When the Crystal Palace still stood within the wider park, the area now occupied by the farm’s paddock area was planted with trees and was the site of a series of small buildings, including visitor WCs. The eastern end was occupied by a plant nursery and associated structures.
Sitting just outside of the Capel Manor College site boundary, to the north is the Paxton basin which formerly fed the ponds and fountains to the east. Although currently in a poor condition, it is one of the remaining important historical features within the park.
A ‘Children’s Zoo’ opened in the park in 1952, located on the Tidal Lake islands. In the 1980s the zoo was relocated to the stables - the area occupied by the farm today.
In 1999 planning permission was given for the construction of a new visitor building called the "Croft’. This contained WCs and café facilities as well as new animal pens. Despite the construction of these new facilities, the farm was unsuccessful and sat derelict until it was taken on and reopened by Capel Manor College in March 2008, allowing the farm to be reopened once again to the public.
Since inheriting the site, we have worked to balance the needs of the farm as an educational facility, alongside keeping public access to the farm. Most of the changes we have made to the farm buildings during this time have been minor and/or of a temporary nature. The plan below shows the current layout of the farm.Above: This shows that views of and into the farm are quite limited due to existing tree screening. The public footpath running alongside the site does offers some views into the paddock area, although the most visible feature is the croft building in the north-east corner of the site. The croft building currently houses teaching and student welfare facilities.
The photo below shows some of the existing farm outbuildings: these are mainly poor quality, built of breeze blocks with metal roofs. We also have various wooden animal shelters.
Next tile: Overview of the proposals