The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park to house the treasures of the world for the Great Exhibition of 1851. It became a microcosm of Victorian life, industry and leisure, reflecting every aspect of its age. Designed by Joseph Paxton as a temporary structure its success meant that when it closed it was moved to Sydenham and rebuilt. "... widely regarded as the most authoritative book written about the history of the famous glass Crystal Palace ... " Kentish Times
Patrick Beaver was often taken as a child to the Crystal Palace and remembers it with affection. He was on the spot when it burned to the ground in 1936. During the 1939-45 war, he served in the Royal Engineers and when peace came worked as a professional musician for over twenty years. In 1964 he tired of music and turned to writing. His first venture was a script for a documentary, produced and directed by himself, about Brunel's steamship, the Great Eastern. It was a great success and other documentaries followed. As a writer he has a national reputation in the fields of industrial and social history.