Earls Court One (1991–2014)
|Location|| Kensington, Fulham London, SW5 |
|Public transit|| Earl's Court |
|Owner||TfL, APG and Delancey|
|Opened||1 September 1937|
|Expanded||EC II in 1991|
|Closed||13 December 2014|
|Construction cost|| £1.5 million|
(£111 million in 2022 pounds )
|Architect||C. Howard Crane|
Earls Court Exhibition Centre was a major international exhibition and events venue just west of central London. At its peak it is said to have generated a £2 billion turnover for the economy. It replaced exhibition and entertainment grounds, originally opened in 1887, with an art moderne structure built between 1935 and 1937 by specialist American architect C. Howard Crane. With the active support of London mayor Boris Johnson, in an attempt to create Europe's "largest regeneration scheme", its proposed heritage listing was refused after it was acquired by developers, who promptly in 2008 applied for and were granted a Certificate of Immunity from Listing by English Heritage, and its demolition was completed in 2017.
Located in Earl's Court but straddling the boundary between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, it was the largest such venue within the capital served by two London Underground stations—one of them, Earl's Court tube station, being specially adapted with a tunnel for show visitors, and in latter years with a direct link to Heathrow Airport. The founder of the entertainment grounds was Leeds entrepreneur John R. Whitley and the first attraction headlined performances by Buffalo Bill Cody as part of the American Show visited by Queen Victoria and subsequently by members of the Royal Household.This was followed by numerous other exhibitions representing countries such as Canada, France and India.
Earls Court was widely known for serving as London's and the country's premier exhibition venue for many decades, hosting the Royal Smithfield Show, Royal Tournament, the British International Motor Show, London Boat Show, the Ideal Home Show, Billy Graham rallies, the Brit Awards (until 2010), Crufts and other events such as large scale opera productions and pop concerts in addition to hundreds of trade shows, such as the London Book Fair.It was also used as one of the venues for both the 1948 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Before 1887, Earl's Court was farmland attached to Earl's Court Manor. With the arrival of a multiplicity of railway companies, and before London Underground became distinct from the cross-country railways, the tracks formed a triangle which became 'waste ground'. The introduction of two Underground stations, and a mass network of rails trapped the land. The notion of introducing education and entertainment to the area was effected by John Robinson Whitley, an entrepreneur who used the land as a showground for a five years from 1887. Whitley did not profit from his efforts, yet his desire had decided the future of Earl's Court and its purpose in later years. The Great Wheel, a Ferris wheel, was created for Imre Kiralfy's Empire of India Exhibition in 1895. A plaque in the EC press centre commemorated some of these facts and that the reclusive Queen Victoria was an occasional visitor to the shows. Kiralfy had the neighbouring Empress Hall built to seat 6,000 people and then had the Earls Court grounds converted in the style of the 1893 Chicago White City for the Columbian Exposition, and went on to found nearby White City in 1908.
In 1935, Earls Court was sold and the new owners decided to construct an exhibition centre, with an internal pool, to rival any other in the world and to dominate the nearby Olympia exhibition hall. The plan was to create Europe's largest structure by volume. The project did not go exactly to plan; it ran over budget and was late in completion. Designed by the specialist American theatre architect, C. Howard Crane, with over 40,000 sq m of space over two levels, Earls Court finally opened its doors to the public for the Chocolate and Confectionery Exhibition on 1 September 1937. million.The British International Motor Show immediately followed and later the Commercial Vehicle show. In spite of all the problems during the latter part of its construction, the project was eventually completed at a cost of £1.5
At the centre of Earls Court was its internal pool or "lake" (its basin being 60m long and 30m wide), which for use took four days to fill and four days to empty; 21⁄4 million gallons of water were required to fill it. These operations could only be accomplished at night, so as not to put undue strain on local services. A 750-tonne retractable floor in three sections covered the pool when not in use and was lowered using water hydraulic rams. The pool was used for watercraft exhibitions and lastly as a feature for the Ideal Home Show in 2011.
A new entrance to Earl's Court tube station was constructed on Warwick Road to facilitate easy access to the exhibition centre, including a direct entrance from the underground passage which connected the District and Piccadilly lines. However, this was closed in the 1990s after the capacity of the exhibition centre had been expanded by the construction of a second hall, Earls Court Two, in an effort to compete with the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
|Location|| Kensington, London, SW5 |
|Owner||Capital and Counties Plc|
|Capacity||10,750 or 6,000 (seated)|
|Opened||17 October 1991|
|Closed||13 December 2014|
|Construction cost|| £100 million|
(£322 million in 2022 pounds )
In 1985 it was decided by the then owners P&O to expand the covered venue to fend off competition from rival national venues, such as the NEC in Birmingham and in response to the drastic need to increase exhibition space.
Earls Court II was built over the London Underground and British Rail lines and adjacent land originally occupied by a mass of sheds linked to the Lillie Bridge Engineering and Railway Depot in Hammersmith and Fulham. Earls Court Two was constructed at a cost of £100 million. The barrel-roofed hall linked with Earls Court One; the hall's 17,000 sq m floor was entirely column-free and could hold a maximum capacity of 10,750. The hall was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales on 17 October 1991. The biennial London Motorfair was the first event held in the new hall. Following the construction of Earls Court Two, the original building became known sometimes as Earls Court One. One of the largest gatherings at Earls Court II was the United Kingdom Padhramni from 5–14 August 1994 when His Highness The Aga Khan visited daily for a series of religious gatherings with the UK and international Ismaili Muslim community.
Earls Court Two was demolished by Capco Plc in 2015.
With falling attendances and the sale of Earls Court-Olympia to a newly formed developer group in 2008, and a fortuitous constellation of like-minded politicians in the two boroughs and at City Hall, confidential plans were drawn up to demolish Earls Court. These were approved in outline by the two local authorities in 2013, along with a swathe of public housing, existing retail and the historic Lillie Bridge Depot in Fulham in order to make way for four new urban "villages" inspired by Terry Farrell on the 80-acre site, which was expected to be completed in 2033. Demolition work began on the site in December 2014 following its closure on 13 December.The final event in the main Earls Court was a concert by indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club. The final event to be broadcast from the venue was the 2014 BBC Music Awards two days earlier.
Earls Court hosted many shows and exhibitions throughout the years, including the Earls Court Motor Show, Ideal Home Show and the BRIT Awards. The MPH Show, one of Britain's largest motoring exhibitions and shows, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson and others, took place there each winter after an earlier showing at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
Each summer from 1950 to 1999, Earls Court was home to the Royal Tournament, the first, oldest and biggest military tattoo in the world. For this the area now occupied by Earls Court Two became a stables, artillery and vehicle depot for some two months, with several hundred military personnel from all three services billeted 'on site'.
The Professional Lighting and Sound Association held its annual trade show, the PLASA Show, at Earls Court between 1992 and 2012. The 2013 show was held at ExCeL.
London Film and Comic Con was hosted at Earls Court 2, held every July. The convention held autograph and photoshoot sessions with celebrity guests as well as providing a place to play games and buy collectables. In July 2014, due to the increase in the event's popularity, it was hosted in both Earls Court 1 and Earls Court 2.
Notable historic exhibitions at the centre included:
The central area of the main hall concealed a massive pool area, formerly used for the London Boat Show which was held annually from 1960 until 2003. The event transferred to ExCeL in the London Docklands the following year. It was also briefly used for the Earls Court Boat Show in 2007 and 2008.
During the First World War, Earls Court Exhibition grounds, including the adjacent 6,000 seater Empress Hall, turned into a huge refugee camp of the British Government. From 15 October 1914 onwards until 1919, more than 100,000 Belgian refugees stayed in this camp.
Earls Court hosted the volleyball competitions in the 2012 Summer Olympics. The volleyball events were scheduled for the multi-sport arenas in the Olympic Park.At the 1948 Summer Olympics, the venue hosted the boxing preliminaries, gymnastics, weightlifting, and wrestling events.
The London leg of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour was held at Earls Court Two on 11 March, with Wayne Rooney making an appearance with the trophy.
Earls Court was the venue for the visit or mulaqat of the Aga Khan during the inauguration of the Ismaili Centre at Cromwell Gardens on 24 April 1985.
Earls Court was one of the most popular arenas to play in the UK, with a capacity of around 19,000 including standing room, meaning it was often chosen over other venues by bands with a large fan base. Slade [ citation needed ] However, after the opening of the O2 Arena in 2007, concert performances at Earls Court were rarer. Iron Maiden performed at Earls Court in 2000, 2003 and two nights in 2006 - each time sold out with circa 21,000 in attendance.and David Bowie were the first rock acts to play there, in 1973. Led Zeppelin performed five sold-out shows at the venue in May 1975. Bowie's 1978 concert performance there was released as Welcome to the Blackout (Live London '78) in 2018. Pink Floyd performed live shows since 1972, and the concerts from The Wall Tour in 1980 and 1981 was recorded and released in 2000 as Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81 and the live video of Pulse was recorded on 20 October 1994 at Earl's Court and released on VHS in 1995. In November 1995, Oasis staged the two biggest ever indoor gigs at the time in Europe, at a specially expanded Earls Court. Between 28 May and 1 June 2002, Irish vocal pop band Westlife held concerts as part of their World of Our Own Tour supporting their album World of Our Own .
On the night of 12 October 1994, Pink Floyd were scheduled to begin a 14-night residency of the venue as part of The Division Bell Tour. During their opening song, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"a section of seating, containing 1,200 attendees, collapsed, injuring 90 people with no fatalities. The show was immediately cancelled and rescheduled for 17 October.
On 11, 12, 14 and 15 December 1999, the Spice Girls performed Christmas in Spiceworld Tour.
While dismantling the stage on 16 December, a worker died from falling more than 80 ft.
The Brit Awards, the British Phonographic Industry's annual pop music awards, were first held at Earls Court in 1996 and 1997. The awards show returned in 2000 at Earls Court Two, before moving back to the main Earls Court in 2006. The awards show moved to The O2 Arena in 2011.
Before moving to the Birmingham's NEC, Crufts Dog show was held here annually. With public and Kennel club concerns about the neglect and mistreatment of dogs, it introduced an annual exhibition aimed at showing how best to look after dogs as pets or care companions. This was Discover Dogs. The last show in London was held in 2014.[ citation needed ]
The owner of Earls Court and Olympia, Capital & Counties Properties (also known as Capco), opened discussions in 2010 with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to demolish the existing landmark centre and redevelop the area with up to 8,000 residential flats, retail outlets and, possibly, a new convention centre.
Demolition work began on the site in December 2014.
Since the 1970s, Earls Court-Olympia had acquired parcels of industrial land west of the West London Railway in Fulham to use as a marshalling yard and overspill car park for the exhibition centre. Prior to its early 20th-century mixed industrial use, as a coal yard and for the automotive industry, the 20 or so acres were known as the "Lillie Bridge Grounds", a popular sports destination.Since the site's acquisition by Capco plc as part of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre deal, it is being redeveloped as "Lillie Square", an estate of apartment blocks, some of them high-rise.
The demolition of Earls Court was opposed by the 'Earl's Court Area Action Group', which began a 'Save Earl's Court' campaign.The Group is composed of local residents and interested parties who would be affected by the exhibition centre's destruction and subsequent 20 years of proposed redevelopment.
Darren Johnson, a Green Party member of the London Assembly, wrote to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and argued that "the Earl's Court demolition plans are a recipe for a disaster, with massive economic, social and environmental consequences. The winners will be the wealthy developers and overseas property speculators while the losers will be the community, local businesses and Londoners who will lose one of the capital's key exhibition centres."
The Guardian's London blogger Dave Hill cited concerns over the number and relative affordability of the housing units that will be constructed on the site after the proposed demolition of Earls Court, as well as concerns over the views of local residents.
Despite the opposition, Boris Johnson approved the redevelopment plans on 3 July 2013.
Since the election of a Labour majority on the Hammersmith and Fulham side of the boundary in 2014, relations between the developers and elected representatives have soured if not stalled. Sensitivities on the Conservative Kensington and Chelsea side have grown since the Grenfell tragedy in 2017 has put elected representatives in the spotlight in relation to their public responsibilities. During 2018 the developers have been touting for buyers to off-load at least part of the scheme. In February 2019 Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council let it be known they were considering a Compulsory purchase order to take over the Earls Court and adjacent land currently banked by the developers. In May 2019 H&F Council indicated they would be going ahead with raising £200 million capital to compulsorily purchase the land, including that in RBKC, with a view to "remastering" the plans, a decision to be considered at a full council meeting in September 2019. A spokesman for the developers responded that the council had not demonstrated their capacity to do this.
The original developers behind Europe's biggest regeneration scheme, Capco plc have sold their declining interest in Earls Court to APG, a Dutch pension fund and to British firm, Delancey for £425 million in November 2019. In 2015 Capco plc was valued at £1.4 billion. The two Hammersmith and Fulham housing estates are to be sold back to the Council at cost.
The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is a London borough in West London and which also forms part of Inner London. The borough was formed in 1965 from the merger of the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham. The borough borders Brent to the north, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the east, Wandsworth to the south, Richmond upon Thames to the south west, and Hounslow and Ealing to the west.
Fulham is an area of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham in West London, England, 3.6 miles (5.8 km) southwest of Charing Cross. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, bordering Hammersmith, Kensington and Chelsea. The area faces Wandsworth, Putney, Barn Elms and the London Wetland Centre in Barnes. on the far side of the river.
Earl's Court is a district of Kensington in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in West London, bordering the rail tracks of the West London line and District line that separate it from the ancient borough of Fulham to the west, the sub-districts of South Kensington to the east, Chelsea to the south and Kensington to the northeast. It lent its name to the now defunct eponymous pleasure grounds opened in 1887 followed by the pre–World War II Earls Court Exhibition Centre, as one of the country's largest indoor arenas and a popular concert venue, until its closure in 2014. The area has long been known as "Bedsitter Land" with many of its stuccoed terraces converted into studio flats, hotels and hostels.
The Metropolitan Borough of Fulham was a Metropolitan borough in the County of London between 1900 and 1965, when it was merged with the Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith to form the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It was a riverside borough, and comprised the many centuries-long definition of Fulham so included parts often considered of independent character today Walham Green, Parsons Green, Hurlingham, Sands End and that part of Chelsea Harbour west of Counter's Creek. The SW6 postal district approximately follows this as does the direct, though less empowered, predecessor Fulham civil parish.
The Empress State Building is a high rise building on the West Brompton/Earl's Court border in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Its full address is Empress State Building, Empress Approach, Lillie Road, West Brompton, London, SW6 1TR.
Kensington (Olympia) is a combined rail and tube station in Kensington, on the edge of Central London. Services are provided by London Overground, who manage the station, along with Southern and London Underground. It is in Travelcard Zone 2. On the Underground it is the terminus of a short District line branch from Earl's Court, originally built as part of the Middle Circle. On the main-line railway it is on the West London Line from Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction, by which trains bypass inner London. The station's name is drawn from its location in Kensington and the adjacent Olympia exhibition centre.
Olympia London, sometimes referred to as the Olympia Exhibition Centre, is an exhibition centre, event space and conference centre in West Kensington, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London, England. A range of international trade and consumer exhibitions, conferences and sporting events are staged at the venue.
West Brompton is a London Underground, London Overground and National Rail station on Old Brompton Road (A3218) in West Brompton, located in west London, and is on the District line and West London Line (WLL). It is immediately south of the demolished Earls Court Exhibition Centre and west of Brompton Cemetery in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) was an annual trade show for the European video game industry which first ran in 1988, the last event being held in 2004.
The Lillie Bridge Grounds was a sports ground on the Fulham side of West Brompton, London. It opened in 1866, coinciding with the opening of West Brompton station. It was named after the local landowner, Sir John Scott Lillie (1790–1868) and the Lillie bridge over the West London Line, that links Old Brompton Road with Lillie Road. The grounds were adjacent to the railway on the south side of Lillie Road. Although geographically near to present day Stamford Bridge, there was never direct access, there being the 13 acre now defunct Western Hospital site between the two. The ground was the scene in its day of many sports including athletics, boxing, cricket, cycling and football, and hosted the FA Cup Final in 1873. It closed in 1888 following a riot reported in The Times.
West Kensington, formerly North End, is an area in the ancient parish of Fulham, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, England, 3.4 miles (5.5 km) west of Charing Cross. It covers most of the London postal area of W14, including the area around Barons Court tube station, and is defined as the area between Lillie Road and Hammersmith Road to the west, Fulham Palace Road to the south, Hammersmith to the north and West Brompton and Earl's Court to the east. The area is bisected by the major London artery the A4, locally known as the Talgarth Road. Its main local thoroughfare is the North End Road.
West Brompton is an area of south-west London, that straddles the boundary between the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The centuries-old boundary was traced by Counter's Creek, now lost beneath the West London Line railway.
The Hammersmith Palais de Danse, in its last years simply named Hammersmith Palais, was a dance hall and entertainment venue in Hammersmith, London, England that operated from 1919 until 2007. It was the first palais de danse to be built in Britain. In 2009, it was named by the Brecon Jazz Festival as one of twelve venues which had made the most important contributions to jazz music in the United Kingdom.
Stephen John Greenhalgh, Baron Greenhalgh is a British businessman and politician, and was the second Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in London. He is a member of the Conservative Party. In April 2020 he was created Baron Greenhalgh of Fulham in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
North End Road is a street in West Kensington and Fulham, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Lillie Bridge is a road bridge that links Old Brompton Road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with Lillie Road in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. It crosses two railways: the West London Line on the London Overground and the Wimbledon branch of the London Underground at West Brompton station.
Lillie Bridge Depot is a historic English traction maintenance depot on the London Underground Piccadilly and District lines, situated between West Brompton and West Kensington stations in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It is accessed from the District line tracks between Earl's Court and West Kensington or between Earl's Court and Kensington (Olympia).
Lillie Road is a street in the north of Fulham, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. A mixed residential and commercial road, it is the westerly continuation of Old Brompton Road, running from Lillie Bridge to Fulham Palace Road. Its main junctions are with North End Road and with Munster Road at Fulham Cross.
Nicholas Byron "Nick" Botterill is a British business man, company director, and Conservative politician.