The British Empire Exhibition’s Forgotten Palace of Industry, Wembley, London

(Image: oxyman, cc-sa-3.0)

At its height the British Empire was the largest in history and remained the foremost global power for over a century.  So in 1924, the grand British Empire Exhibition was launched “to stimulate trade, strengthen bonds that bind mother Country to her Sister States and Daughters, to bring into closer contact the one with each other, to enable all who owe allegiance to the British flag to meet on common ground and learn to know each other”.

(Image: oxyman, cc-sa-3.0)

To achieve this, three main structures were built – the Palaces of Industry, Engineering and Arts.  No expense was spared and at a cost of £12 million, the largest exhibition ever staged anywhere in the world at that time attracted an astounding 27 million visitors.  Of those three grand structures, the Palace of Industry is all that remains.  It is reportedly used as a warehouse, and bears a resemblance to the beautiful abandoned theatres and cinemas that we’ve explored previously on this site.

(Image: Pmsphoto, cc-3.0)

Wembley is widely acknowledged as the capital of football, and another structure built for the exhibition – The Empire Stadium – was adapted to become Wembley Stadium due to high demolition costs.  The famous venue survived until 2003 when it was demolished to make way for a modern 90,000 seat stadium.  A slightly later structure, The Empire Pool, still stands today, and was converted into the Wembley Arena after the Empire Games of 1934.  Today it remains one of London’s foremost concert venues.

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