Crystal Pavilion

Donald Whannell
Crystal Pavlion
Credit: Tommy Quinn
Crystal Pavilion
Credit: Richard East
Crystal Pavilion under construction
Crystal Pavilion under construction – Credit: Richard East
Crystal Pavilion
Credit: Richard East
Garden Festival 'zone'

Science and Technology

Sponsor, if appropriate


Type of object

Pavilion, building or other structure

Current situation



Design: Dr Graham Durant, then-curator of Glasgow University's Hunterian Museum and architect Ian Bruce of Bruce Patience & Wernham. See Graham's comment below. Plans for relocation of the pavilion failed to produce a result, and the pavilion was broken up.


  1. John Faithfull says:

    Graham Durant’s personal files on the Crystal Pavilionsurvive at the Hunterian. I’ve always though they might be of long term interest, so have tried to preserve them. They inlcude photos, letters, adminstrative stuff, publicity materials, press stuff etc… if somebody wants to scan, or examine them, that would be great…

    1. In the first instance, we’d really like to see them. It’d be a great opportunity to flesh out our record of the Crystal Pavilion. We’ll be in touch – thanks very much for volunteering the info!

  2. graham durant says:

    I am Graham Durant formerly of the Hunterian Museum and now Director of Questacon, Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre. I know a few things about the Crystal Pavilion and its content. I am happy to write an account about the Crystal Pavilion. The original aim was to put on display tanks of crystal gardens. There was no building available so a building had to be created. This work meant that the original idea received much less attention than it should. Although the original aim was to relocate the Pavilion at the end of the Garden Festival, sadly no opportunity came forward and following the breakage of some of the glass panels a decision was made to demolish the pavilion. Perhaps one legacy from the Garden Festival was the Glasgow Dome of Discovery which I set up in the South Rotunda and this ran from 1990-1992. It was a precursor of the Glasgow Science Centre which opened in 2001 a project in which I was also involved. The BBC film from the opening ceremony features the Crystal Pavilion for quite a few minutes while Prince Charles and Princess Diana were inside.

    1. Graham, thanks for all this information, and for taking the time to provide it. Enough for us, sadly (as you say) to be able to confidently record the Crystal Pavilion as having been destroyed. It’s also very useful in highlighting the Dome of Discovery – a partial sucessor to the Garden Festival that has dropped from view over the years, and it’s interesting to hear of your role in this and the consequent Science Centre of today. (The information also has a bearing on our record of the South Rotunda, of course.) Furthermore, you’ve prompted a look into the Dome of Discovery itself, which led to finding this video which features a view of the Garden Festival site that changes our knowledge of the demolition process – it appears to have been a far more staged process than we were hitherto aware. Thank you again!

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