Calls for historic building in Wembley to be saved in time for its 90th anniversary

The old walls of the Palace of Industry at Wembley

The old walls of the Palace of Industry at Wembley - Credit: Archant

The Palace of Industry is set to be demolished by Quintain

The site map of the original British Empire Exhibition

The site map of the original British Empire Exhibition - Credit: Archant

Calls have been made for the developers regenerating Wembley to retain part of a historic building they want to demolish ahead of a special 90th anniversary celebration.

Quintain, the company behind the current Wembley City developments, is in the process of demolishing the Palace of Industry site, which has stood on the site since 1924.

But residents including members of Wembley History Society, say at least part of the site, which was used to host the British Empire Exhibition (BEE), should be retained ahead of a celebration marking its 90th anniversary next year.

The BEE, which also led to the construction of the original Wembley Stadium, was held on St George’s Day in 1924.

Thousands of people from all parts of the world came to the area, showing the crafts, traditions and way of life of their culture, and promoting trade and products from Britain and its empire.

However, at the most recent meeting of Brent’s planning committee; permission was given to allow Quintain access to the remainder of the site, which they now plan to demolish to make way for a temporary car park.

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Historian Philip Grant, who is a member of Wembley History Society, and is helping to organise the anniversary celebrations, said it was important the area’s history was retained.

He said: “Keeping the small section of the external walls would not prevent Quintain from having all of the temporary parking spaces they will need.

“It would be a great pity if this last piece of Wembley’s BEE heritage was lost unnecessarily.”

The building lost its “listed” status in 2004 meaning there are no legal constraints on demolishing it.

However, Wembley resident, Martin Francis said the council and Quintain should still protect the heritage of the area.

He told the Times: “I don’t think either Quintain or Brent Council show enough respect to the history behind Wembley.

“For the sake of one year to ask them to retain one small corner of the original walls so we can celebrate and enjoy the areas history is not too much to ask.”

A spokesman for Quintain said: “The building is not being retained as we must make way for the regeneration of Wembley.”

He added that the lions’ head corbels which held the flagpoles of the future Commonwealth during the Empire Exhibition, will be retained and made available during any 90th anniversary celebrations.