Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Exhibitions - Great Exhibition - Creche


WE hear is the intention of the Crystal Palace Company, who are always active in administering to the wants of the pleasure-seeking public, to open a small Court for the reception of the Babies who in such numbers daily honour the Palace with their presence. To ease the minds of such Mammas as bring their Babies without nursemaids, the Court will be supplied with suitable attendants; and every care will be taken in the absence of their parents to provide the infant occupants with recreation and refreshment. A quantity of pap will be continually on sale, and Babies who - despite of stern GEORGE CRUIKSHANK - are addicted to the Bottle, will be furnished with the means to allay their inward cravings.
    Corals will be kept for all the tiny teeth in need of them, and rattles of the newest and the noisiest description will be constantly in readiness for all the little hands which may be stretched and clapped in eagerness to seize them. A lot of baby-jumpers will also be suspended for infants who are fond of active sedentary exercise; while for Babies of more dormant and retiring dispositions cradles, rocked by steam, will be let out by the hour, each one warranted to send its inmate oil to "bye-bye" within the limit of a brace of shakes, after tucking up in it. In short, no pains will be spared to make the Court a pleasant lounge and agreeable midday resting-place for all the "tiddy ittle sings£ whom their Mammas may wish to leave there, like parcels, until called for.
    The chief object of the Court is, however, not so much to please the Babies as the public, who are now continually annoyed by squeals and squallings, at times when such disturbance is most trying to the nerves. It is an aggravating thing for a connoisseur of music to find a pack of Babies in full cry in the concert room, when ho goes there to enjoy a symphony of BEETHOVEN or a melody of MOZART. The power of disturbance by a Baby with good lungs is considerably greater than the ignorant may think. Indeed an infant's throat, if its possessor he in health, is one of the most powerful wind instruments we know. A solo on the squall is quite enough to drown a solo on the flute; in fact, the other day as we sat hearing the Creation, the grand crash of a chorus was completely overwhelmed by the squeals of MRS. BIB'S baby just behind us.
    By the opening of the Baby Court these interruptions will be stopped, and the Crystal Palace Concerts may be heard without annoyance. This consummation is the more devoutly to be wished, as the music which is given there really is worth hearing, and it tries one's temper sadly to listen without hearing it. By the arrangement now in prospect this aural disappointment will in future be avoided; and in common with all lovers of the Crystal Palace Concerts we shall most heartily rejoice when we are able to announce that the project we have mentioned has been put in actual practice, and that daily during concert-time every Baby in the building has to undergo the ceremony of presentation at the Baby Court.

Punch, October 6, 1860