Earls Court Exhibition Centre is an exhibition centre, conference and event venue in London, United Kingdom. It is located within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and is the largest such venue in central London.
It is served by two London Underground stations, Earl's Court and West Brompton, opposite its entrances on Warwick Road and Old Brompton Road.
Earls Court and the nearby Olympia are operated by EC&O Venues. It is widely known for hosting the Brit Awards for ten years from 2000 to 2010 and a number of other well-publicised events, and was used as a venue for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Aerial view of Earls Court
Earls Court was largely a waste ground for many years. With the introduction of two stations, it became a mass network of rail on derelict grounds. The idea of introducing entertainment to the grounds was brought about by an entrepreneur called John Robinson Whitley who used the land as a show ground for many years. Whitley did not profit from his efforts, yet his desire had decided the future of Earls Court and its purpose in later years. In the late 19th century the site had been home to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and a huge observation wheel. A plaque in the press centre commemorates both of these facts and that Queen Victoria was a frequent visitor to the show.
In 1935 the land was sold and the new owners decided to construct a show centre to rival any other in the world and to dominate the nearby Olympia exhibition hall. The plan was to create Europe's largest structure by volume. The project did not go exactly to plan; it ran over budget and was late in completion. Earls Court finally opened its door to the public for the Chocolate and Confectionery Exhibition on 1 September 1937. It was designed by architect C. Howard Crane. The Motor Show and Commercial Vehicle show soon followed. In spite of all the problems in the latter part of construction, the project was completed at a cost of £1.5 million. This building is now usually referred to as Earls Court One. It has 41,811 square metres of space on two levels.
Earls Court Two 
Entrance to Earls Court Two
In response to the drastic need to increase Earls Court's exhibition space, Earls Court Two was constructed at a cost of £100m. The striking new barrel-roofed hall which links with Earls Court One via folding shutters is large enough to hold four Boeing 747's (jumbo jets), and the hall's 17,000 square metre floor is entirely column-free. The hall was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales on 17 October 1991 for the Motorfair. Earls Court 2 is situated on part of the former Lillie Bridge.
A cycle of grand opera began at Earls Court in 1988 with Aida. Earls Court was also the venue for a series of concerts in 1994 from the Pink Floyd tour "The Division Bell".
Brit Awards 
The Brit Awards were first held at Earls Court in 1997, and then from 2000 to 2010. The awards show moved to the O2 Arena in 2011.
Earls Court hosted events at the 1948 Summer Olympics, and the volleyball events of the 2012 Summer Olympics from 28 July to 12 August. It is currently home to the London Rollergirls.
Redevelopment plans 
The owner of the exhibition centres at Earls Court and Olympia is Capital & Counties Properties PLC, also known as Capco, which is presently in discussion with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to demolish the existing centre and redevelop the area with up to 8000 new flats, retail and possibly a new convention centre. However this is expected to take many years work and the latest date scheduled is January 2014. Nigel Nathan is the Group Managing Director of EC&O Venues and is also on the Board of CapCo.
Demolition of Earls Court Exhibition Centre is opposed by the Earls Court Action Group made up of residents and interested parties who will be affected by the Exhibition Centre's destruction for the next 20 years of the proposed redevelopment. The action group have an on going petition hosted by 38 Degrees.
Councillor Nicky Gavron, a Labour member of the London Assembly, argues that “Losing Earls Court would be a huge setback for the London and UK economy. Earls Court brings in £1bn a year, provides a shop window for UK industries and sustains thousands of long-term jobs in the local area. This economic benefit cannot and will not be replaced by a one-off construction project. There is no evidence London needs less exhibition space. Britain’s competitors are currently expanding their own capacity because they understand the economic benefits these centres create.”
Councillor Darren Johnson, a Green Party member of the London Assembly, wrote to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and argued that “The Earls Court demolition plans are a recipe for a disaster, with massive economic, social and environmental consequences. The winners will be the wealthy developers and overseas property speculators while the losers will be the community, local businesses and Londoners who will lose one of the capital’s key exhibition centres.”
The Guardian's London blogger Dave Hill cites concerns over the number and relative affordability of the housing that will be constructed on the site after the proposed demolition of the centre, as well as concerns over the views of local residents.
External links 
- Manchester Arena (21,000)
- The O2 Arena (20,000)
- Earls Court Exhibition Centre (19,000)
- LG Arena (16,000)
- National Indoor Arena (14,000)
- Odyssey Arena (14,000)
- Motorpoint Arena Sheffield (13,500)
- First Direct Arena (13,500)
- Manchester Central (12,500)
- SECC (12,500)
- Wembley Arena (12,500)
- Echo Arena Liverpool (11,000)
- Metro Radio Arena (11,000)
- Capital FM Arena Nottingham (10,000)
- AECC (10,000)
: Komazawa Volleyball Courts
, Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium
(final) • 1968
: Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium
(final), Juan Escutia Sports Palace
, Revolution Ice Rink
: Montreal Forum
(final), Paul Sauvé Centre
: Druzhba Multipurpose Arena
, Minor Arena
(final) • 1984
: Long Beach Arena
: Hanyang University Gymnasium
, Jamsil Gymnasium
(final), Saemaul Sports Hall
: Palau dels Esports de Barcelona
, Palau Sant Jordi
(final), Pavelló de la Vall d'Hebron
: Atlanta Beach
, Omni Coliseum
(indoor final), University of Georgia Coliseum
: Bondi Beach
, Sydney Entertainment Centre
(indoor final), The Dome and Exhibition Complex
: Faliro Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre
, Peace and Friendship Stadium
: Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
, Capital Indoor Stadium
(indoor final), Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground
: Earls Court Exhibition Centre
, Horse Guards Parade
: Copacabana Beach