New events space at Ally Pally

A new 1,300-capacity performance space is to be created at Alexandra Palace in north London.

The historic building’s derelict east wing — home to the world’s first television studio — will be restored next year in a £27 million overhaul by privately owned construction firm Willmott Dixon.

Funds of £19 million will come from the Heritage Lottery Fund while the London Borough of Haringey will chip in £7 million. The project will be completed in 2017.

The charitable trust which owns the palace on behalf of the public has chosen the builder to restore the east wing, which was built 1875 and was the site of the BBC’s first public television broadcast in 1936.

It remained the corporation’s main transmitting centre until 1956.

The studios will be transformed into an interactive BBC experience and the wing’s Victorian theatre — largely intact — will be restored, creating a new 1300-capacity performance space.

New Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust chief executive Louise Stewart, said: “Almost half of Alexandra Palace is still inaccessible to the public. When we’re finished, Alexandra Palace’s eclectic history will finally come alive. It will be about Britain’s innovators and pioneers, about cinema, comedy, opera, plays as well as the music, award-winning parkland, views and ice skating we’re famous for today.”

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