OpinioN8

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Let's make Alexandra Palace an even more splendid facility than it is already

The Hornsey Journal has published a piece about a TV museum at Alexandra Palace. It may very well not be now or never for the museum but the coincidence of an anniversary is a good time to raise the question. 

The issue goes deeper than missing a chance to open a museum. A local campaign group has put together a proposal to have the TV studios declared a Unesco World Heritage site, a move which would greatly improve the standing of the Palace. Clearly this would have knock on effects:

  • a location that is acknowledged to be of historic standing will attract visitors in its own right - good for the palace
  • the visitors will stay somewhere - good for London and local tourism
  • the visitors will spend money in nearby town centres - good for Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Wood Green
  • the visitors will need transport links - good for bus and train services
  • the heritage site will deserve additional facilities - making the museum more likely
  • a museum will become a centre of excellence - good for prestige
  • the museum will become a centre of knowledge - good for local schools and the Middlesex University

Backing for the Heritage status application is already very well supported - prestigious organisations such as 

  • The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage TICCIH, Secretary: Stuart Smith OBE
  • UN World Heritage site, the 1924 Varberg Radio Station, Sweden CEO: Dr. Lars Johansson
  •  IET – Institution of Engineering and Technology, formerly the Institution of Electrical Engineers (contact: Alan Berry)

have backed the idea, as well as all the usual suspects in the way of local and broadcasting dignitaries. For a full list read the Alexandra Palace blog of endorsements.

 

Alexandra Palace has been badly run for many years - some details are listed here on the Alexandra Palace campaign blog.

The local area plans for all the wards in which the Palace is situated and all the adjoining wards should contain proposals to get behind the World Heritage Bid and to re-assert proper public control over the running of this splendid facility as a whole.

 

Tags: alexandra palace, local area plan

Views: 205

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Adrian;

You make a number of excellent points about the knock-on effect of a world-class museum of television in the SE wing and side-benefits of our future UN World Heritage status.

If anyone doubts this, look to the Grimeton radio station, a little inland from Varberg, Sweden. It's a 1920s radio station ...  and a World Heritage site.

It is the precedent for our BBC Studio A and B. Apart from Varberg, there are no other radio or television sites anywhere in the world that have UN World Heritage status.

 

UN World Heritage site Varberg supports the

Proposal for our studios at Alexandra Palace

.

Only worth making it such a site providing it does not prohibit doing using it for social and community use. What needs to be done is to make it viable for those who wish to invest and make it a beacon and buzz hub for the local area. Its a true gem of a location and in my opinion has the best view of London in the Capital. Maybe community uses should be promoted here. 

Ray - the proposal makes it clear that it is only the south east wing, the part that was once the tv studio, be a world heritage site. The remainder of the building/site/park would continue to be used independently. 

The way in which Alexandra Palace and Park is run is Byzantine as I have tried to hint in the linked article.

If you want to have your voice heard the Palace management has run at least one stakeholder's forum. I listed one as an event but have not had time to chase up the results or look for later fora.

Ray, Alexandra Palace is owned by us, as beneficiaries of a Charitable Trust, but the maintenance costs are high and it has difficulty paying its way. There has long been tension between the commercial use and the charitable (or community) use. It is generally underused. The council will tell you that 40% of the building is derelict.

As Adrian says, the Proposal relates to the south east wing only. If you read the Proposal, you'll see that it does not claim to be a complete solution to AP's problems, or anything like it. 

The Heritage Proposal covers only 10% of the total area of the building.

The building is huge: its about 7 (seven) acres in size. The central Great Hall is still one of the largest enclosed spaces in London.

I favour a mix of use and the bulk of that use should IMO, be commercial. I think that there's a quid pro quo here. For example, although it is not part of the Heritage Proposal, I personally would not object to a hotel in the area west of the Great Hall; indeed I think that ought to be considered.

Do you know the size of the new ice rink? Did you know that there's a 2,000 seat Victorian theatre in the building? Neither of those items are included above!

Have you any idea of the size of the vast, unused basement?!

The building is so vast that there is no danger of the Heritage Proposal crowding out other activity!

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