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1900: Kids' choir sang at Crystal Palace

The Annual Choral Festival of the Tonic Solfa Association was held at the Crystal Palace on Saturday. At the juvenile concert in the afternoon 5,000 certificated singers performed under the conductorship of Mr T R Rayment. This year the singers were drawn from 63 choirs.

For the first time the boys of Cuckfield National School took part, having been coached by Mr Leonard Gibb. A party of 50 boys accompanied by teachers and friends left Haywards Heath by the 9.29 am train, arriving at the Palace at 11 o’clock. The concert, which commenced at 2.30 pm, was a great success. Twelve pieces were performed.

The children sang intelligently and with expression. The Handel Orchestra was a pretty sight. Garbed mostly in white, the girls occupied seats in the front and at the sides of the vast platform, while the boys clustered like bees near the great organ. The singing delighted the large audience present, the applause being freely and deservedly given. The Cuckfield contingent left the Palace at 6.45pm, arriving at Haywards Heath at 8.15, having spent a most enjoyable day.

Mid Sussex Times 17 July 1900


The Crystal Palace, designed by Joseph Paxton, was a remarkable construction of prefabricated parts. It was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Following the success of the exhibition, the Palace was moved and reconstructed in 1854 in a modified and enlarged form in the grounds of the Penge Place estate at Sydenham Hill. The buildings housed the Crystal Palace School of Art, Science, and Literature and Crystal Palace School of Engineering. It attracted visitors for over seven decades.

Sydenham Hill is one of the highest locations in London; 109 metres (357 ft) above sea level ; and the size of the Palace and prominence of the site made it easy to identify from much of London. This led to the residential area around the building becoming known as Crystal Palace instead of Sydenham Hill. The Palace was destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936 and the site of the building and its grounds now known as Crystal Palace Park.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


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