The Earls Court Exhibition Centre is an exhibition centre, conference and event venue, the largest exhibition venue in central London.
Originally an open arena that housed numerous prestigious events (among others, the Empire of India Exhibition in 1896, the Victorian Era Exhibition in 1897, Paris in London Exhibition in 1902, Venice by Night in 1904 and the Imperial Austrian Exhibition in 1906), Earls Court One was built and opened to the public in the 1930s.
Following a short period of prosperity, Earls Court was used for the manufacture and repair of London’s air defence balloon barrage during World War II. After the war, the venue continued to host various events, including the British Industries Fair and the Royal Tournament. In the 1970s a decision was made to merge Earls Courts with nearby Olympia to create a bigger and more multifaceted venue. As a result, Earl Court Two (as opposed to the original structure) was designed and constructed in the 1980s. The striking new barrel-roofed hall which links with Earls Court One via folding shutters is large enough to hold four 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 frequently houses concerts, with the genres presented ranging from opera to rock. Artists who performed there include Led Zeppelin, Spice Girls, Iron Maiden, Queen, U2, Madonna, Morrissey, Muse, Kylie Minogue and Madness. Also the BRIT Awards ceremony used to be held there, too, before it moved to the O2 Arena.
During this year’s Games, Earls Court will host the indoor volleyball competition, which will take place from 27 July to 12 August. 24 teams – 12 for each gender – will compete in the two medal events.