Ally-Pally is the nickname for the Alexandra Palace, the people’s palace, which sits on one of the highest points of land in London. Parts of it were used by the BBC in the early years to broadcast their signal out to the country. It was originally opened in 1873, but destroyed by fire just two weeks later.
The redesigned building re-opened in 1875 and included a Victorian Theatre, which, between wars, the depression and another fire, was only used sporadically over the years. The theatre was designed to seat more then 2,000 people, but it was closed up 65 years ago. Now there’s a plan to renovate the theatre to a stabilized “as found” state, retaining its current character and historical feel, using money from the national lottery that’s once again been freed up after funding the 2012 Olympics. While the renovations to the theatre take place, other parts of Ally Pally will be open to the public as they’ve been since the beginning.
In fact, I’ve attended some antiques shows there and know that there are huge swaths of this space that I’ve never seen and that have probably been left unexplored for years.
In addition to restoring the theatre, the old BBC studios and the massive basement will also be renovated. The Friends of the Ally Pally Theatre has a website with some great pictures, here.