Fountains in the Park, Crystal Palace, c. 1886


Joseph Paxton, the architect of the Crystal Palace, was greatly inspired by the fountains in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles outside Paris and tried his best to recreate them here.

The site was far from ideal as it was situated at the top of a hill and it was difficult to keep the water pressure high enough.

The largest fountains in the centre of the grounds, shooting water 200 feet in the air, didn't open until 1856 and were so expensive to operate that they were only switched on for special occasions.

In this view, taken from the lower terrace, in the left background is the Centre Basin containing one of the largest fountains in regular use with one of the smaller fountains in the foreground.

The building behind the trees is the Panorama, later the Rotunda.