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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/1297/ECGL
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1914-1934
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.05 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Earls Court Grounds Ltd


Administrative/Biographical history:

The area of Earls Court was largely rural hamlet until the construction of the railway station of the same name. What had been farmland became waste-ground between four separate railways lines. In 1887 an entrepreneur called John Robinson Whitley had the idea of transforming this derelict ground into an entertainment venue, establishing spectaculars such as Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, a Great Wheel similar to the London Eye, and annual exhibitions. The managing company was known as Earls Court Limited.

After war broke out in 1914 the grounds were closed; Earls Court Limited surrendered their lease and went into liquidation. Earls Court Grounds Limited was incorporated in December 1914 and entered into agreements with the liquidated Earls Court Limited and the Metropolitan District Railway Company for taking over the lease of the grounds. The chair of the company was Mr Murray Griffith, a member of the board of the Metropolitan District Railway Company, and the registered office was the Earls Court Administration Offices on Lillie Road. One of the first items noted in the mintues is that the land had been let to the Local Government Board for the erection of temporary housing for Belgian war refugees. After 1919 the London General Omnibus Company used the area as a depot. In 1934 a notice in the minute book states that the company were surrendering the premises to the lessors - "the Metropolitan District Railway Company, now vested in the London Passenger Transport Board" - and as the LPTB were taking over the business of the company it was now defunct.

It was not until 1935 that a suggestion was made to use the space for an exhibition and event centre. A new company, also called Earls Court Limited was established under the chairmanship of Sir Ralph Glyn, director of the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company. The prospectus for the company states that it was formed to acquire from the London Passenger Transport Board a 99 year lease of the Earls Court Exhibition Grounds, for the purpose of erecting modern buildings designed for letting to producers of entertainments and exhibitions (see The Times, Monday, Jul 22, 1935; pg. 20; Issue 47122; col A). The centre was opened in 1937 - the first show was the Chocolate and Confectionery exhibition.

For more information and photographs of development see (accessed Sept 2011).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Earls Court Grounds Limited, comprising minutes of Board and General Meetings.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Records arranged in one series: ACC/1297/ECGL/01: Minutes.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received in 1975 as part of an accession of records from London Transport.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
November 2009 to February 2010

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