June 21, 2024

Alexandra Palace, an answer always in search of a question, is celebrating its 150th year

Alexandra Palace was built atop Muswell Hill, in 1873, 150 years back, to give north London something to compare with Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace was a beautiful glass palace, built on Sydenham Hill in south London to host the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Ally Pally as the place is known to locals, was named after a Danish Princess, Princess Alexandra, who went on to marry Edward, eldest son of Victoria and Albert. She became Queen of England, between 1900 and 1910. Here she is.

Photograph of Alexandra aged about 45

Ally Pally was not the kind of palace royals lived in. It was, is and has always been multi-purpose, used for various bits and pieces, an answer looking for a question if you like.


  • Has been used to contain prisoners of war.
  • Contains an ice skating rink
  • Hosts concerts.
  • Transmitted the first high definition public television service began in November 1936 and the first colour television signals in 1966.
  • Has hosted the annual World Championship Darts championship, since 2008.

The hill the palace is perched on gives great views. The promenade in front of the palace, and the view of big blue skies and the undulating hills, evokes feelings of walking by the sea.

There are great views to be had. You can see St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard, Canary Wharf, London Eye, BT Tower, three Premier League football grounds.

Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, to the east, can be clearly seen from Alexandra Palace.

37 random facts about the 150 years of Ally Pally


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