Zola led a lonely existence in Norwood, his whereabouts concealed from all but trusted friends. His visitors included the French socialist leader Jean Jaures, Yves Guyot (a prominent Dreyfusard), J H Levy of the Personal Rights Association, and the novelist Octave Mirbeau.
Zola spent his time working on his novel Fécondité, cycling and taking photographs of the local area, including the following one of the Crystal Palace.
Interestingly when Zola had visited London five years previously he was deemed sufficiently a literary celebrity to be honoured in one of the regular grand fireworks displays at the Crystal Palace. Along with the 'Ascent of two Large Balloons, bearing torches and Aerial fireworks' and and 'Aquatic Forest of Floating Trees of Fire' the 23 September 1893 display included a 'Fire Portrait of Emile Zola with motto "Welcome"' (Patrick Beaver, The Crystal Palace: a portrait of Victorian enterprise, 1986).
There is a blue plaque for Zola on the hotel in Church Road, Upper Norwood (close to Crystal Palace triangle). A collection of Zola's photographs of the area has been published by the Norwood Society.