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People’s Palace

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The People's Palace was a public hall built "for the recreation, amusement and education of the people of the East End of London".

The palace had its origins in the Beaumont Philosophical Institution. The institution was founded in Beaumont Square, Mile End Road in 1840 by John Thomas Barber Beaumont "for the mental and moral improvement of the inhabitants of the said Square, and the surrounding neighbourhood". In 1882 the Beaumont fund was reorganised by the Charity Commissioners, and placed under the administration of Sir Edmund Hay Currie.

Following five years of fundraising, the People's Palace was opened by Queen Victoria on 14 May 1887. The building included a technical school, swimming baths, winter gardens, gymnasium and lecture rooms. It was designed by Edward Robert Robson, the architect of the London School Board.

The educational section of the palace became known as the East London Technical College which became a school of the University of London in 1907.

In 1933 the People's Palace and East London College were completely separated, with the college receiving a royal charter to become Queen Mary College in 1934.

The Queen's Hall and Music Hall were destroyed by fire in 1931. They were rebuilt in 1936 and formally opened by King George VI on February 13, 1937. The new building featured panels by the sculptor Eric Gill depicting Drama, Music, Fellowship, Dance, Sport and Recreation.

In 1956 the palace was purchased by Queen Mary College. It now forms the entrance to the Queen's Building of the college.

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