Episode 5: A Victorian Dinosaur Dinner
Ever dream of dining with a T.Rex? Join us for a New Year's Eve dinner in 1853 at London's famous Crystal Palace where you can meet the man who coined the term dinosaur itself, Sir Richard Owen. And dinosaurs won't just be the talk of the table, they'll be the table itself! Discover how one Victorian dinner helped to launch the dino-mania of today, from The Flintstones to Jurassic Park.
Written & Produced by Laura Carlson
Technical Direction: Mike Portt
Research Assistant: Megan Kirby
We even have the menu from the famous meal, preserved alongside the original invitation. Note the number of sweets & desserts!
You can try out a few of these Victorian dishes yourself at home, including:
Mock Turtle Soup (courtesy of The Kitchen Project)
Julien (or Cut Vegetable) Soup (courtesy of Cooking Kosher)
Macedoine Jelly (or Jelly with Red Fruits) (courtesy of The Telegraph)
The famous song the party goers sang as they headed back to London has been updated & re-recorded by a group at Cambridge University.
Check out the music video to "The Jolly Old Beast" (if you dare!)
Hawkins was keen to publicize the dino-dinner & wrote to a number of his friends about the meal, even including a hand-drawn sketch of the iguanodon meal:
The Illustrated London News published a number of feature pieces on the dinosaurs and Hawkins, including one of the mold of the iguanodon (presumably before the dinner took place):
Here's the Crystal Palace & the dinosaurs as they stood in the mid-1850s once completed:
More on Dinosaurs!
There are some great books out there about the history of paleontology in England as well as Richard Owen and Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. A few notable mentions include:
Deborah Cadbury, Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World
The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are still around today!
They are cared for & preserved by the "Friend of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs" society, which has a huge amount of great information about the history of the sculptures on their website, available here.