Could Ally Pally become London's showcase for science?

That letter from Clive Carter about the continuing saga of Ally Pally (Bill for Bungling, July 17th) was brilliant. It has encouraged me to put forward an idea I have had for years: why not turn Ally Pally into a public Science Park, like the one they hav

That letter from Clive Carter about the continuing saga of Ally Pally (Bill for Bungling, July 17th) was brilliant. It has encouraged me to put forward an idea I have had for years: why not turn Ally Pally into a public Science Park, like the one they have in Paris? (The London Science Park?) It is large enough to do this and retain the outdoor recreational facilities. It also has the history. Build on the television tradition, and emphasise the sciences of electricity and the air (including X-rays,astronomy, domestic goods, TV, computers). It could be the outpost of the Science Museum, currently confined on its small site, with 95% of its collection in store. It could also have links with the London universities (Imperial, Kings) for education and youth work. It could use the whole park (as in Paris) and the current play areas would be rennovated; it could include the old railway station as part of 'the experience'. Visitors could also explore the charms of Muswell Hill.

The only drawbacks are transport links (but there are railways and buses); and money - it would have to be nationally-funded project that would also swallow the debt, and deal with the fabric of the building. Possibly, also, it would need some wealthy patrons. Obviously it would have its own Trust to manage it, with local representatives.

As Clive Carter's letter graphically showed, Alexandra Palace is just too big for one local authority to cope with. It was originally built as a London-wide leisure facility (hence the train station) and could be again. Perhaps this idea has already been put forward, and rejected, I don't know. Please could it be considered now?

Virginia Cumming


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