Saturday 5 May 2012

Improperly Behaving Lovers

A lovely boyhood memory of the Crystal Palace, from Grant Richards' Memories of a Misspent Youth. The 'safety bicycle' which looked so funny was essentially the modern bike - ie. not a penny farthing:

'Our leisure, or at least my leisure, was spent at the Crystal Palace, in the winter looking at such shows as we could get into by luck or cunning, and, in the good weather, in the grounds, where the shrubberies were full of birds' nests - and sometimes improperly behaving lovers, where occasionally on Sundays we could manage to get hold of a boat and row across to the islands in the lake and pentrate into the very interiors of the prehistoric animals, where there were certain places in which we could help ourselves to coloured-fire laid out ready for the Firework Thursdays, and where there were on the race-track races between men on horseback and men on bicycles, and the cycle-races and so on. I remember now the roar of laughter that went round the grassy slopes of the area when the first safety bicycle made its appearance! And it was in the roller-skating hall of the Crystal Palace that I first fell in love with a girl of much my own age ...'


  1. This is a lovely excerpt, I wish I could have visited the Crystal Palace in its heyday.

  2. That is a wonderful depiction. Real lives and memories, laughter, love, nature and modernity. First hand accounts even in recollection give so much more to the understanding of the Victorians than any historical biography or photo. Proves that the Victorians weren't a different breed of animal to us.
    Thank you for that!