First opened as “The People’s Palace” in 1873, Alexandra Palace provided the Victorians with a great environment and recreation centre. Just sixteen days after its opening, the Palace, which had already attracted over 120,000 visitors, was destroyed by a fire in the dome.
On 1st May 1875, less than 2 years after the destruction of the original building, a new Palace opened. Covering 7 acres, it was centred on the Great Hall, home to the mighty Willis Organ which was driven by two steam engines and vast bellows.
After certain financial difficulties, an Act of Parliament in 1900 created the Alexandra Palace and Park Trust. The Act required the Trustees to maintain the Palace and Park and make them “available for the free use and recreation of the public forever”.
In 1935, the BBC leased the eastern part of the building from which the first public television transmissions were made in 1936. Alexandra Palace was the main transmitting centre for the BBC until 1956, when it was used exclusively for news broadcasts.
Just six months after the transfer of trusteeship to Haringey Council, on 10th July 1980, the Palace caught fire for the second time. An area comprising the Great Hall, Banqueting Suite, and former roller rink together with the theatre dressing rooms was completely destroyed. Only Palm Court and the area occupied by the BBC escaped damage.
Development and restoration work began soon after and the Palace was re-opened on 17th March 1988. It continues as a Charitable Trust administered by the London Borough of Haringey.
Alexandra Palace has built a reputation as one of London’s premier venues. With its beautiful setting with panoramic views of London, stunning architectural features and well proportioned halls, the Palace is now a very popular choice for both corporate and private events.