169 years ago today, a dinner party was thrown that if it had been organised now, would be herralded as ‘London’s most Instagramable dinner experience pop up’ or something along those lines.
It has to do with the dinosaur statues in Crystal Palace Park and the Victorian penchant for spectacle…
Dinner in the Iguanodon
One of the larger of the model dinosaurs built for the park are those of the Iguanodon. During construction of the models, the paleontologist working on the project, Professor Richard Owen, held a dinner party inside one of the iguanodon models on 31st December 1853.
A table and chairs for 21 people were set up inside the model, with more people sitting outside it in the tent and stage set up as part of the event. Eight courses of food were served, and banners with names of prominent paleontologists hanging up around the table. Included that of Professor Owen who hosted the party. Subtle.
This story always reminds me of a similar event held in 1827 to raise money for the Thames Tunnel where a banquet was held in the tunnel that is now used by Overground trains to cross under the Thames.
For a much more indepth report on the dino-dinner, have a look at this post by Professor Joe Cain. More info on the dinosaurse themselves can be found over on the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaur’s website
Happy new year!