The People's Palace

This gallery explores the historical legacy of the People’s Palace, which was opened in 1886. Its purpose was to provide cultural activities to the people of East London. 

The original People’s Palace was entirely based in what is now the Queen’s Building. It included a large concert hall called the Queens Hall, a library (now known as The Octagon), Winter Garden, swimming pool, gymnasium, gardens and tennis courts. 

After the Queen’s Hall was destroyed by fire in 1931 the People’s Palace was rebuilt and reopened in 1936, next to the Queen’s Building. Cultural events continued to be provided until the 1950s, when the People’s Palace was purchased by Queen Mary College and refurbished to provide an entrance to the Queen’s Building.

The following images are taken from the People’s Palace collection (QMC/PP) and the Queen Mary College collection (QMC). The originals are available for consultation in the Caroline Skeel Archives Reading Room. Contact us for more information or speak to the Reading Room Supervisor. To find out more about our collections, see the collections listed in Archives Bookmarks.