King's Hall, Belfast
|Owner||Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS)|
Sporting events: 15,000
|Opened||30 June 1896|
|Architect||Messrs R Graeme-Watt and Tulloch|
The King's Hall Complex is a multi-purpose venue located in Lisburn Road, Balmoral, Belfast in Northern Ireland. The King's Hall Complex consists of 6 event venues, 3 of which are still in operation. The King's Hall Complex is owned by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (previously the North East Agricultural Association of Ireland), who moved to the Complex 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.
|Name||Event Space (square metres)||Currently in Operation?|
|The King's Hall Pavilions||5500||No|
|The Alexander Halls||2200||Yes|
|The Balmoral Hall||1000||Yes|
|The Londonderry Hall||800||Yes|
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 Complex site. Also at this time, a new purpose-built exhibition venue was constructed to replace the main King's Hall building. This venue was named The King's Hall Pavilions and was Northern Ireland's largest purpose-built exhibition venue. As a result, the King's Hall building closed its doors on 30 June 2012.
The King's Hall Pavilions
The King's Hall Pavilions was owned by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society. A unique, semi-permanent building, desiged by Roder HTS Hocker, Germany. Constructed in June 2012 and opened on 29 September 2012, the King's Hall Pavilions had 5500 square metres of flexible event space. In May 2015, the King's Hall Pavilions was dismantled and the base structure was moved 10 miles (16 km) to Balmoral Park to form the basis of the new Eikon Exhibition Centre, Northern Ireland's largest events venue.
Boxing at the King's Hall Complex
The King's Hall Complex 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
- 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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