Crystal Palace


Crystal Palace plesiosaurs

The first ever life-size models of prehistoric animals were produced in the early 1850s by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. They were revealed to the world at Crystal Palace in London, 1854, and although now worse for wear, today they grace the grounds at Sydenham Hill, where they are classified as Grade 1 listed buildings.

The models repreent three different types of plesiosaur: Plesiosaurus macrocephalus , Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus, and ‘Plesiosaurus’ (=Thalassiodracon) hawkinsi. Here are the plesiosaur restorations in the exhibition as they appear today (photos by Chris Crump, used with kind permission).

‘Plesiosaurus’ macrocephalus model at Crystal Palace Park, by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.
‘Plesiosaurus’ macrocephalus model at Crystal Palace Park, by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.
Thalassiodracon hawkinsi model at Crystal Palace Park, by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.
Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus model at Crystal Palace Park, by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.