Postcards from the Palace

This week we feature a series of Victorian-era postcards and a singularly notable piece—an admission ticket to the Crystal Palace dating back to 1857.

This isn’t any ordinary ticket; it’s a modest cardboard rectangle that once granted entry to one of the most famed attractions of Victorian London. On Monday, August 3rd, 1857, for the price of 1s. 6d., visitors could immerse themselves in a spectacle of culture and engineering marvel, all in aid of charitable causes supporting widows, orphans, and those in distress. It’s more than memorabilia; it’s a snapshot of social history, of leisure, charity, and the grand exhibitions of the age.

Turning to the postcards, we’re greeted by the grandeur of the Crystal Palace itself. They show images of the palatial structure, showcasing its glass facade and the intricate ironwork that held the massive edifice aloft. Printed in Germany—a detail made necessary by law at the time—these cards offer a glimpse into the building before it succumbed to flames in 1936.

This array of postcards and the admission ticket together tell a story that’s emblematic of an era. They evoke a sense of nostalgia, not just for a building that was once a beacon of the industrial age, but also for the everyday moments of the people who visited and marvelled at its wonders.

Pieces of history jukst like these are waiting for you every Saturday at Charing Cross Collectors Market. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or new to the fascinating field of historical ephemera, stamps, coins, militaria or collectables of all kinds, there’s always something to pique your interest and transport you to the past.