851. After six months, and due to a lack of permanent planning permission, it had to be either destroyed or relocated. Paxton the man behind the Palace design used his own wealth, somewhat inflated from his shares in the original building, to source and purchase a common in Sydenham Hill, then known as Penge Place, and consequently as Crystal Palace Park.
As one can imagine the deconstruction and transporting of such a large structure was not an easy task. In total the rebuilding process took two years, and cost considerably more than the original construction. The new building, while incorporating most of the constructional parts of the Hyde Park building, was so completely different in form as to be properly considered a quite different structure – a ‘Beaux-arts’ form in glass and metal. The main gallery was redesigned and covered with a new barrel-vaulted roof, the central transept was greatly enlarged and made even higher, and two new transepts were added at either end of the main gallery. In 1854 the vastly expanded on Palace was ready to be officially reopened by Queen Victoria.
The Palace, and surrounding grounds, continued to crown the park for over eight decades until, on one late November evening in 1936, tragedy struck and an unconquerable fire broke out, reducing the building to rubble.