Historic life-size dinosaur sculptures in Crystal Palace added to at-risk register | UK News
Historic life-size dinosaur sculptures in London’s Crystal Palace are at risk of an extinction of their own – and could lose teeth, tails and toes.
The 30 figures were put up in the park in the 1850s and are grade 1 listed, but after large cracks were found they have been put on Historic England’s “at risk ” register.
It is thought ground movement on the artificial islands where the sculptures stand could be to blame – as well as changing water levels in the surrounding lakes.
When the sculptures by Benjamin Waterhouse were unveiled in 1852-3 the word dinosaur had only been around for 10 years and bringing them to life was considered radical.
They stand in chronological order and supporters say the site was “the birthplace of Dinomania”.
“These wonderful creatures are in a state of disrepair and require significant conservation works. We don’t want them to become extinct again!” said Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England.
“By adding them to our Heritage at Risk Register, we can focus attention on them and ensure a lasting programme of repairs and ongoing maintenance is carried out.”
The register identifies the historic sites in England which are most in danger of being lost.
Extensive conservation work was carried out in 2003 and 2016-17 but a major project is thought necessary to understand the full reasons for their deterioration.
Dr Ellinor Michel, chair of the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs group, said: “We’ve been working for years to improve the future for this site, which is one of the most important in the history of science, with the support of many thousands of dinosaur friends locally and around the globe.
“Whilst it is distressing that the sculptures need to be called ‘at risk’, it is the best way for them to get the professional conservation work they need.
“Thank you, Historic England; the future suddenly looks brighter for the birthplace of ‘Dinomania’.”
Historic England is planning to work with the group and Bromley Council to try to save the sculptures.