Tuesday, October 21, 2014

13th October, Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

SELWG 2014

So, in all the years I've been going to SELWG*, I've never said anything about the Crystal Palace, after which the park in which the SELWG venue stands, takes its name.

The Crystal Palace, of course, was the poetic name given to the truly vast glass and metal pavilion built in Hyde Park to hold the Great Exhibition of 1851.   At the time it was the biggest glass building ever erected and was a wonder of the industrial world.    Just look at the size of it.

After the exhibition, it was disassembled and moved 8 miles away, south of the river, to a specially terraced hilltop in leafy Sydenham.   Piece by piece.  What a triumph.  

And there it stood from 1854 until it was completely destroyed by fire in 1936.   Completely destroyed.   I found this photo:

Click on it.  Astonishing.   Today all that remains is the stonework of the terracing - epic, like the ruined centre of an ancient city - and the name, a permanent fact of London's geography.

It is a fantastic venue for a wargames show and has free parking.  There was even a funfair on the old exhibition site but I did need to get home after the show.

I was down to help out on the Society of Ancients stand, and to collect trophies to take along to the next weekend's national DBA event (just gone, by the time you will read this).

(the Lost Battle of 2nd Mantinea with the Society of Ancients)

After the distinctly medieval feel of ancients at recent shows, SELWG had a more ancient ancients feel ... up on the balcony, SoA (Phil Sabin/Eric C and Alan W) were putting on a participation version of the 2nd Battle of Mantinea (that's the famous victory of Epaminondas one) ...

(scenes from the Mantinea game)

Downstairs, there were permanent clusters around the chariot race and Simon Miller's (To the Strongest) Romans in Britain game.

(the Crawley club's AD SPATIUM ACCEDIS)

(To the Strongest, this time featuring British resistance to the might of Rome)

But what I noticed in particular was a naval theme ...

(SEEMS presented Hotham's First action, March 1795)

(Tonbridge Wargames Club's refight of the Battle of Cape St Vincent - 1797) 

Also I was pleased to see ...

(Peter Pig's latest version of PBI ... PBI Company Commander ... available soon)

(a simple but attractive SYW display from the Essex Warriors - if 28mm always looked like this it might even catch on!!  Give or take the casualty rings)

The biggest plane award probably went to the B52 over Vietnam ... hmmm

(Deal Wargames Society's Mayhem on the Mekong - nice brown river too ...)

But I think easiest on the eye must have been the sprawling 15mm Marlburian game ...

And the splendidly stylistic First Battle of Ypres 20th October 1914 ....

Another good show - thanks to all those contributors whose work is featured above and to everyone who supported the show.    By and large an entirely different selection of games and themes to Derby - so certainly worth the trip.

Thanks to SELWG for inviting us and whoever organised the weather so it didn't rain all day.

And an engaging variety of visitors chatting to us on the Society stand - thanks for stopping by.  

Also apologies to anyone we failed to notice or who we thought was happy browsing but actually wanted to talk to us.   I know this does happen despite our best efforts to pay attention.    It isn't intentional so do feel invited to give us a nudge.  

*which actually dates back to Catford, but that's another story ...

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