Idea 6: Opening up the derelict spaces

idea6

Many of the most fascinating and historically significant parts of the Palace, such as the Theatre and BBC Studios, are closed to the public as they are in poor structural condition.

The Trust is committed to finding funding solutions which will bring these spaces back to life, providing public access and appreciation as well as learning opportunities for local schools colleges and the community.

The Theatre

The Theatre is one of the hidden treasures of Alexandra Palace. Opened in 1875, it originally seated audiences of 3,000 and still has a complete set of Victorian stage machinery.

Following a detailed condition survey prepared by conservation architects Donald Insall Associates, our design consultants (Bonnar Keenlyside) have developed a plan to create a flexible performance space that will support a range of community and commercial uses including rehearsal space, performance, cinema projection, comedy and live acoustic concerts, banquets and weddings.

The restoration and re-opening of the Theatre is a key part of our HLF bid (along with the East Court and historic BBC Studios), which will be submitted on 30 November.  A presentation that outlines details of the HLF bid and plans for community, learning and commercial activities can be downloaded from the Latest News and Next Steps tab on the website.

The BBC Studios

The BBC Studios, at the South-East corner of the Palace, have a unique heritage as the birthplace of public broadcast television.

The BBC Tower with its iconic mast was the site from which the first high-definition television programme was transmitted in 1936.

The BBC Studios form a key part of our HLF bid (along with the Victorian Theatre and East Court), which will be submitted on 30 November.  A presentation that outlines details of the HLF bid and plans for community, learning and commercial activities can be downloaded from the Latest News and Next Steps tab on the website

As part of the HLF-funded project, the Studios will play an important role in the development and delivery of our Learning Programme, which is currently being developed for local primary schools and will be extended to secondary schools and tertiary institutions in the future.  Importantly, Studio A will house a number of historically significant exhibits and there will be access to extensive archives, with Studio B being the location of our Learning activities.  Once renovated, we plan to open both spaces to schools, special interest groups and visitors on a regular basis, with tours available at weekends.

In the longer term, one of our strategic goals as a Trust is for the BBC Studios to be recognised as a World Heritage Site.

The Basement

Underneath the Palace there is a large basement, now derelict, which was used in the past for storage and kitchens. During World War I parts of the basement and the Great Hall were used as a refugee, and later an internment, camp.

Our plan is to refurbish the basement to provide facilities to support the operations at ground floor and above, like the hotel. We are also exploring the potential of opening up the basement arches underneath the South Terrace to provide café and restaurant spaces and a variety of other community and creative uses.