Alexandra Palace is a building in North London
. It stands in Alexandra Park
, in an area between Hornsey, Muswell Hill and Wood Green. It was built in 1873 as a public centre of recreation, education and entertainment and as North London's counterpart to the Crystal Palace
in South London.Designed to be "The People’s Palace" and later nicknamed "Ally Pally" (allegedly by Gracie Fields), in 1936 it became the headquarters of the World
's first regular public "high-definition" television service, operated by the BBC.
A planned commercial development of the building into a mixed leisure complex including hotel, replacement ice rink, cinema, bowling alley and exhibition centre encountered opposition from public groups and was blocked in the High Court in October 2007. As of 2010, the Great Hall and West Hall are mostly used as an exhibition centre, music venue and conference centre operated by the trading arm of the charitable trust that owns the building and park on behalf of the public. There is also an ice-skating rink and palm court open to the public. There is also an ice-skating rink and palm court open to the public.