The Business Design Centre is an exhibition centre on Upper Street in the district of Islington in London.

The foundation stone was laid in 1861 - although a large part of the building had already been completed. It occupies a Grade II listed building formerly known as the Royal Agricultural Hall, which opened in c.1861 (but the date on the clock is 1862). According to the official Islington Libraries compilation The Royal Agricultural Hall had its origins when in 1798 the Duke of Bedford, Sir Joseph Banks and other nobles and gentlemen decided to form the Smithfield Club which would hold annual exhibitions of livestock, agricultural produce and agricultural implements.

Following some forty years of exhibiting, first in Smithfield at Wooton’s Livery Stables near Smithfield Meat Market then at a site in the Barbican, it moved in 1839 to premises in Baker Street. However it outgrew these and it was then proposed that the Club erect a hall large enough to accommodate their annual display and also to be available for other shows. It was then one of the largest exhibition halls in the world. It was this building that was the original basis of the present hall, which has expanded on this site since the foundation stone was laid (though most of the building had already been completed) in 1861. The main exhibition hall covers 65,000 square feet (6,000 m 2). It hosted the Royal Tournament from its inauguration in 1880 until the event became too large for the venue and moved to Olympia in the early years of the 20th century. It also hosted the first Crufts dog show in 1891. The Smithfield Show,later the Royal Smithfield Show ran here from the opening of the building in 1861 until it moved to Earls Court in 1949 needing extra space to allow the showing of agricultural machinery.

World War II
During the Second World War the hall was commandeered by the Government, and from 1943, following the destruction of Mount Pleasant sorting office in an air raid, the Parcels Depot was moved to the hall.

The hall then remained unused and empty until it was converted to its present use in 1986, as an exhibition hall, conference centre, showrooms and offices. It is home to over 100 businesses, including clothing retailer, Barbour, electronic's manufacturer, Samsung, web design agency, Base Creative, and coffee maker, Illy. It is currently the venue for Made in Brunel, a yearly design exhibition hosted by the engineering and design department at Brunel University

Archival records
Islington Local History Centre holds the archive of the Royal Agricultural Hall Company Limited, which contains deeds and maintenance records, correspondence, ledgers, cash books, letting agreements and exhibition programmes.

Angel tube station

Building Activity

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