People's Palace

319 Mile End Road,
London, E1 4NS

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People's Palace

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the east London district of Mile End. The original Victorian-era People’s Palace was designed by E.R. Robson. It was built in 1886, and seated 2,500. It was opened by Queen Victoria on 14th May 1887. It burnt down in 1931.

A new modern People’s Palace was built in 1936, the opening in 1937 was performed by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Designed in a lavish Art Deco style by noted cinema architect George Coles. The exterior in white Portland stone, has a series of seven base-relief panels by sculpture Eric Gill which depict figures playing musical instruments, boxing and dancing etc. Inside the auditorium, the new hall had a 46 feet wide proscenium, a stage 36 feet deep and there were seven dressing rooms. The auditorium contained a concert organ. The building also contained a cafe and a ballroom.

The People’s Palace was not a full time cinema, as it mainly staged many live performances, meetings, concerts and public events. It was however fully equipped for cinema use and regular ‘special’ film presentations were held there.

It was closed in 1954, and was subsequently taken over by the adjacent Queen Mary College of the University of London. It is now known as the Great Hall for the University, and serves a multifunction use.

It was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage on 25th February 2009.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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