One of the dinosaurs on Crystal Palace park island has been vandalised – and the offender or offenders could end up in jail.
Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs say the dinosaurs are Grade I listed then any intentional damage falls under the category of heritage crime, punishable by fines or incarceration.
BBC News say the nose and mouth of the Megalosaur have broken off.The Friends say there is “serious structural damage” to the Meegalosaurus and that on Friday (22 May) they also discovered that the antlers of the Irish Elk have been damaged, potentially by recent strong winds.
From Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs: On Monday 18 May we were alerted by a member of the public to serious damage to the Megalosaur statue. We are working with Historic England, the London Borough of Bromley (owners), and the Metropolitan Police to investigate the cause of this damage.
On Friday 23 May we also discovered that the antlers of the Irish Elk have been damaged, potentially by recent strong winds.
We would like to reiterate that public access to the islands is prohibited. The Dinosaurs are Grade I listed and any intentional damage falls under the category of heritage crime, punishable by fines or incarceration.
The Dinosaurs and landscapes are on the national Heritage At Risk register. The sad damage over the past week highlights the importance for the statues to be conserved, as without active input they risk being lost forever. This would be a huge loss to Park users, and the global community of Crystal Palace Dinosaur lovers.
We are extremely grateful to the individual who promptly alerted us of the incident and would request that park users get in touch with us if they suspect any further damage has occurred to any of the sculptures.
If you have information on the event damaging the Megalosaur on Sunday night please report it to the Met Police on 101, case reference 330949/20.
On the Friends Facebook page:
Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs Thank you as always to our Friend David Vallade for the illustration. Apologies for graphic content.
Other comments on the Friends Facebook page:
I’m so angry about this. Every time I walk by I keep wishing we could get back on there to plant and clear up, and some vandal has gone on and done this. Fuming. Great drawing.
Fabulous, spot on 👌🏻 If only the dinosaurs would do that to the mindless vandals
Comments on the Crystal Palace Local Facebook page include:
I can’t understand why there’s no security, patrol or cctv in the park- it just seems open to opportunist vandalism
Why can’t the area around the lake be locked down at night. We live next to park and can often hear motorbikes and parties in the park at nighttime.
As the Crystal Palace Foundation had these upgraded to Grade 1 some years ago my trustees are appalled at the damage done. Bromley Council agreed a maintenance plan some years ago but then reneged on it. Bromley really does need to take the heritage and upkeep of the park very much more seriously rather than wasting more time, money and effort on putting planning applications to move Capel Manor, removing the caravan site and building flats.
The future of the bridge is also questionable.
(Responding to Crystal Palace Foundation): Bromley is one of the better off councils too!, more than enough funds to sort the park and protect its heritage . They really need to step up 🙄
I saw it today and wanted to cry. It’s awful and I felt angry and devastated all at once. I have visited the dinosaurs since I was a little girl.
So after 150 year’s. Scumbags decide to ruin what many generations have come to enjoy.makes me sick.
From Ellinor Michel (Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs) in response to other comments on the Crystal Palace Local Facebook page:
The initial assessment and advice to report it as a potential criminal act was from England’s highest professional historic body
-the Met police took it extremely seriously and sent out an investigative team immediately
-an investigation is just that… looking for evidence
-people trespass on the islands all the time now
On your suggestions:
-there aren’t loose large branches in that area
-damage was from the underside
-the night it happened was not windy, it was very calm and beautiful weather without temperature extremes
-ground movement from trains is exceeding unlikely. The trains were built at the same time as the park. They are not very close to the sculptures. If they caused that much geomorphic movement the houses on ThicketRd and Orchard Grove would not be standing.
The most parsimonious explanation supported by visual evidence and comments from professionals in both heritage conservation and crime is that the sculptures are weakening from lack of conservation and unable to withstand rough treatment by people illegally accessing the protected site.
Further reading: Life-sized Crystal Palace Park dinosaur sculpture damaged BBC News website 24 May 2020