Work on last truly inaccessible area of grade II-listed site to get underway following Historic England grant

Work to bring a derelict part of Alexandra Palace back into public use is set to kick off within the next few days following an award of grant funding from Historic England.

Conservation architect Burrell Foley Fischer and main contractor ROOFF will start on the north London site early next month to restore an office suite in the grade II-listed palace which has not been used in more than 40 years.

The North East Office Building is the last truly inaccessible area in the seven-acre building, nicknamed Ally Pally, and was last used by a production unit working for the Open University in 1981.

Alexandra Palace North East Office

The North East Office Building at Alexandra Palace has been vacant for more than 40 years

First occupied in 1875, the space had been used variously over the years as a ticket office, porter facility, costume room and an administrative office before falling into disrepair.

Historic England has awarded a grant of £550,000 to the project to get it underway through the organisation’s Heritage at Risk programme, which identifies sites needing financial support to pursue restoration projects.

Work at the office site is expected to take around four months and will see the removal of decayed brickwork and timber, the removal and storage of historic roof lanterns and the installation of a new roof covering.

The scheme will also prepare the ground for feasibility work looking into how the space could be developed for public benefit in the future.

Other firms currently on the project team include cost consultant DR Nolans and structural engineer The Morton Partnership.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England chief executive, said: “I’ve always loved Ally Pally and am delighted to hear that the 25th anniversary of our Heritage at Risk programme has coincided with the 150th anniversary of the Palace in such a fruitful way. 

“I really appreciate the time and care taken by colleagues and partners across the country to support and save places like Alexandra Palace, which is one of our best-loved buildings.”

The government heritage advisor’s regional director Tom Foxall described Alexandra Palace as “a vast site full of unique and intriguing spaces”, adding that the funding will address the most urgent repair work and act as a springboard to access further funding which will open up the area to the public for the first time.

The grant marks the next phase of the major restoration project that saw the palace’s Victorian Theatre reopen in 2018 following 80 years of closure, alongside the transformation of the East Court.

The two schemes, both funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Haringey Council, have seen the proportion of the palace that remains out of use has reduced from 40% to 29%.