Alexandra Palace is a home for entertainment and education for people from all walks of life. We have played a crucial role in the development of leisure and recreation for over 150 years.
It was born out of the industrial revolution, as factories drew former agricultural workers to increasingly crammed cities. Living conditions were poor but out of the developments in technology came solutions. Victorian entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to provide wider access to leisure, recreation and education. In this spirit, Alexandra Park and Palace was conceived as a “Palace for the People”.
The Park was opened in 1863 with construction work on the Palace starting in 1865. Alexandra Palace opened to the public on 24 May 1873 but burnt down 16 days later. With typical Victorian vigour, work quickly began on a new Palace, which opened in 1875.
A series of changes in ownership led its owners to sell it for development in 1900. A campaign led by local man Henry Burt allowed a consortium to raise the funds and preserve the Park and Palace for the people of London. With funds secured, it was placed in trust by an Act of Parliament. The Alexandra Park and Palace (Public Purposes) Act 1900 stated that the building and grounds should be “available for the free use and recreation of the public forever”.
Much has changed in the world since then but Ally Pally has remained the People’s Palace. Today, Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust remains responsible for its repair, maintenance and restoration and also provides a year-round programme of entertainment, culture and leisure activities – welcoming millions of visitors each year and working with communities across Haringey and beyond
Alexandra Park and Palace remains held in Trust for the public forever by the Act of Parliament, which is our key governing document. The Trust was recognised as charitable in the 1960s and we are therefore subject to Charity Law and regulation. The Trust has a sole Corporate Trustee, Haringey Council, who inherited the Trusteeship in 1980. The Trust’s assets and activities are overseen by a Trustee Board appointed by the Corporate Trustee and our two stakeholder committees. The stakeholder committees have distinct remits and the Trust has a duty to consult them on specified matters.
The activities that we undertake that are commercial in nature are undertaken by our wholly owned trading subsidiary Alexandra Palace Trading Limited (APTL), which donates its taxable profit to the Trust in the form of Gift Aid. The activities support the charitable purposes by providing essential resource to the Trust and enlivening the venue for the purposes it was created – encouraging a broad cross section of the public to access and enjoy it. The trading subsidiary has its own Board of Directors, appointed by the Trustee Board and includes two Independent Non-Executive Directors.
Enriching lives, through great experiences, forever.
To repair, restore and maintain the park and palace for the recreation and enjoyment of the public forever.
An all year round cultural visitor destination, where people come to be entertained, engage with our fascinating past, are inspired to explore their creativity and experience our unique heritage setting; relevant to a changing society and achieving a level of physical and financial resilience delivering public benefit and enjoyment for future generations.
Alexandra Palace is a charity, run for the benefit of everyone. Our Park, Palace and spectacular events have been enriching lives since 1863, but the coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard. To be blunt, we are looking at a £1m shortfall this year and the same again next year. We know this time has been hard on many people but, if you can afford it, your support will help us get through this crisis.