What's going on at
What's going on at Ally
Alexandra Palace in Muswell Hill, designed by the Victorians
as the People's Palace for educational recreation, music, sport and entertainment,
a landmark north London rival to the Crystal Palace, and in 1936 birthplace
of television, has lasted 130 years and survived two fires. And, in 1900,
it literally became the People's Palace because by Act of Parliament it was
given to the people of London, with its Park, in trust for all time.
That was threatened a few
years ago by a proposal by officials of
Haringey council, the current trustee,
and the Palace's then managers to dispose of
the whole building to a commercial developer,
Firoka Ltd. Lock, stock and barrel.
High Court action blocks
So five years ago Jacob
O'Callaghan of the Save Ally Pally campaign
went to the High Court to ask that the
decision by the charity commission to
permit the sale be overturned, on the
grounds that details of the sale had been
kept secret - when Parliament had been
promised that any sale would not go ahead
before full consultation . The court agreed
and quashed the decision.
TV studio A at Alexandra Palace, set-
up for Cafe Continental
New management, new future
Five years later the picture
is very different.
Firstly, the Trustees declared
they were abandoning their attempts to
sell the Palace. They retook control over
the Palace and its trading company.
They began replacing the
officials who had masterminded the attempts
to flog it off. In particular the General
Manager, Keith Holder, was shown the door.
The trust's former solicitor was also
"let go". Now the Palace is
run by a manager, Duncan Wilson, who (unlike
all the previous bosses) has extensive
experience of running historic buildings.
Developing the potential inside.
Heritage Lottery bid
Besides its exhibition spaces,
the palace still houses two important
Firstly, a large Victorian
theatre, complete with working original
Secondly, a space of international
historic importancce - the two BBC television
studios which in 1936 were the scene of
the birthplace of television - being the
world's first regular high-definition
public television service.
The years of uncertainty
and neglect have taken their toll on these
spaces - and they probably would have
been lost forever had the Firoka sale
not been overturned. But they have survived,
and now the Heritage Lottery fund is being
asked to help provide funds to re-open
them so that the public - which owns them
- can once again visit them.
Save Ally Pally welcomes
and fully endorses this bid, and urges
all our supporters to as well!
So our campaign is seeing
many of its aims finally on their way
to being realized. And instead of having
to battle with the trustees to save the
Palace, now we can work with the new management
to do so.
We will update this site
in the next few weeks, but retain much
of the information to show how close the
Palace came to being lost, how this was
averted - and how and why it must never