Campaign to retain historic memory of Wembley exhibition gathers pace

The lion's head is the last remaining memory of the palace of industry exhibition

The lion's head is the last remaining memory of the palace of industry exhibition - Credit: Archant

New home needed for lion head corbels from Empire Exhibition in 1924

Fresh calls have been made to save relics of the last piece of a historic exhibition in Wembley after their planned home said they couldn’t afford to house them.

Previously the Times reported that the walls of the Palace of Industry in Olympic Way, the last remaining memory of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition (BEE), were being demolished to make way for a temporary car park.

But tireless campaigner and historian Philip Grant convinced property company Quintain Estates, who are currently regenerating the area, to keep the famous lion head corbels so they could be restored as a physical reminder of the historic event.

It was initially hoped they would be housed in Brent Museum but campaigners have been told they do not have the space.

But Mr Grant, together with the backing of local councillors, is now looking to find a home for them as a lasting memory to the exhibition.

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

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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.

Mr Grant, a member of Wembley History Society, has worked to gain the backing of Brent Council.

He said: “I am pleased that a number of council officers and councillors are supporting the idea of putting at least one of these Wembley Lions on permanent public display.

“Now that a lead officer has been asked to oversee the project, I am more confident that we will get a successful outcome.”

Mr Grant wants to see the lion head corbels displayed in the gardens of the new Civic Centre, which lies on the Palace of Industry site.

Cllr. Mark Cummins, a Liberal Democrat for Brondesbury Park, said: “It is an enormous shame to think we could lose these last remaining features of a great era in Wembley’s history.”

“We would like some philanthropist, group or company to help rescue these corbels for future generations to enjoy and as a reminder to the role our area played during the British Empire Exhibition.”

Other sites that are being considered are Barham Park and a site on Park Lane and Brent River Park where a concrete flag pole base has been restored from the demolition of the old Wembley Stadium in 2003.

The campaign also has backing from Labour councillors Roxanne Mashari and George Crane and Mr Grant is hoping Quintain Estates will help fund the restoration project.