Alexandra Palace - Chronology
Prospectus and plans published by Owen Jones for a Muswell Hill rival of the successful Crystal Palace, to be called the Palace of the People. Idea is backed by famous educationalist Lord Brougham
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 it's opening, the Palace, which had already attracted over 120,000 visitors, was destroyed by a fire in the dome.
Routledge's Popular Guide to London (from around 1873) had the following to say:
Alexandra Palace and Park, Muswell-hill, Hornsey. A magnificent building overlooking charming scenery. The grounds devoted to various fetes, archery meetings, reviews and races, which are held in a fine racecourse with an excellent stand from which to witness the sport. In the building are concerts, collections of scientific and art objects, flower and fruit shows, theatrical and other entertainments daily. The Alexandra Palace is easily reached by the Metropolitan and Great Northern Railway which takes visitors to the gates. Admission, 6d. and 1s. on ordinary days, 2s. 6d. on special days.
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.
|1889||Alexandra Palace closed due to financial problems - 200 acres of parkland sold to repay debt.|
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".
|1914||The Palace was closed to the public at the outbreak of war and was requisitioned by the government.|
|1935||The BBC leased the eastern part of the building from which the first public television transmissions were to be made a year later.
In 1936 the BBC hosted trials between the competing and incompatible EMI-Marconi and Baird television systems to decide which would carry the television standard for the future.
|1937||BBC adopts EMI Marconi system.|
|1939||Sept 1 1939 - TV service stopped due to war, part way through a Mickey Mouse cartoon. When service resumed 6 years later, the cartoon was concluded.
Radio signals received around London and retransmitted by the powerful Alexandra Palace mast jammed the German Luftwaffe navigational system, saving many lives.
Friday June 7 1946 (6 years later)
|1955||First broadcast by BBC Television News from Alexandra Palace. Studios now used for main BBC news, and experimental colour broadcasts|
|1967||High Court confirms the transfer to the Greater London Council (GLC) is legal, but that Palace and Park are held on trust and must be used wholly for charitable purposes.|
|1969||September - Television news broadcasts moved from the cramped and inadequate facilities at Alexandra Palace to custom-built studios at BBC TV Centre in West London, 8 miles away. The new studios were equipped for colour broadcasts in anticipation of the introduction of colour on BBC1 which started on 15 November 1969.|
|1971||Open University television service opens at Alexandra Palace.|
Haringey Council takes over Alexandra Palace from GLC for £1, with £8.5million dowry for outstanding repair works.
For the next five years plans are developed to rebuild the Palace as a state-of-the-art exhibition centre. Rebuilding work commences.
The BBC continued to produce television programmes at Alexandra Palace for the Open University until 1981 when the University moved out to purpose-built premises north of London in Milton Keynes.
Alexandra Palace and Park Charity formally registered.
|1986||50th anniversary of BBC Television – celebrations staged in Studio A.|
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.
|1990||Formation of the Alexandra Palace Television Trust to create a TV Museum.|
Dept of National Heritage confers Grade II listed status on Alexandra Palace
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.