(N26) CAPEL MANOR COLLEGE - The Croft, Crystal Palace Park, nr. Station Road SE20

Report from Saturday 9 February 2008 - some Park Working Group members were shown around the Capel Manor College site on Crystal Palace Park. They have taken over the old zoo buildings and, apart from the teaching activities of the College, will allow visitors into the animal areas for most days of the week. It is clear that some of the buildings are not suited to purpose and, in time, may need to be altered; these are the main classroom building and small animal housing built by Alan Baxter Associates. These buildings are fairly new and, remarkably, are listed! The promised opening for late last year was delayed by extra work which the site needed and now only awaits the formal "certificate of exemption from the need to have a zoo licence" to be issued by DEFRA. An Easter opening is now envisaged provided DEFRA get a move!

By the time the College opens to the public, there will be at least one baby kid, baby llamas and possibly a shetland foal.

Capel Manor College - a short walk from Crystal Palace Station (dotted pink line); views overlook the athletics stadium and it is surprisingly well shielded from the traffic noise of Anerley Hill.

Until recently there were three Animal Care groups with a total of 47 full time students.  One group is Level 1 and two groups are Level 2 (the equivalent of 5 GCSEs).  In 2008 - 2009 four groups are planned - one Level 1, two Level 2 and one Level 3 (A-level equivalent).  All are taught mainly in the Jubilee stand classrooms.  There is one full-time tutor, two practical instructors, two education officers and a Key Skills tutor working two days a week.  The London Borough of Croydon Education Department has approached Capel Manor with a view to them offering one-day or half-a-day a week courses from September 2008 for 14 - 16 year olds to take alongside their GCSEs at school. 
In addition there are two part-time Horticulture groups and a group of Horticulture apprentices at the centre for one day a week.
If the Master Plan goes ahead numbers could build to about 260 students by 2014.
Of course, all the students will have the benefit of newly refurbished buildings and a complete regeneration of the old zoo enclosures and animal zones.

Head of College, Madeline Hall, said:

"This is a very exciting time for the college. Over the last year we have established very successful horticultural courses, including an apprenticeship scheme at Crystal Palace Park.  The courses build upon the strong horticultural heritage originally established in the park by Paxton and are already proving very popular."

Madeline Hall

"Until this September, anyone in the area wanting to study Animal Care at Capel Manor College has had to travel to our Enfield campus in North London.  Now we will be able to offer local access to the high quality Animal Care learning experiences that we are renowned for."

Once the farm is up and running, students will have the opportunity to work with a very wide range of animals, ranging from rabbits, rodents and exotics, through to large animals like pigs and Shetland ponies.

Horticulture: new purpose built glass houses are planned as are two-year National Diploma courses in Animal Care.

Capel Manor also plans to introduce a range of arboriculture courses at Crystal Palace and elsewhere in south London.

Tinkerbelle and Alice - curious and suspicious of the new visitors.

The python was quite happy curled around the warming light in its enclosure

The curly-haired tarantula (above) in the "exotics" room - a rather delicate creature, was not yet used to handling. The South African millipedes (below) curled up in defense-mode

Fish tank area

Other 'exotics' tanks

Reptile tanks

Samantha, a student at the College and in charge today, showed us around the whole site - from the library facilities, classroom and student dining area to the shetland pony and pig enclosures; we also saw the 'kitchen' which is the food preparation area for the animals (not the staff and students).

The shetland ponies are Dee and Morgan.

One of the present two inhabitants of this goat enclosure looks out over the park - in the background can be seen the old flamingo pool

The kitchen is spotless - everything's in its place including the colour coded chopping boards

PWG people


Pig enclosure and walkway


General view towards the office block and people entrance

Goldie, the Kune-Kune pig (means 'fat and round' in Maori) - enjoying the winter sunshine

Apologies to Bromley Council (previous entry here) - the exemption licence is due from DEFRA. [Ed.]

to News Index; top of page LINK: The British Kune-Kune Pig Society [it really exists!]

10/02/08 Last Updated 10/02/08;11/02/08;2/3/08(corrections to student count)