The Crystal Palace | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace
Station Road, Berkhamsted

The Crystal Palace Pub stands by the Grand Junction Canal in Berkhamsted.

Originally an old beerhouse, it was rebuilt in the 1850s by John Edward Lane F.R.H.S. (1808-1889), a horticulturalist and brewer.

Lane was born in Berkhamsted and lived in the town for 81 years.  He ran the nationally-known Lane Nurseries in the town, established by his grandfather c.1777.

He also ran a successful brewing business, having married Sarah Foster or Berkhamsted’s foremost brewing family, and expanded the business to acquire several pubs in Berkhamsted. The Crystal Palace one of a chain of former John Lane pubs in Berkhamsted – the others are The Swan, The Greyhound in Dunstable,  The Brownlow Arms and The George.

Lane’s nurseries exhibited frequently at flower shows and horticultural exhibitions,  including the 1856 Grand Horticultural Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London, and won prestigious medals for their garden plants. It was here that John Lane became acquainted with Sir Joseph Paxton (1803–1865), the architect of the Crystal Palace exhibition hall.

Lane added a replica of the Crystal Palace as a frontage to his pub, based on the designs of his friend and fellow gardener Paxton.  This expressive façade of the Crystal Palace Pub was a triumphant celebration of John’s main interests, bringing together architecture, horticulture and brewing  –  and a clever piece of branding for his nursery and brewing empire. It is striking visual reminder to everyone in Berkhamsted  of his national standing as a horticulturalist, and his position as the leading light in the town.

Crystal Palace exhibition hall was destroyed by fire in 1936, but the Berkhamsted pub continued to trade right up until 2019, when it closed. Today, the Crystal Palace Pub stands empty and neglected. Local heritage campaigners are campaigning to save it from redevelopment by registering it as an Asset of Community Value.


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Discover the memorials in Rectory Lane Cemetery with historical links to The Crystal Palace

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