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Dinner Inside The Dinosaurs


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#1 ally

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 11:43 AM

Listening to the Danny Baker show on BBC London yesterday, I happened to hear a bit of fascinating local history…

Apparently, to celebrate the construction of the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace park, they celebrated by having dinner inside of one!

Owen and Hawkins were commissioned in 1852 to produce a life-sized outdoor diorama of prehistoric life for the rebuilt Crystal Palace that were to include cement and tile models of Iguanodon and Megalosaurus. At the inauguration of the new exhibit, a dinner was held inside the model Iguanodon with Owen as the honored guest.

The Iguanodon, was so large that a 20-strong dinner party was held inside on 30 December 1853.


Edited by ally, 11 November 2005 - 11:46 AM.


#2 Dazza

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 01:13 PM

Yep read that too it was made by the french company that made the statue of liberty.

However I used to have tons as fun as a kid hiding in the dinasaurs with mates & making growling noises to make the younger kids it was alive happy days.

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#3 RachelF

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 01:21 PM

There's an engraving of that in a book in our library at work. Would scan it and post it, but don't know how to...
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#4 Axean

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 06:30 PM

It seems the Iguanodon dinner party did not happen inside the Iguanodon model on the island. The picture shows a half completed model holding a dinner party for all those concerned with constructing the Crystal Palace and grounds at Sydenham. But the model on the island is clearly too small inside to hold a dinner party of any size. One of the Park Rangers confirmed this.

This picture appeared in the Illustrated London News, and may have been ceated to increase sales of the paper and promote the Palace. This type of collusion still happens to this day. "Freddy Star ate my Hampster!" is the most famous example I can remember.
But I've also been told a themed dinner party could have been held and the model was a temporary mock-up. The artist who created the engraving may have been just improving on reality.
Take your pick. I dont know :(

The picture can be seen at this website
http://search.eb.com...guano004p1.html

#5 weeble

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 09:57 AM

I'd be most upset if the Dino Dinner Party is a myth! :(

#6 Chris Doran

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 11:31 AM

Another oft-told CP myth! They are actually sitting inside the mould for the Iguanodon, which gives them a bit more room, but no doubt still a tight squeeze. Prof Owen is the one sitting in the head; a questionable honour, since it had a very small brain! The party is in ILN 7-Jan-1854 p22 if anyone can look up the original article (e.g. Bexley Reference Library has ILN on microfilm). Another view of the dinosaur workshop appeared on 31-Dec-1853, p600; this one with a completed monster standing in the lower half of its mould.

#7 Truffle

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 09:36 PM

There was definitely a dinner actually inside one of the CP dinosaurs - I've seen a pic! Lots of moustached men in stove pipe hats looking terribly serious and sort of crouched over the table (as they would be, wearing the tall hats and all). Now, I haven't seen this picture since I was knee-high to an iguanadon, but, unless I've really loss the plot in my dotage, it does exist.

Edited by James, 11 May 2006 - 10:24 PM.


#8 jozz98

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:21 AM

There was definitely a dinner actually inside one of the CP dinosaurs - I've seen a pic! Lots of moustached men in stove pipe hats looking terribly serious and sort of crouched over the table (as they would be, wearing the tall hats and all). Now, I haven't seen this picture since I was knee-high to an iguanadon, but, unless I've really loss the plot in my dotage, it does exist.



You are quite correct about that picture. It was shown in a book call the Phoenix Suburb.
Does anybody on this forum remember it??
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#9 RachelF

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 12:05 PM

There's a copy of the picture - albeit not very clear - and some informatino at this sitge

unmuseum

I could be wrong, but I have a vague memory of Richard Owen having an ambition/hobby to eat his way through the animal kingdom! (or was it Gideon Mantell...)
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#10 jannism

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 02:12 PM

Erm...what's wrong with the picture Axean posted a link to in the 4th posting in this thread? :blink: :rolleyes:

#11 Chris Doran

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 02:42 PM

The only dino pictures I can see in The Phoenix Suburb are plates:-
10) "New Year's Party in the model of the iguanodon. December 1853." As in the links provided above.
11) "Education fo Colonial life at the Crystal Palace. 1876!" Sketch of a tent, flagstaff, and two intrepid explorers between two dinosaurs on the island. I don't know where this comes from, probably ILN or one of its contemporaries.
12) "Waterhouse Hawkins' extinct animals studio, Crystal Palace". The 31-Dec-1853 ILN engraving I referred to earlier.

#12 Melvyn Harrison

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 06:23 PM

The dinner was not in the lower section of the Iguanadon as we know it now but in its mould - which would obviously have been slightly larger.

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#13 Axean

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 05:20 PM

The dinner was not in the lower section of the Iguanadon as we know it now but in its mould - which would obviously have been slightly larger.


I cant see how the party could of been held in the mould. From memory (if it werent raining I would quickly run into the park, then back again) it still would not have been large enough. The inside of the mould would have been the size of the outside of the Iguanadon, which I am sure is not large enough. Is big but not that big.
http://search.eb.com...guano004p1.html
Secondly, wouldnt the outside of the mould have been plain. A heavily reinforced structure into which the concrete could be poured?

And I just remembered something else. I have memories of been told that although dinosaurs were due to have been created by pouring concrete into a mould. This turned out not to be practicable, and was abandoned after making a few "beasts". I think the only solid concrete large beast is the Sloth. Others had to be created using hollow plastered brick structures. And some were never built (mamoth?) So....Is the Iguanadon a hollow brick structure, and if so could the image we see be off a mould that was never actually used?

#14 sandie

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 11:00 AM

I vaguely remember seeing a photo of a relative of my grandmother, Dorothy Facey, who according to family history was involved in building or renovating the dinosaurs. I seem to remember that the photo shows him standing in a half built beast. Not sure if my Mum, Jo, still has it but will ask her.

#15 RetiredMember1

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 11:40 AM

This is worth a listen - it's the audio trail now publicised on the display boards in the park Dinosaurs audio trail

Must admit that I listened to it from the comfort of my sofa, rather than on a damp walk around the park! It mentions the famed dinner party!

Edited by GillW, 14 February 2010 - 11:41 AM.