Manchester Central Convention Complex (commonly known as Manchester Central) is an exhibition and conference centre converted from the former Manchester Central railway station in Manchester, England. Designed by Sir John Fowler, the station, the northern terminus for services to London St Pancras, was opened in July 1880 by the Cheshire Lines Committee. The structure has a distinctive arched roof with a 64-metre span – the second-largest railway station roof span in the United Kingdom, and was granted Grade II* listed building status in 1963.
After 89 years as a railway terminus, it closed to passengers in May 1969 and became an abandoned railway station. It was renovated as an exhibition centre formerly known as the G-MEX Centre in 1982. From 1986 to 1995 it was Manchester’s primary music concert venue until the construction of the Manchester Arena. The venue was refitted in 2008 to host conferences, exhibitions and is Manchester’s secondary large concert venue.
The complex was originally Manchester Central railway station, one of the city’s main railway terminals. It was built between 1875 and 1880 and was closed to passengers on 5 May 1969. The station served as the terminus for Midland Railway express trains to London St Pancras. The station’s large arched roof – a huge wrought-iron single-span arched roof, spanning 210 feet (64 m), 550 feet (168 m) long and 90 feet (27 m) high – was a noted piece of railway engineering and is the widest unsupported iron arch in Britain after the Barlow train shed at London St Pancras.
At its height, in the 1930s, more than 400 trains passed through the station every day. The station operated for 89 years, before closing in May 1969. It became derelict and the train shed was initially used as an indoor car park.
In 1978, the structure was acquired by the Greater Manchester County Council to redevelop as a concert venue. In 1982 construction work undertaken by Alfred McAlpine It was the centrepiece of the regeneration plan for the area and wider Castlefield district. The hall covered 10,000 square metres and could be partitioned into various sized units for different exhibitions. Initial construction work concentrated on repairing the derelict structure and re-pointing brickwork which took 18 months. The Greater Manchester Exhibition Centre or G-Mex Centre was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986 after four years of renovation.
In 2001, the Manchester International Convention Centre (MICC) was added, comprising an 804-seat auditorium and breakout rooms and the Great Northern Hall. In 2005, the company running the complex was bought by Manchester City Council. G-Mex was Manchester’s primary concert venue from 1986 to 1995. Its position as a concert venue diminished after the opening of the Manchester (then NYNEX) Arena in 1995.
In January 2007 it was renamed Manchester Central, evoking the memory of the former station and converted into an exhibition and conference centre. The building was renovated at a cost of £30 million in 2008 by Manchester-based architects, Stephenson Bell. The first phase to create a foyer took from February to November 2008. The second phase, completed towards the end of 2009, included an extended foyer to the iconic Grade ll listed Central Hall. The old smoked-glass structure was demolished and replaced by a flat-roofed, clear-glazed structure exposing more of the original architecture. The final phase, completed in September 2010, focussed on the rear of the building. New event spaces were built and rooms refurbished increasing the venue’s range and size of meeting and banqueting spaces.
The G-Mex Centre has hosted rock concerts over the years. Not long after its official opening, Factory Records used the venue for their Festival of the Tenth Summer in July 1986 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Punk in the city, and included appearances by The Smiths, and Factory stalwarts New Order. James appeared in 1990, U2 in June 1992, Metallica in November 1992 on their The Black Album tour and The Cure in November 1992. G-Mex had a seating capacity of 9,500 for end stage concerts and 12,500 for standing events. Due to growing competition from the nearby Manchester Arena, Europe’s biggest indoor concert venue, the venue stopped hosting concerts in 1997, with the last gig by Oasis in December. G-Mex was the 2002 Commonwealth Games venue for gymnastics, weightlifting, judo and wrestling.
On the last weekend of 30 and 31 May 2005, it played host to the play-offs of the 2005 Premier League Darts.
After a nine-year break, it was again used for concerts by Snow Patrol in December 2006, and by Morrissey and The Verve. Marilyn Manson, Franz Ferdinand, Manic Street Preachers, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party and Hard-Fi held concerts in December 2007. Status Quo have performed there multiple times. The venue hosted concerts by Placebo in December 2009, Arcade Fire, Biffy Clyro, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Taste of Chaos Tour 2010, deadmau5, Pendulum in December 2010 and The Eighth Plague Tour. In 2011, it hosted The Girls’ Day Out Show.
In 2009 and 2010, it played host to the Manchester audition stages of the ITV singer search programme The X Factor. In December 2012, the venue hosted the finals of series 9 of The X Factor.
In September 2006, the Labour Party moved from traditional seaside venues to hold its annual party conference at the complex. It subsequently hosted conferences for the Confederation of British Industry, ECOFIN, the Liberal Democrats and, in April 2006, the Conservative Party. It hosted conferences for the Labour Party in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 and the Conservatives in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Manchester Central also played host to the 2014 BUCK convention, a convention for fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, as well as the related Summer Sun Celebration concert (which it also played host to in 2013).
MCM Manchester Comic Con is hosted here.
In 2016, the World’s First International Street Soccer Tournament, World Street 3s was launched at Soccerex Football Festival. Eight teams, from Belgium, Denmark, England, Croatia, France, Netherlands, Italy and USA, took part in the inaugural competition.
The Dutch winning team of Edward van Gils, Mohamed Attaibi, Issy ‘The Hitman’ Hamdoui and Sofian El Adel, demonstrated the unique footballing skills needed for the fast paced action of street soccer, scoring over 25 goals throughout the tournament.
The centre is served by Metrolink tram services which stop at Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop (formerly G-Mex but renamed in September 2010) and by National Rail local train services from Deansgate railway station. St Peter’s Square tram stop is a short distance away.
The Royal Agricultural Hall (now the Business Design Centre) is a Grade II listed building, which opened in 1862 in the district of Islington in London, England, for holding agricultural shows. It was the home of the Royal Smithfield Club’s Smithfield Show from 1862 to 1938. It hosted the Royal Tournament from its inauguration in 1880 until the event became too large for the venue and moved to Olympia in the early years of the 20th century. It hosted the first Crufts dog show in 1891. During the Second World War, the hall was commandeered by the Government, and from 1943, following the destruction of Mount Pleasant sorting office in an air raid, the Parcels Depot was moved to the hall. The hall then remained unused and empty until it was converted to its present use as the Business Design Centre in 1986.
According to the official Islington Libraries compilation, the Royal Agricultural Hall had its origins when in 1798 the Duke of Bedford, Sir Joseph Banks and other nobles and gentlemen decided to form the Smithfield Club which would hold annual exhibitions of livestock, agricultural produce and agricultural implements. Following some 40 years of exhibiting, first in Smithfield at Wooton’s Livery Stables near Smithfield Meat Market then at a site in the Barbican, it moved in 1839 to premises in Baker Street. However it outgrew these and it was then proposed that the club erect a hall large enough to accommodate their annual display and also to be available for other shows. The foundation stone was laid in 1861 – although a large part of the building had already been completed, and held its first exhibition in 1862.
A cattle show at the Royal Agricultural Hall in 1861.
When built it was one of the largest exhibition halls in the world. It was this building that was the original basis of the present hall, which has expanded on this site since the foundation stone was laid (though most of the building had already been completed) in 1861. The main exhibition hall covers 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2).
It hosted the Royal Tournament from its inauguration in 1880 until the event became too large for the venue and moved to Olympia in the early years of the 20th century. Sporting events included six-day cycle races – the first event being held at the Agricultural Hall in 1878. The Islington Gazette reported:
“A bicycle contest was commenced at the Agricultural Hall, on Monday last, for which £150 is offered in prizes for a six days’ competition, the money to be allocated thus: £100 for the first man, £25 for the second, £15 for the third, and £10 for the fourth.”
It also hosted the first Crufts dog show in 1891. The Smithfield Show, later the Royal Smithfield Show ran here from the opening of the building in 1861 until it moved to Earls Court in 1949 needing extra space to allow the showing of agricultural machinery.
During the Second World War the hall was commandeered by the Government, and from 1943, following the destruction of Mount Pleasant sorting office in an air raid, the Parcels Depot was moved to the hall.
It has been designated a Grade II listed building.
Business Design Centre
The Business Design Centre exterior.
The hall then remained unused and empty until it was bought and converted to its present use as the Business Design Centre by Sam Morris in 1986. As an exhibition hall, conference centre, showrooms and offices, it is home to over 100 businesses, including clothing retailer Barbour, electronics manufacturer Samsung, communications provider TSI Voice & Data, web design agency Base Creative, coffee maker Illy, and home furnishings manufacturer Oficina Inglesa.
In 2006, 2009 and 2010 Made in Brunel, a yearly design exhibition hosted by the engineering and design department at Brunel University was held here.
London Art Fair, the largest contemporary art fair in the United Kingdom, is held annually at the Business Design Centre.
The centre is owned by the Morris family.
The Barbican Centre is a performing arts centre in the City of London and the largest of its kind in Europe. The Centre hosts classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings and art exhibitions. It also houses a library, three restaurants, and a conservatory. The Barbican Centre is member of the Global Cultural Districts Network.
The London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are based in the Centre’s Concert Hall. In 2013, it once again became the London-based venue of the Royal Shakespeare Company following the company’s departure in 2001.
The Barbican Centre is owned, funded, and managed by the City of London Corporation, the third-largest arts funder in the United Kingdom. It was built as The City’s gift to the nation at a cost of £161 million (equivalent to £480 million in 2014) and was officially opened to the public by Queen Elizabeth II on 3 March 1982. The Barbican Centre is also known for its brutalist architecture.
History and design
The Barbican Centre
The Barbican Centre had a long development period, only opening long after the surrounding Barbican Estate housing complex had been built. It is situated in an area which was badly bombed during World War II.
The Barbican Centre, designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon in the Brutalist style, has a complex multi-level layout with numerous entrances. Lines painted on the ground help would-be audience members avoid getting lost on the walkways of the Barbican Housing Estate on the way to the centre. The Barbican Centre’s design – a concrete ziggurat – has always been controversial and divides opinion. It was voted “London’s ugliest building” in a Grey London poll in September 2003.
In September 2001, arts minister Tessa Blackstone announced that the Barbican Centre complex was to be a Grade II listed building. It has been designated a site of special architectural interest for its scale, its cohesion and the ambition of the project. The same architectural practice also designed the Barbican Housing Estate and the nearby Golden Lane Estate. Project architect John Honer later worked on the British Library at St Pancras – a red brick ziggurat.
Barbican Centre, London, United Kingdom
In the mid-1990s, a cosmetic improvement scheme by Theo Crosby, of the Pentagram design studio, added statues and decorative features reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts movement. In 2005-2006, the centre underwent a more significant refurbishment, designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, which improved circulation and introduced bold signage in a style in keeping with the centre’s original 1970s Brutalist architecture. That improvement scheme added an internal bridge linking the Silk Street foyer area with the lakeside foyer area. The centre’s Silk Street entrance, previously dominated by an access for vehicles, was modified to give better pedestrian access. The scheme included removing most of the mid-1990’s embellishments.
Outside, the main focal point of the centre is the lake and its neighbouring terrace. The theatre’s fly tower has been surrounded by glass and made into a high-level conservatory. The Barbican Hall’s acoustic has also been controversial: some praised it as attractively warm, but others found it too dry for large-scale orchestral performance.
In 1994, Chicago acoustician Larry Kirkegaard oversaw a £500,000 acoustic re-engineering of the hall “producing a perceptible improvement in echo control and sound absorption”, music critic Norman Lebrecht wrote in October 2000 – and returned in 2001 to rip out the stage canopy and drop adjustable acoustic reflectors, designed by Caruso St John, from the ceiling, as part of a £7.5 mn refurbishment of the hall. Art music magazine Gramophone still complained about “the relative dryness of the Barbican acoustic” in August 2007.
The theatre was built as the London home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which was involved in the design, but decided not to renew its contract in 2002 after claiming a lack of performing space, plus the artistic director, Adrian Noble, wanting to develop the company’s touring performances. The theatre’s response was to extend its existing six-month season of international productions, “Barbican International Theatre Event”, to the whole year. On 23 January 2013 Greg Doran, RSC artistic director, announced the Company’s return to the Barbican Centre in a three-year season of Shakespeare’s history plays.
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where the Barbican Centre theatrical performances are occasionally staged, and the City of London’s Barbican Library, neither part of the centre, are also on the site. The Museum of London is nearby at Aldersgate, and is also within the Barbican Estate.
The centre was built by Sir Robert McAlpine and first opened in November 2000. In May 2008, it was acquired by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company. Phase II of development, which included building London’s first International Convention Centre (ICC) and creating an eastern arrival experience, was completed on 1 May 2010. In 2015, ExCeL announced the opening of CentrEd at ExCeL, a dedicated training and meetings space located close to the western entrance of the venue overlooking Royal Victoria Dock, adding to ExCeL’s wide range of flexible spaces.
Olympia is an exhibition centre, event space and conference centre in West Kensington, London, England.
The venue is home to a range of international trade and consumer exhibitions, conferences and events.
The nearest railway station is Kensington (Olympia) which is both a London Overground station and a mainline rail station. The nearest underground stations are Barons Court, Hammersmith, Shepherd’s Bush and West Kensington. The direct District Line spur to the station only runs on weekends.
Olympia London’s story began in May 1884. John Whitley had created the National Agricultural Hall Company with the aim of building and operating the country’s largest covered show centre.
Opened on 26 December 1886 as the National Agricultural Hall, it soon changed its name to Olympia in keeping with its ideals and objectives. It was built by Andrew Handyside and Company of Derby and covered an area of 4 acres (16,000 m2). The Grand Hall was said to be the largest building in the United Kingdom to be covered by one span of iron and glass.
Olympia London now features four event venues and a conference centre. The event venues are Olympia Grand (19,325 m2 or 208,010 sq ft), Olympia National (8,730 m2 or 94,000 sq ft), Olympia Central (formerly Two) (7,850 m2 or 84,500 sq ft) and Olympia West (7,688 m2 or 82,750 sq ft).
Having secured the site, the National Agricultural Hall Company commissioned Henry Edward Coe to design the building. He had already designed the Agricultural Hall in Islington twenty five years before and took its barrel-roof form as the basis for the new building. With fixed seating for 9000 people and at nearly an acre in size, the arena was far larger than any other roofed arena in England.
The roof had to be high – 115 ft at the apex – to enable its great weight to be carried down as near vertically as possible. The loads of the 1200 ton iron frame plus 85 tons of glass and 75 tons of zinc are most elegantly carried by ten cast iron columns along either side with a ball and socket bearing at the top and bottom of each to absorb stress. The structure is incredibly strong, with the hurricane of 1987 achieving no more than the destruction of a loose ventilation hatch.
The roof of the hall was erected in twelve weeks in midwinter in 1885. Its non-putty patent glazing ensuring free expansion and contraction of 2,500 sheets of quarter inch plate glass. The glass was only replaced in 1991 with a sealed heat treated solar reflective system.
There is a legend that surrounds the ‘Prince’s Apartments’ which is a suite tacked on to the north side of the hall on two floors. This suite appears on the original plans under this name. The story goes that the suite was used by Edward, Prince of Wales (and future King Edward VII) for his amorous liaisons before he became King in 1901 – he had a notorious eye for the ladies. The block was rebuilt in 1937 as management offices and meeting rooms but is still known as the ‘Prince’s Suite’.
The other building of note was the stunning Minor Hall, long since renamed as the Pillar Hall. This is a sumptuous oak-panelled banqueting room with marble columns and a richly moulded and decorated ceiling. It is one of London’s least known public rooms.
Olympia opened its doors on 26 December 1886. The management of the venue were sure that the Royal Tournament would move from the Agricultural Hall (now the Business Design Centre). However, this did not happen which put Olympia in financial difficulty. They were dealt a lucky break when the Paris winter venue of the Hippodrome Circus was closed for repair, and a London fixture was just what they were looking for.
The Paris Hippodrome – 1886/7
Despite the success of the Hippodrome event, the National Agricultural Hall Company was still in some financial difficulty.
The Hippodrome event had been followed in 1887 by a Sportsman’s Exhibition, an Exhibition of Sporting Dogs by Mr Charles Cruft, a national gymnastic meeting and a horse show. The Irish Exhibition in 1888 was the first of Olympia’s set piece recreations featuring aspects of Irish life, work and industry.
The company managed to pay off its debts but events were still thin on the ground. However, shows in 1888 included, the First Great Horse Show which still frequents the venue today.
In 1889-90, the circus returned to Olympia with Phineas T. Barnum’s ‘Greatest Show on Earth’. The showman bought his show over from New York City and headed straight to Olympia London.
After the circus left town, an American roller skating promoter was brought in to fill the gap. £6000 was invested in decking over the entire ground floor with the hope that this huge rink would revive the craze for ‘rinking’.
The International Motor Exhibition was also held annually at Olympia from 1905 to 1936. The “Olympia Aero Exhibition” organised by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders was held for the first time in 1909.
On July 16, 1914 the highly ballyhooed international heavyweight boxing contest between France’s Georges Carpentier and America’s Gunboat Smith was staged at the Olympia London and sold in the neighbourhood of $90,000 in tickets, one of the largest gates for a sporting event at that time.
World War I
During World War I, Olympia was requisitioned as a temporary civil prison camp for German nationals and other potential hostile aliens. From 1915 onwards, the hall spent the rest of the war as an army clothing store.
After the Zeppelin airships began to raid London, the ensuing panic caused property value to fall. Sir Gilbert Greenhall took advantage of this and bought up West Kensington Gardens which lay between the venue and Hammersmith Road, gaining rental income from the properties and the opportunity to expand.
Olympia London was de-requisitioned in 1919 with its first letting going to Charles Cochran’s heavyweight fight promotion between Joe Beckett and Frank Goddard on 17 June.
The newly renamed Royal Naval, Military and Air Force Tournament returned in June, its cumbersome name being changed to the Royal Tournament the following year.
The Ideal Home Exhibition returned in 1920. It reflected the theme of the Housing Act 1919 which promised ‘homes fit for heroes’ for returning soldiers. Domestic hygiene and labour saving features were key requirements and were reflected in displays throughout the show.
By the late 1920s, Olympia London had built a firm base of annual ‘regulars’ in its exhibitions calendar. Aside from those mentioned, additions embraced machine tools, shipping engineering and marine, furniture trades and printing, advertising and marketing, cookery and food, holidays and travel, fashions and hairdressing exhibitions.
Joseph Lyons, the official caterer for Olympia London, regularly produced luncheons and dinners for thousands but the “Feast of the 8,000” in 1925, after his death, remained in the folk memory at Olympia London for decades as the peak of organisational perfection. The occasion was a Masonic war memorial fund-raising dinner. The diners came from all over the world, paying 17 guineas a head. They sat at three miles of tables served by 1,360 waitresses, supported by 700 cooks and porters with 86,000 glasses and plates in use – breakages totalled 3,500.
The National Wireless & Radio Exhibition transferred to Olympia London from the Albert Hall in 1926. Attendance that year leapt from 54,500 visitors to 116,570 in its new home. It continued until 1939 when the war stopped play. The immensely popular show renamed ‘Radiolympia’ in 1936 returned to the hall after the war until 1950.
After World War I, the Motor Show’s pressing need for more space was met by the decision to demolish the four most easterly houses in West Kensington Gardens together with the remaining Vineyard Nursery buildings fronting Addison Road, to make way for another Hall.
James Carmichael of Wandsworth was contracted on 23 April 1922 to build ‘New Hall’ for £494,000. It is a smaller and lower version of the main hall but it increased Olympia London’s exhibition space by over 9,000 sq. metres to 28,000 sq. metres in all.
The completed hall was first let for a tobacco exhibition in May 1923. ‘The Worlds Greatest Dance Hall’ became a regular event at the New Hall with regular attendances approaching 4,000 at a time.
After a clear run of 17 years Olympia London changed hands again in 1929. Olympia (1912) Ltd was bought for £1 million by Philip Ernest Hill, chairman of Covent Garden Properties Ltd. He formed Olympia Ltd, taking possession on 25 March.
To increase space, Hill built the four-storey Empire Hall (now Olympia Central) in line with the New Hall. The hall, in the Art Deco style, was built mainly to accommodate the British Industries Fair which moved from White City in 1929. Olympia London’s space now totalled nearly 50,000 sq. metres. In 1930 – when the BIF opened – the New Hall was renamed the National and the original main building became the Grand, as it is known as today.
Hill would construct one more major facility – London’s first multi-storey car park. It stands on the Maclise Road frontage and opened in 1937, originally providing parking space for a thousand cars.
World War II
Before the Second World War began, on 7 June 1934 the Blackshirt rally of Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists filled the Grand Hall.
Olympia London was requisitioned by the War Office on 10 January 1940 as civilian internment camp №14. During the Dunkirk evacuation in May/June that year the hall was General Charles de Gaulle’s assembly point for what became the Free French Army. The Royal Army Service Corps then took it over as a transport depot until October 1944 when Olympia London became a clothing store, and finally a demobilisation centre, in which role it served until 23 March 1946.
After it was demobbed on 30 June, the place was in very poor condition and had suffered light bomb damage on six occasions. Addison Road Station alongside was badly knocked about in raids in October 1940, closing the line. The station was renamed Kensington Olympia after rebuilding in 1946.
15th National Radio Exhibition 1 to 11 October 1947 Radiolympia 
Olympia London reported 1953/4 to be its best financial year since the war, with pre-tax profits of £220,000.
The first Food Fair opened at Olympia London in 1950, and was held every even-numbered year until 1968. The Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Exhibition launched in 1948, and was held biennially until the 1980s.
The 1953 Motor Show opened early on police instruction when a queue ten deep doubled back down to Philbeach Gardens. This shows how popular the shows at Olympia London were during this time.
The first computer exhibition, British Electronic Computer Exhibition, opened on 28 November 1958 in the National Hall,. Many other computer exhibitions were later held at Olympia London, with stiff competition from the nearby Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
The birth of EC&O
In the early 1970s, property tycoon Jeffrey Sterling’s Sterling Guarantee Trust (SGT) had made a bid for Earls Court. His objectives were made clearer a week later when he bought a huge stake in Olympia. The Earls Court bid was accepted on 23 March. SGT then successfully bid £11.4 million for Olympia London in March 1973. Sterling had plans to redevelop Earls Court into a more modern mixed-use exhibition hall, and eventually planned to redevelop Olympia for other purposes. Large events such as the Motor Show and the Tournament were expected to move to Birmingham’s NEC while others could occupy Olympia London pending completion of the new Earls Court.
This plan was ready to go when the 1973 oil crisis broke. The economy crashed and property values went down with it; Jeffrey Sterling’s scheme was expensively stalled.
Due to the oil crisis London’s landmark halls were much improved. The old rivals were united, brought to continental standards of service and performance, letting space increased to 100,000 sq. metres, and record high annual occupancy levels were achieved.
Jeffrey (now Lord) Sterling managed to keep the two halls open through the difficult winter of 1973/4. Rather than closing Earls Court, which was making heavy losses Sterling merged the companies into a single Earls Court and Olympia Ltd (EC&O), removed the rigidities that accumulate over time in a sellers’ market, and began to rebuild the business as EC&O Venues.
The Festival of Mind and Body at Olympia was launched in 1976 and ran on into the 1980s (the Mind Body & Soul exhibition still runs today). The National Cat Show was the largest show of its kind for years, with attendances reaching the capacity of the National Hall. The British Designer Shows were held for over ten years from 1976.
Olympia London handled the 1978/9 ‘Winter of Discontent’ by juggling large shows and fitting in smaller ones.
The National Federation of the WI took over the Grand Hall to present a vast exhibition demonstrating the broadening of interests of members as well as health and leisure opportunities; they promised ‘half a mile of jam’.
In 1986 Saudi Arabia shipped sand over to cover part of the Grand Hall for a Bedouin encampment complete with date palms, camels, goats and a sheik’s tent filled with rugs, silver and dark furniture.
A cycle of grand opera began at Earls Court in 1988 with Aida, organised by Harvey Goldsmith; The Times said that it made the Royal Albert Hall look like a studio theatre in comparison. It was successful, and Goldsmith returned the following year with a production of Carmen, and repeated Aida in 1998.
In 2012, Olympia London celebrated 125 years of events by commissioning British artists Peter Blake, Rob Ryan, Sanna Annukka and Paul Hicks to create their interpretations of the venues.
In January 2013, a £40 million investment was completed and the company re-launched with a new brand; subsequently the business was awarded the Best Marketing Campaign at the Exhibition News Awards 2014.
- BBC Good Food Show
- Olympia London International Horse Show
- London Chess Classic
- Pure London
- Spirit of Christmas
- International Art & Antiques Fair
- Marketing Week Live
- Great British Beer Festival
- Salon du Chocolat
- UCAS Design your own future
- National Wedding Show
- Toy Fair
The Royal Victoria Dock closed to commercial traffic in 1981, but it is still accessible to shipping. The centre’s waterfront location allows visiting vessels to moor alongside the centre (for example, the 2005 London Boat Show was visited by HMS Sutherland).
The exhibition building itself consists of two column-free, rectangular, subdividable halls of approximately 479,493 square feet (approximately 44,546 m²) each, on either side of a central boulevard containing catering facilities and information points. There are also three sets of function rooms, one overlooking the water, another above the western end of the central boulevard, and the third on the north side of the building. These are used for smaller meetings, seminars, presentations, and corporate hospitality. There are six hotels, more than 30 bars and restaurants, plus 3,700 parking spaces on the campus.
ExCeL London has hosted numerous consumer and trade, private and public events including exhibitions, conferences, concerts, weddings and religious events since its opening in 2000. Among these have been WorldSkills London 2011, London Boat Show, British International Motor Show, Grand Designs Live, Carole Nash MCN Motorcycle Show, The MCM Expo, London International Music Show, Star Wars Celebration Europe, London Marathon registration, World Travel Market, The Clothes Show London, Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEi), The Dive Show, Global Peace and Unity Event, the 2009 G-20 London Summit and IP Expo Europe.
In 2011, ExCeL London was awarded the Business Superbrand 2011. The site welcomed its 20 millionth visitor on June 18, 2014. ExCeL has also been awarded ‘Venue Of The Year’ on several occasions at various industry ceremonies. In 2012, ExCeL hosted several events for the Olympics and Paralympics and have since erected a legacy wall featuring the hand prints of the athletes that won Gold at the venue and the former Mayor of London Boris Johnson. In 2014, ExCeL hosted the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, chaired by American actress and UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and attended by 79 Ministers from 123 country delegations.