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"Hello Radiolympia. This is direct television from the studios at Alexandra Palace!" *

THESE were the immortal words spoken to camera by Elizabeth Cowell and received at the big Radio show at Olympia, in West London. This was amongst similar test transmissions during August 1936, prior to the beginning of regular broadcasting just a couple of months later, on 2 November 1936.

Alexandra Palace was the birthplace of scheduled public, "high" definition television broadcasting in the UK and arguably, the world.

The American Modern Mechanix magazine of May 1935, described this as, England Will Broadcast First Chain Television Programs, to "Lookers".

BBC Studios A & B are the world's oldest surviving television studios.

YET in 2007, our People’s Palace was to be sold down the river by its very guardians – the Trustee – the London Borough of Haringey. The TV studios were to be destroyed with the connivance of the local council. Here is raw uncensored opinion and information about the scandal of the attempted fire-sale of our Charitable Trust’s asset, for property development. It includes letters sent to local papers, published & unpublished.

AFTER receiving a slap-down from the High Court (2007, October 5), two and a half years went by before the council finally abandoned its 15-year-old policy of "holistic" sale (i.e. lock stock and barrel). Then there was an attempt at partial sale ("up to two-thirds") to a music operator but without governance reform. To tart the place up for a developer, the council blithely sought about a million pounds towards this goal, a further sum of cash to be burnt.

THE local council has proved itself, to everyone's satisfaction, to have been a poor steward and guardian for over 20 years. Now, the master plan (below) developed under the new CEO Duncan Wilson OBE deserves to succeed.

It would be also be a big step forward to have a Trust Board at least partly independent of Haringey Council. 'Outside' experts would be an advantage. They'd likely be more interested, committed, of integrity and offer greater continuity. Bringing independent members onto the board and freeing it from political control would be the best assurance of success, sooner.


ALLY PALLY: five years on ...

ON TUESDAY night (6th November) the Alexandra Palace Trust Board formally approved the big bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in respect of most of the east side of Alexandra Palace.

If successful, this proposal would see the refurbishment of two historic spaces: the 1936 BBC television studio complex in the south east wing together with the huge Victorian Theatre with original stage equipment, in the north east wing.

The Save Ally Pally campaign group sincerely wishes this bid the best of luck.

What a change! It is almost exactly five years since Save Ally Pally had to appeal to the High Court to ask for the Charity Commission's approval for a sale of the People's Palace to a developer (a former slum landlord, according to the Evening Standard) to be quashed. This would almost certainly have led to the destruction of the original BBC studios and probably the Victorian Theatre. Fortunately we were successful and 5 October 2007 marked the date of the turning of the tide in the fortunes of our Charity's main asset.

Now the scene is utterly transformed. The management who masterminded the sale attempt are long gone: the General Manager who supervised the sale plans retired in disgrace; a former Board Chairman was found to have brought the Council into disrepute and was suspended. Recently and finally, the former trust solicitor was let go after 22 years of expensive "advice" whose quality was, at best, indifferent.

Where a developer saw only real estate, citizens saw history. For the south east wing – once earmarked by the property developer for "Offices" - the Mayor of London has endorsed the proposal for a UN World Heritage site in respect of the  BBC TV studios - the world birthplace of television.

The appointment of Duncan Wilson as Chief Executive of the Palace and Park, having had (unlike all the his predecessors at AP) extensive experience of managing historic sites, including the Greenwich world heritage site, was a huge stride forward in AP fortunes.

Today, much of the hopes and ambitions of those crazed SAP loons that historic Ally Pally could rise from the ashes of neglect and disrepair to once again become a top visitor attraction for London, are actually reflected in the bid that will be put together by a new and positive AP management team.

At a local public house last Sunday, SAP marked the fifth anniversary of the vital High Court ruling with a cake and celebration.

The HLF bid is not just a vindication of the efforts of the SAP group, but collectively it's a victory for the Trust Beneficiaries of north London. It's also a victory for the public of London as a whole and indeed, nationally. In respect of BBC Studios A and B, it may yet transpire as a benefit for the citizens of the world.

SAP would encourage any members of the public who, like us, support the regeneration proposal and HLF bid, to write to Duncan Wilson, the Chief Executive of Alexandra Palace.

Save Ally Pally