The Crystal Palace 1854 - 1936 on Post Cards


Fred Peskett and Bill Tonkin

The book is in an A4 size with 326 pages laminated covers, and with many illustrations

It covers the post cards published from their beginning in the late 1890’s up until the end with the fire on November 30 1936.

This first impression has been printed in a very limited edition of 100 books

It is offered to members at the reduced price of 25.50 post free.

To non members the price will be 30.50 post free

The book can be obtained from Bill Tonkin

23, Bramley Way, West Wickham, Kent.


Please make cheques out to W. Tonkin

The printing costs of this book has been paid for by the Exhibition Study Group. This has been a non profit making and a non expense claiming exercise by the authors and all proceeds will go to the Exhibition Study Group Publishing Fund

The pictures on the cover have been chosen to illustrate various periods of the Crystal Palace history. The top court card issued in the late 1890’s is an artists impression of the Crystal Palace. any card before 1900 is scarce and not much more than a handful are known. The next card shows the Crystal Palace taken before the 1866 fire destroyed the North Transept and was one of several published by J. Russell in about 1904. The third view is of the Crystal Palace as seen from the Parade in the late 1920’s, while the last view shows the Manager Sir Henry Buckland at the scene the day after the fire.

The Authors have been working on this book since the beginning of 2003, and at last the book is finished and has been published by the Exhibition Study Group. When we say finished, this is perhaps not entirely correct, a book of this type is never finished. It would be more correct to say we have stopped to take breath. You have to set a dead line for this sort of work and to present it at the convention in 2006, the 70 th anniversary of the Fire and the end of the Crystal Palace seemed a good time.

While a few series of post cards published after 1936 are included we have not tried to cover the many cards published by libraries, art galleries, museums and other sources, as many of these only had a local circulation and were not publicised to any extent.

We have paid particular interest to what may be regarded as the commonest view of the building, taken from the Crystal Palace Low Level Railway Station. To our surprise we found all these post cards derived from about nine original photographs taken possibly by J. Russell over a period of years. He had a studio in the Palace itself and was on hand as it were. Each of the views were syndicated around the trade and the most common one from negative No. 4 was used by about 70 different publishers many who refrained from giving their names and may possibly have pirated the views without permission.

Another problem we have solved is how to classify the hundreds of different post cards sold without any publishers name or trade mark. It is essential when faced with a card and no clue as to the publisher or printer, to be able to find its location in the book straight away without going through page after page looking for an entry that matches it.


             © Exhibition Study Group 2007