Earls Court: Its Development and Attractions

Earls Court was once a rural area full of green fields and market gardens but now it is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London. It edges the sub-districts of South Kensington to the east, West Kensington to the west, Chelsea to the south and Kensington to the north. One of its most prominent features was the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre which was an internationally renowned exhibition, conference and events venue in London. It was one of the largest indoor arenas and a popular concert venue in the country. It originally opened in 1887 but was built in 1937 with a most recent art modern style exterior. However, it closed in 2014.

Proper development of Earls Court area started only after the construction of the Metropolitan District Railway Station in 1865-69 which acted as a catalyst for its growth that saw it getting transformed into a densely populated suburb with 1,200 houses and two churches, especially in the quarter century after 1867. The development saw the construction of Eardley Crescent and Kempsford Gardens between 1867 and 1873, and in 1873, building of Earl’s Court Square and Longridge Road started. In 1874, constructions started in Nevern Place, while Trevobir Road and Philbeach Gardens started in 1876 and Nevern Square in 1880. The 2001 census showed that the population of Earls Court ward was 9,659.

Earls Court gained importance mainly because of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre that was the largest such venue within central London. Founded by John R. Whitley, the first exhibition hosted at the venue included performances by Buffalo Bill Cody, being a part of the ‘American Exhibition’. The next was ‘Four National Exhibitions’, the title of C. Lowe’s 1892 book about Earls Court and its founder. The venue opened in 1937 with an impressive Art Deco façade facing Warwick Road. For easy access to the venue, a new entrance to Earl’s Court tube station was created, including direct entrance from the underground passage which connects the District and Piccadilly lines. When the capacity of the Exhibition Centre was increased in the 1990s, by the construction of a second exhibition hall, Earl’s Court 2, which was opened by Princess Diana, herself a former Earl’s Court resident, this entrance was closed.

If you wish to stay in a luxurious hotel in a posh area while visiting London, your best bet would be to stay at Park Grand London Kensington Hotel as you will get the most comfortable accommodation and be able to enjoy state-of-the-art facilities and services, while being located close to most of your places of interest.

For many decades the venue served as the premier exhibition hall in London, hosting many of the national trade fairs including the annual Motor Show and Royal Agricultural Show, the Royal Tournament and Earls Court Motor Show, Ideal Home Show, the Brit Awards (until 2010), Crufts Dog Show and many other famous events and concerts. Both the 1948 and 2012 Olympic Games held events at this venue. The longest-running annual show was the Ideal Home Show in April, which attracted tens of thousands of visitors. It was increasingly used as a live music venue that hosted events such as the farewell concert by the boy-band Take That. Moreover, arena-style opera performances of Carmen and Aida were also held here. A unique and powerful rehearsal of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwangler playing the end of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony during a post-war reconciliation visit to London can be seen on YouTube in the archive Movietone newsreel footage. The nearest London Underground stations were Earls Court and West Brampton that were located opposite its entrances on Warwick Road and Old Brompton Road respectively. Plans were approved in 2013 to demolish the Earls Court venue so that a new residential and retail estate could be built on the site which is likely to be completed in 2033. The site’s demolition started in December 2014.

Earls Court is a most strategic location in London, close to some of the most important neighbourhoods and to a number of attractions. Hotels Near Earls Court London present an ideal place to stay as they are conveniently placed and are available in different categories.

The important areas and attractions of London at a walking distance from Earls Court are High Street Kensington, Holland Park, Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum. The other landmark buildings include the Empress State Building located in Lille Road which is a unique triangular office building with concave bow facades that was occupied by the Ministry of Defence for 30 years and later on by the Metropolitan Police around 2003; the Finborough Theatre which is the neighbourhood’s local theatre that opened in 1980; the Troubadour which is a small music venue and a coffee house, which is famous for having hosted emerging talent since 1954 including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Costello; and Earl’s Court Village which is where most of the British Filipino community stays and where a number of restaurants, supermarkets and banks are located.

Earl’s Court also houses a police box that resembles the Doctor’s time machine that is seen in Doctor Who, a BBC television series. Outside Earl’s Court Underground station, you can see a blue police box which is actually a present-day replica of the traditional GPO police signal boxes that were frequently seen in the UK until the early 1970s, being used as a kind of specialised telephone kiosk for policemen on their beat. They were phased out when personal radios were introduced for policemen. Earl’s Court also offers many traditional craftsmanship and creative industries such as the Earl’s Court Glass-Blowing, a world-famous mannequin factory. It also offers the Prince of Teck which is a Grade II listed pub.

Notable residents of the area include Diana, Princess of Wales, Stewart Granger, Adelaide Hall, Tara Palmer Tomkinson, Horace Donisthorpe, Major Sir William Palliser, H. G. Palissier and Howard Spensley. Earls Court has also featured in many film locations and in novels.

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