Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In the decades following the re-erection of the Crystal Palace in Sydenham, its management grappled with the pressures for an enabling development of middle-class villas to offset the mounting expenses associated with their 'moral enterprise'. Although the financial problems of the Crystal Palace Company are noted in the various and plentiful histories of the Park, its involvement in the creation of a park villa housing development has been neglected. Yet it was in houses such as these that the Victorian middle-class 'ideal' of domesticity and family roles was lived out. However, unlike other designed parks, the villas were not included in the initial park design and in villa development terms were constructed relatively late - in the 1870s. As a consequence, this microcosm of villas and values was short-lived, as by the early twentieth century, such large residences were increasingly considered too large and costly to run. This article seeks to restore this foray into housing development to the history of the Crystal Palace Company and its Park and place this, its other moral enterprise, in the context of broader economic and social changes. © The London Journal Trust 2008.

Original publication




Journal article


London Journal

Publication Date





21 - 39