The Palace of Industry
British Empire Exhibition 1924 - 25
Don R. Knight.
The Palace of Industry built in 1922 and 1923 as part of the British Empire Exhibition 1924 -25 and was the last building to be demolished this year.
In 1924 and 1925 the Palace was the second largest building built for the exhibition, the largest was the Palace of Engineering which was six times as large as Trafalgar Square, London. Displayed in the Palace of Industry in 1924-1924 were many machines showing the manufacture of stockings , tapestry, needles, paper, bread, biscuits, chocolate, cigarette making and packing. Aluminium casting, medal stamping, carpet loom, paper making, to name a few thing seen by the visitors and companies looking for machinery for their companies.
The British Empire Exhibition went into liquidation when it closed in 1925, building were sold and demolished and the materials sold. Three of the building remained, the Palace’s of Engineering and Industry and the Stadium. The Stadium was purchased by Arthur Elvin in 1926 and he sold shares to his many friends, his not costing him any thing. In 2000 the stadium was sold to the Football Association for two hundred million pounds plus two million for the memorabilia.
The Stadium was demolished and the Twin Tower were the final part to be demolished in February 2003, the new National Stadium cost over eight hundred million pounds and saw its first Cup Final in 2007.
The Palace of Engineering was demolished in 1980 and today the area has a large retail park. Over the years the Palace of Industry has been divided into units and has had many uses, offices, auction room, warehouse, storage and a distribution centre. In 2010 half of it was demolished and was used as a coach and car park on Wembley match days.
In 2013 eighty nine years after its construction the demolition company moved in to clear the last part of the British Empire Exhibition and by the end of May all that could be seen was a large heap of crushed concrete. Quintain Estates the developers had taken steps to save eight Lion corbels (bases of flag poles) that would and have been seen by the millions of visitors over eighty nine years when walking along Wembley Way ( Olympic Way ).
In preparation for the final demolition a man on a cherry picker (lift) cut around each one with a hydraulic cutter, so making it easy to lift off as the demolition team got to them. This was done and three or four are in fair condition to be saved and hopefully be displayed in Wembley at a site or sites to be decided.
Pictures taken by Don Knight
© Exhibition Study Group 2013