Why are you doing this restoration project?
Approximately 40% of the building is no longer open to the public. It is recognised that there is a need for significant investment in the building’s fabric and facilities, so in 2012, a site-wide Masterplan was developed, which looked at a range of potential improvements which could be delivered over the next decade. Our overall aim is to make the Palace more successful, diverse and truly accessible for everyone to enjoy, with a wider range of high quality activities and facilities.
Why are you focusing on this specific part of the Palace?
The eastern end of the Palace features some of the most derelict – and historically significant – parts of the building. When we asked members of the public what they would like to see happen ‘opening up the derelict spaces’ proved a popular choice.
When will the restored spaces be opened to the public?
In line with the current programme, the Eastern Wing will be open to the public in 2018.
How much is this project going to cost?
In total the project will cost in the region of £26.7m. The award of £18.8million HLF funding contributes towards the total project cost, with Haringey Council having pledged £6.8m; the Charitable Trust is working hard to raise the rest so the project can go ahead as planned.
When finished, what will happen in the Theatre?
The Theatre will be refurbished to create an adaptable performance space which can be used for a wide range of both public and private events, including cultural, community and commercial purposes such as operetta, theatre, cinema, live music, conferences, weddings, banquets and film shoots.
Why is the BBC Studios project no longer happening?
Continued work within the historic Television Studios has been taken out of the current project to ensure the overall project is delivered on time and within budget. The re-scoping of the project has received support from the main project funders Heritage Lottery Fund and Haringey Council. The Alexandra Park and Palace restoration project team are now working with the BBC and other partners to finalise the new scope for the television studios project. It will be an interactive celebration of the proud history of broadcasting and the BBC at Alexandra Palace as well an exploration of cutting edge broadcasting and technology.
Is there any equipment left in the BBC Studios?
Unfortunately, very little original equipment from the BBC’s time at Alexandra Palace survives. The legacy of the historically significant events associated with the BBC’s occupation is mainly in the television archives held by the BBC, in the mast and tower visible all over north London, and in the two Studios – TV happened here! For a behind-the-scenes view of the BBC Studios, please have a look at our Photographic Survey (part 1 and part 2).
Why do the plans include the unblocking of the colonnade along the South Terrace?
The exterior fabric of the South Terrace is generally very mixed (1980s replacement, 1930s and Victorian). The 1930s blocking created the back wall of a corridor and some ancillary rooms behind the BBC Studios. The removal of this blocking will restore the welcoming public aspect of the Palace, and allow unrivalled views out over London. This will be done without detracting from the character, shape or volume of the Studios, as they sit behind colonnade.
When finished, what will happen in the East Court?
The East Court will be reinvented as a multi-functional arrival space and focal point for the eastern end of the Palace. It will be freely accessible to all and becomes an extension to the Park providing new toilets, seating and Wi-Fi. There will also be a dedicated space for learning, activities and exhibitions, and a café.
Will it be free?
Entry into the East Court will continue to be free of charge.
How can I get involved?
The Palace offers a range of volunteering opportunities for people to get involved such as archiving, research, surveying, horticulture, community engagement and much more. Please check our jobs page for information on volunteering opportunities.
How can I support the project?
You can donate via our dedicated fundraising page – you can donate and have your name on a donor plaque in the East Court, or you can sponsor a seat in the Theatre. We need to raise over £1m to complete the project so every bit counts!
Donations of ephemera such as photos, posters and tickets relating to the historic Park and Palace are also welcomed. Please contact the curatorial team on 020 8365 4366.
Will the Palace stay open throughout the construction?
There will be times during the construction period when alternative access routes will be required to the eastern end of the Palace, however best efforts will be made to minimise disruption during the construction period.
Can I still use the Park?
Yes the Park will still be accessible throughout the construction period.
Will the ice rink and other activities close during the construction work?
The Ice Rink will continue to operate during the duration of the construction works. In order to ensure a good experience for our Ice Rink customers is maintained, we have created a dedicated entrance off of the South Terrace. This entrance has been in use since September 2016. This new entrance is located on the South Terrace. New directional signage is in place to help visitors navigate around the site. Staff will be on hand to answer any questions.
What is happening with car parking?
Car parking surveys were carried out on different event days and non-event days to establish the current demand. Based on visitor data, the new spaces will generate a need for 125 car parking spaces. This demand can be easily accommodated within the existing East car parks. As such, there are no plans to increase the car parking areas. Instead, the parking layout will be reorganised to be clearly and safely separated from pedestrian areas.