Goodbye to Earls Court

View pictures from the closing moments of the 44th and last London International Boat Show to be held in the historic building.

It’s been an extraordinary 24 hours for the marine industry as it said goodbye to one of the best known of boat show venues anywhere in the world. The London International Boat Show is moving to ExCel in Docklands and so the very last weekend of its 44 years at Earls Court was always going to be significant for companies and visitors.

A simple 15-minute ceremony draw a curtain over a building that had seen the transition of an industry from wood to GRP, sailing bias to a much stronger focus on power and lead lines to sophisticated electronics. Just hours after we said goodbye to Earls Court, here are a few pictorial reminders of those closing moments. Click on the photographs to view a larger version.

Earls Court London Boat Show 2002 exterior   London Boat Show Earls Court 1
Left The familiar Warwick Road edifice of Earls Court for its 44th and last hosting of the London International Boat Show. Right Earls Court’s swan song saw the reincarnation of the central feature theme based around the original hall’s Olympic-sized pool. Turkey was this year’s sponsor.
London Boat Show 2002 Earls Court 2   London Boat Show Earls Court 1 escalator from level 2 to level 1
Left the modern Earls Court 2 hall, a welcome addition a few years ago, allowed the London show to expand but ExCel will allow it to grow again, from 58,000sq m to 80,000sq m. Right in its earliest days Earls Court’s balcony level in the original hall was linked by steps but escalators have been a familiar and welcome fixture for many years. Such an elevated vista is now consigned to history as ExCel’s show floors are all on one level and the ceiling height just 10m.
Royal Marines Band on stage   Earls Court's Andrew Morris presents Robert Braithwaite with a photograph
Left a recording of ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave’ by the Royal Marines has been the traditional music broadcast over the loudspeakers at the start of each day of the London show; this time the band was there to play the very last Earls Court rendition live. Right the chief executive of Earls Court, Andrew Morris, presents a photograph of the venue’s boat show team to Sunseeker’s chairman Robert Braithwaite, who is also the current chairman of National Boat Shows. Morris was presented with an original painting of a sailing ship on behalf of the industry.
Robert Braithwaite declares the 49th London International Boat Show closed   The streamers fall from the balconies as the London Boat Show 2002 closes
Left an emotional Robert Braithwaite closed the 49th London International Boat Show. Seconds later, boat horns sounded and the streamers flew from the balcony (right).


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