The charity which manages London’s eight Royal Parks has partnered with educational virtual reality company Seymour & Lerhn to develop and launch the first ever virtual tour of the famous structure.

A miraculous feat of 19th century engineering, the Crystal Palace opened on location in Hyde Park on 1st May 1851. Measuring around 563 metres by 138 metres and with a height of 39 metres, the vast glass and cast-iron structure is world renowned for hosting the Great Exhibition.

The entire structure has now been digitally regenerated using a combination of plans and images belonging to The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 along with archived documents and maps owned by The Royal Parks.

Applying CGI and 360-degree photography, which overlays the historic building onto the present-day site, has enabled the public to explore the site on their smartphone, PC or tablet.

While the technology is an exact science, the decision to regenerate the Crystal Palace was partly down to good fortune. The Royal Parks was the winning entry to a competition set by Seymour & Lerhn which invited organisations to put forward proposals for a virtual reality education resource.

“We’ve harnessed today’s technology to bring The Royal Parks’ heritage to life, uncovering the park’s past for everyone to enjoy, especially those who aren’t able to visit in person,” notes Ledy Leyssen, head of learning at The Royal Parks.

Charlie Power from Seymour & Lerhn adds that “with the lockdown continuing, the virtual tour offers a unique way for people to ‘get out of the house’ and explore the history hidden within Hyde Park – all without actually having to leave their homes.”

The Royal Parks is now seeking extra funding to further develop the project by populating the Crystal Palace with the artefacts of The Great Exhibition.

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