After more than 100 years all but one of the RHS London Shows are on the move.
The Horticultural Halls
The halls are situated near the RHS HQ in London’s Vincent Square. Until 2011, the RHS owned two halls used for theirs and other exhibitions.
The Lindley Hall built in 1904 is one of the oldest purpose built exhibition halls in the country. The grade two listed building has a distinctive glazed arched roof intended to allow as much light as possible to enter. Its central location and history makes it popular for a wide range of events, few of which have any connection to horticulture.
The newer Art Deco Lawrence Hall opened in 1928. It is also grade two listed, known for its distinctive parabolic arches. The RHS leased it to nearby Westminster School in 2011 for use as a sports centre. Under the terms, the RHS retained the right to hold four RHS London shows a year.
Shows on the move
From 2019, only one of the present five London shows will continue. The RHS Spring Launch and Orchid Show from the 8th to the 10th of April.
The Early Spring Plant Fair and the Harvest Festival Shows will move to the RHS Garden at Hyde Hall in Essex. The venue for the Botanical Art show is still to be announced. The Urban Garden Show will cease as a separate event. When the rebuilding at Wisley is complete, some shows may relocate there.
The rationale for the changes is attendance and cost. Only 12,000 visitors attended the five shows together at a cost to the charity of £400,000. The Wisley show alone had over 45,000, even Rosemoor, in its first year managed 9,000. The cost of hotels, parking and convenience are further reasons for the move.
Sadly it it is the end of an area, hopefully the one remaining show will prosper using these iconic halls for their intended purpose.