07.08.17

Doubling the archive

By James White

Project Curator

Alexandra Palace has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to bring alive its heritage as an important site of spectacular entertainment and ground breaking innovation. Launched in November 2016 we have now doubled the size of our online archive, providing access to our fascinating collections from 1859 to today.

All items are available for free and in high definition, you can search the full collection or see one of our online exhibitions looking at the Opening Night of Television, discovering our Hidden Archive, or for those unfamiliar learn a quick history of Alexandra Palace.

So what is new? We had only begun our scanning project when we launched so you can now discover much more about our music heritage. From the seminal 1960s psychedelic poster designed by Mike McInnerney for the 14 Hour Technicolor Dream to more recent gig posters for The White Stripes, Florence and the Machine and The Last Shadow Puppets.

14 Hour Technicolor Dream Poster, 1967 (c) Mike McInnerney

14 Hour Technicolor Dream Poster, 1967 (c) Mike McInnerney

 

From our rediscovered archive we have released plans and elevations for the Palace. Drawn in 1874 these show the designs for the current Palace after the original was destroyed by fire. They show how the building was put together, and in some cases ideas that were later abandoned, such as a porch for carriages on the East Wing. We’ve also released plans that show the changes the BBC made to the Palace to create the television studios where the first full television service launched in 1936.

Design for Colonnade, 1946

Design for Alexandra Palace, 1874

When we rediscovered our archive we found over 5,000 photographic prints alone and you can find many more images showing how Alexandra Palace has changed, and in some cases hasn’t changed over the years. Throughout summer you can visit StrEATlife, serving a great selection of street foods and craft beers, continuing our tradition of good eating. Images from the archive show the banquets hosted in the Palace, refugees dining during the First World War and even a menu we discovered from the 1970s – anyone for Cocktail de Crevettes Marie Rose (prawn cocktail)?

Dining at Alexandra Palace, 1920s

Dining at Alexandra Palace, 1920s

Dining at Alexandra Palace, 1970s

Dining at Alexandra Palace, 1970s

One big change is that we have uploaded full guidebooks and documents so you can start researching our history in greater detail. You will be able to read Owen Jones’ Palace of the People (1858) – the first concept for Alexandra Palace; Alexandra Palace Souvenir (1902) – a guidebook that documents the Colonial Camp, a meeting of troops from around the world for the coronation of King Edward VII; and A New Plea for Reconstruction (1933) which proposes transforming the Victorian Palace with the latest design style, Art Deco.

A New Plea for Restoration, 1933 - Alexandra Park and Palace Collection, Haringey Archive Service

A New Plea for Restoration, 1933 – Alexandra Park and Palace Collection, Haringey Archive Service

 

This is still a small percentage of the archive that we scanned and we are always expanding our collections so that we can tell the full story of Alexandra Palace. If you have any items you think should join our collection, a ticket stub from a great gig, or a programme from our pantomime on ice, then do please let us know enquiries@alexandrapalace.com.

So what is coming next? With so much more history we will be updating the archive again and adding more exhibitions. We were very generously allowed to scan the Muffin the Mule archive, so you will see a few taster images, and we have begun recording oral histories so you can hear about the history of Alexandra Palace from those who were there. We hope you enjoy exploring our heritage on Google Arts & Culture and visiting us whilst we make more history!

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