King's Hall, Belfast
Exterior of main venue (c.2008)
Belfast BT9 6GW
|Owner||Royal Ulster Agricultural Society|
|Opened||30 June 1896|
|Closed||30 June 2012|
|King's Hall Exhibition and Conference Centre (1934–2008)|
|180 (Abercorn Suite)
40 (President's Suite)
|Banquet/ballroom||2,500 (Nugent Hall)
1,400 (Balmoral Hall)
|6,974 (King's Hall)|
|• Exhibit hall floor||8,926 square metres (96,080 sq ft)|
|• Breakout/meeting||220 square metres (2,400 sq ft)|
|• Ballroom||8,417 square metres (90,600 sq ft)|
The King's Hall was a multi-purpose venue located in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The King's Hall consisted of 6 event venues. The King's Hall is owned by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (previously the North East Agricultural Association of Ireland), who moved to the venue in 1896 from their previous showgrounds in Belfast Corporation Markets area.
In 1891, the North East Agricultural Association of Ireland appealed to its members and the general public for funds to purchase new premises as they had outgrown the site at Belfast Corporation Markets. Suitable land sites were considered at Bloomfield, Fortwilliam Park, Andersonstown, Turf Lodge, Ulsterville, Castlereagh Road, Ballymacarret, Ormeau Road and Antrim Road. However the most favoured was the land at Balmoral. Agreement to purchase the 32-acre (130,000 m2) Balmoral site was made in 1894. Work on the site began in 1896 and was finished for the opening of the first Balmoral Show on 30 June 1896.
The King's Hall
The King's Hall was designed by Leitch and Partners, Glasgow, built in 1933 by J & R Thompson, Belfast and opened by the Duke of Gloucester on 29 May 1934. The King's Hall was the largest exhibition venue in Northern Ireland and prior to the completion of the Odyssey and the Waterfront Hall, was the only large concert venue in Northern Ireland. It hosted the Balmoral Show, an annual agricultural show with regular attendees in excess of 75,000. The stepped facade of the hall features substantial windows and Art Deco motifs on doors and buttresses. Inside, the functional space is spanned by reinforced concrete arches.
In June 2012, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society voted to purchase and develop a new venue, Balmoral Park, a 65-acre (260,000 m2) events park located in Lisburn, around 10 miles (16 km) from the current King's Hall site. Also at this time, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society unveiled plans to build Northern Ireland's largest exhibition and events venue at Balmoral Park to replace the main King's Hall building. This venue was constructed in 2015 and named the Eikon Exhibition Centre. As a result, the King's Hall building closed its doors on 30 June 2012.
The main hall is also a famous boxing venue. Rinty Monaghan boxed several times in the hall. A blue plaque was unveiled in his memory at the hall in 2007. In 1985 Barry McGuigan made his first title defence against Bernard Taylor at the King's Hall, having fought there on six previous occasions. Both boxers have become synonymous with the venue. Other famous bouts to have taken place in the hall include Ray Close's rematch with Chris Eubank in 1994, and Dave McAuley's two fights with Fidel Bassa in 1987 and 1988.
Other high-profile boxers to have fought at the venue include: Tyson Fury, Jamie Moore, John Duddy, Martin Lindsay, Neil Sinclair, Robin Reid, Wayne McCullough, Danny Williams, Amir Khan, Paul McCloskey, Eamonn Magee and Brian Magee.
- On With The Show by Alf McCreary
- Dixon, Hugh (1975). An Introduction to Ulster Architecture. Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society. p. 196.
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