This walking tour from Forest Hill to Crystal Palace Park — led by architect and researcher Marianna Janowicz — explores the architecture of the area’s most prominent public buildings. Highlights include the Arts and Crafts-style Horniman Museum and Gardens, RCKa’s landmark TNG Youth and Community Centre, and the Brutalist Grade II*-listed Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
A journey through styles and periods, this engaging and accessible tour traces the power and politics behind grand architectural ambitions including Frederick Horniman’s controversial tea trade wealth, the Baths and Washhouses Act 1846 which enabled the construction of Forest Hill Pools, and the London County Council’s ambitious postwar vision for a new Modernist centre of sporting excellence.
While many of these buildings tell similar stories of social reform and education they were all designed and delivered in very different ways with some founded by philanthropists and campaigners and others financed by private wealth or brought to life by public bodies. Clashing agendas and conflicts of opinion are also explored though discussion of the now demolished Sir Basil Spence-designed extension to Sydenham School, community efforts to save the Stirling Prize-nominated concert platform in Crystal Palace Park, and redevelopment plans for the National Sports Centre itself.
Providing a safe and fun way for enthusiastic urbanists to explore the city this walking tour is part of a new series responding to the core themes of the Open House festival and wider Open City programme.
Using live audio and image sharing, participants will use their smart phones to discover the extraordinary stories of the ambitious municipal projects of Sydenham and Crystal Palace.
Meet: Bandstand at Horniman Museum and Gardens (Horniman Museum address 100 London Road London SE23 3PQ). Duration 2.5 hours and 5.5 km approx. Tour ends at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Note: fairly steep uphill section towards the start of the tour.
Open City is a charity dedicated to making London and its architecture more open, accessible and equitable.
Open City engages all citizens, particularly from under-represented backgrounds, in architecture and city-making. Our programmes – from the Open House Festival and its international network, to our pioneering education projects – open up buildings, conversations and careers to those normally locked out of them.