The People's Palace
What you can see today of the Alexandra Palace - known as well as the people's palace - and its park is only a small part of what you would have found here originally. Two times the Alexandra Palace burned down. The first time only 16 days after it had opened. What survived this first fire was immediately rebuild bigger and more varied.
When in 1980 the Palace burned down a second time the reaction came not as fast, too big and too expensive the old Palace had become over the years. For Haringey - on which ground it stands - the Palace had become more a burden than a way to earn money. What is here till today are an ice rink on which the local ice hockey clubs practice and which can be used for roller skating as well, the theatre - which is not used at the moment as it seats 3000 people and with this is much too big today - which waits to be renovated and downsized, the former BBC studios, the Great Hall and some rooms in the west part of the building among them the West Hall which is used for the darts World Championship, Snooker, table tennis and sometimes for concerts.
There existed different plans what to do with the building but all stayed plans. To change it into a spa with hotel was interdicted by the court - luckily - and the building is now a listed building. Often the council thinks about rebuilding the east part which completely burned down and how to use it without financial loss. But might be the time for such big projects is over anyway.
Even that what is still standing is really grandiose but not really practical. How to use a room like the great hall now-a-days? Not only is it great it is high as well - so how to heat it in winter? Or the Palm Court - what can you do with it? It really is beautiful but big and rather cool as well and there is always a draught...
The People's Palace was designed as the civil counterpart to the Crystal Palace which doesn't exist anymore. It was a proud endeavour and would you have walked around in Alexandra Park in the 1870sth - at this time there even existed a railway station there - you would have been able to go boating on a lake, to visit the till the 1960sth only horse racing course in London, to go swimming, to visit a Japanese village, to swing on enormous swings or to play crazy golf.
In the palace existed several galleries, a museum, several rooms for lectures, a concert hall, several banquet halls and the theatre with a complicated stage machinery by which actors could appear on stage or disappear or even waft through the air. One could say Alexandra Park and Palace were some kind of Fun Park.
To be sure Alexandra Park and Palace never again will look like this, but by now it looks the financing for the renovation of the theatre is secured. The future of the Palace of the People does look quite bright!