The scheme, backed by the London Development Agency, has been cautiously welcomed by Melvyn Harrison, chairman of the Crystal Palace Foundation. 'It will be good to see a tribute to Brunel and to the important past of the park,' he said.

The vast glass conservatory that stood next to the towers for decades and became an icon of the Victorian age was designed by Joseph Paxton to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Boasting nearly a million square feet of glass, the pavilion was quickly dubbed the Crystal Palace. After wowing the crowds in Hyde Park, where it was first erected, the whole building, along with much of its landscaped grounds and entertainments, was recreated on an even more impressive scale on Sydenham Hill in south-east London.

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Isambard Kingdom Brunel's water towers at Crystal Palace, once famed throughout the British Empire for their height and grandeur, are to be rebuilt in a remarkable plan which blends history with cutting-edge, green technology.

A major redevelopment of the south London parkland site will see the towers again dominate the surrounding area, just as they loomed for nearly 80 years over the pleasure gardens once described by Queen Victoria as 'a magical fairyland'.

The original towers, which were 280ft tall, fed hundreds of tons of water to showpiece fountains below and were completed by Brunel in 1855. The new structures will employ state-of-the-art engineering to draw in wind at their base to power internal turbines and generate electricity.
29 April 2007
Brunel To Tower Again Over Crystal Palace