Olympia London

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Olympia London
Kensington Olympia exhibition centre from station.jpg
Exterior of Olympia Grand as seen from Kensington (Olympia) station
Former namesNational Agricultural Hall
LocationWest Kensington
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, W14
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°29′47″N 0°12′35″W / 51.49639°N 0.20972°W / 51.49639; -0.20972Coordinates: 51°29′47″N 0°12′35″W / 51.49639°N 0.20972°W / 51.49639; -0.20972
Public transitLondon Underground London Overground National Rail Kensington (Olympia)
OwnerConsortium including Yoo Capital, Deutsche Finance Group, Bayerische Versorgunskammer and Versicherungskammer Bayern Group
Capacity4,000–10,000
Construction
Opened26 December 1886; 134 years ago (1886-12-26)
Renovated2013
Expanded1923; 1929; 1987; 2011
ArchitectHenry Edward Coe; Holman and Goodrham; Joseph Emberton
Website
olympia.london Edit this at Wikidata
The interior of Olympia, hosting a trade fair
Imre Kiralfy's Venice the bride of the sea, performance poster

Olympia London, sometimes referred to as the Olympia Exhibition Centre,[1] is an exhibition centre, event space and conference centre in West Kensington, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London, England. A range of international trade and consumer exhibitions, conferences and sporting events are staged at the venue.

There is an adjacent railway station at Kensington (Olympia) which is both a London Overground station, and a London Underground station. The direct District Line spur to the station only runs on weekends.

Background[edit]

The complex first opened in 1886.

The Grand Hall and Pillar Hall were completed in 1885. The National Hall annexe was completed in 1923, and in 1930 the Empire Hall was added.[2]

After World War II the West London exhibition hall was in single ownership with the larger nearby Earls Court Exhibition Centre.[3] The latter was built in the 1930s as rival to Olympia.

In 2008 ownership of the two venues passed from P&O to Capco Plc which sold it off as a going concern, while Earls Court was being demolished in 2014 as part of an ambitious regeneration scheme to create more luxury housing. In 2012, Olympia celebrated 125 years of events by commissioning British artists Peter Blake, Rob Ryan, Sanna Annukka and Paul Hicks to create their interpretations of the venues.

In January 2013, a £40 million investment was completed and the company re-launched with a new brand; subsequently the business was awarded the Best Marketing Campaign at the Exhibition News Awards 2014.

In May 2021 demotion work started at the site as part of part of a significant overhaul of the complex, which includes new construction and refurbishment of listed historic aspects.[4]

History[edit]

Olympia was originally conceived in the early 1880s as the National Agricultural Hall, a larger version of the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington. The project of building a National Agricultural Hall was conceived by Major Edwyn Sherard Burnaby (1830-1883), MP for Leicestershire North, who primarily wanted to see shows such as the military Royal Tournament, held at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington (1861–62, Grade II) since 1880, staged on a much larger scale and made more easily accessible by railway from across London and the rest of the country.

The site chosen was a former market garden in West Kensington, immediately adjacent to Addison Road station, already a major passenger station on the West London Railway, which became an important method of transport for visitors to Olympia. The building was branded as Olympia even before it opened as its commercial rationale quickly evolved beyond the staging of agricultural or military shows into an open-ended exploitation of what was the largest such venue in England at the time. Intended as a large indoor space for exhibitions, tournaments, sporting competitions and entertainments of various kinds, the building followed in the tradition of large-scale exhibition halls popularised by the Great Exhibition in 1851, the inspiration for various imitators in London, elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and around the world.[2]

Buildings[edit]

The Olympia Exhibition Centre consists of:

The Grand Hall, the former National Agricultural Hall.

The Pillar Hall, the former Minor Hall, both of 1885 in Italianate style by Henry Edward Coe with James Edmeston and engineers Arthur T Walmisley and Max Am Ende. The ironwork of the roof is by Handyside of Derby.

Olympia National (the former National Hall), an annexe of 1923 by architects Holman and Goodrham.

Olympia Central (built as the Empire Hall) of 1929, by architect Joseph Emberton.[2] Olympia Central, with its large Olympia signage integral to the building's exterior, is very well known as it fronts onto a public road, Hammersmith Road. The others buildings are primarily accessed via a small access road which also serves Olympia Tube Station.

In 2003 The Grand Hall and the Pillar Hall of 1885, designed by Coe and Edmeston, were given historic status, listed at Grade II* for their historic interest and their architectural value.[2] Olympia Central, a large concrete building in the Moderne architectural style was not fully listed due to the number of changes made through the 20th Century, however its distinctive façade was listed.[5]

In May 2021 demolition started on the non-listed parts of Olympia London [4] as part of a comprehensive mix-used redevelopment of the complex by its current owners, while still retaining significant exhibition space.[6] in May 2021 the Olympia Theatre was announced with 1,575 seats, making it the largest new theatre in London since the completion of the National Theatre in 1976.[7] This is in addition to previous announced and consented hotels, rehearsal spaces, cinemas, 4,000 seat music venue, retail, dining and public spaces.[8] The major 21st Century redevelopment of Olympia is within the same site boundaries as the historic event spaces.

Notable events[edit]

Religious Gatherings[edit]

Olympia Hall was transformed to a solemn place of prayer clad in red and green textile and the Imamat Crest adorned with fresh flowers.

The Darbar was attended by members of the Imamat Family

Political gatherings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grand Hall and Pillar Hall, Olympia Exhibition Centre". Historic England. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Grand Hall and Pillar Hall, Olympia Exhibition Centre, Non Civil Parish - 1096048 | Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  3. ^ Glanfield, John. (2003). Earls Court and Olympia: From Buffalo Bill to the Brits. London: Sutton Publishing.
  4. ^ a b "Demolition begins for £1.3bn Olympia redevelopment". www.theconstructionindex.co.uk. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  5. ^ http://democracy.lbhf.gov.uk/documents/s114362/2020-01048-VAR%20Olympia%2073%20Final.pdf[bare URL]
  6. ^ "Olympia Exhibition Centre". London City Hall. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Kensington Olympia: Stage set for London's biggest theatre since 1976". BBC News. 14 May 2021. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  8. ^ "New live music venue to be unveiled at Olympia London". LBHF. 4 December 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  9. ^ About SMMT Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Stefan Dierkes. "British International Motor Show: Locations and Dates". Pietro-frua.de. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Olympia Beauty - Home". www.olympiabeauty.co.uk. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  12. ^ "RuPaul's DragCon UK Was Just Announced! | What A Drag Blog". What A Drag. 8 September 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  13. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/dragcon-uk-rupaul-olympia-fans-crowds-queue-oversold-a9290076.html[bare URL]
  14. ^ https://www.newstatesman.com/archive/2013/08/oswald-mosley-memories-unrepentant-fascist[bare URL]
  15. ^ https://www.standard.co.uk/news/londoners-diary/the-londoner-olympian-struggle-for-the-brexit-party-a4146636.html[bare URL]
  16. ^ https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/remain-campaigner-called-traitor-doused-16183315[bare URL]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Port Glaud
Miss World Venue
1999
Succeeded by
Millennium Dome