The People’s Palace

I have been meaning to do a post about the original People’s Palace, now subsumed into being the Queen’s Building at Queen Mary.   It has a long and interesting history.   Barber Beaumont, an eighteenth-century miniaturist who was trained at the Royal Academy Schools, turned in later life into an entrepreneur, establishing the Provident Life Institute and Bank of Savings. As a philanthropist, he set up the Eastern Athenaeum, a museum, library and concert hall in Beaumont Square, which later became the New Philosophic Institute in Mile End.    His legacy also made possible the construction of a so-called People’s Palace, a rival to the Alexandra Palace in combining the functions of swimming pool, winter garden and concert hall.   It was described by The Times as ‘a happy experiment in practical socialism’ and, at least to begin with, was wildly popular.   The original building was designed by E.R. Robson, the architect of the London Board Schools, but burned down in 1931.   It was taken over by Queen Mary in 1934:-





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