VISITORS will be able to see up close an iconic lion’s head saved from a demolished former landmark building.
The corbel was one of several matching pairs used as a flagpole mount on the exterior walls on the Palace of Industry, one of structures built for the British Empire Exhibition of 1924 for which the original Wembley Stadium was created.
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In all, three of the pre-cast concrete decorations were salvaged when the building was razed in February and March last year, and one has been mounted on a plinth in Wembley Hill Road, Wembley. in time to commemorate the exhibition’s 90th anniversary at the end of July.
Brent Council leader Councillor Muhammed Butt (Labour), who helped unveil the plinth on Monday last week, said: “We’re really excited to have this piece of local history carefully preserved and on display for everyone to enjoy.
“This area has a rich history and it’s great to see the lion find a permanent home in Brent.”
Philip Grant, of Wembley History Society, who campaigned the corbel to be rescued and put on display, said: “The British Empire Exhibition is an event that has brought people to Wembley from around the world 90 years ago ‘to get to know one another better’, and I hope that people in Wembley today from around the world, whether residents or visitors, will enjoy this piece of our heritage from the British Empire Exhibition, and will use the opportunity when they come to see it to ‘get to know one another better’.”
The plinth, with the corbel facing east towards where the palace once stood, was co-funded by Brent Council, the Wembley History Society, the Exhibition Study Group and Quintain.
Head of masterplanning at Quintain, Julian Tollast, said: “The unveiling of the lion’s head at Wembley Park is a great way for us to honour the heritage of Wembley Park.
“Quintain places great importance on Wembley Park’s unique and rich history being a key part of what brings the community together, so celebrating events such as this is something we are very excited to be a part of.”
The two other corbels saved during the demolition are being stored at a council depot at Roe Green Park in Kingsbury.
A council spokeswoman said: “We are in ongoing discussions with Quintain about future locations for these but we have no firm plans as yet.”
Meanwhile, the land occupied by the Palace of Industry has been turned into a temporary car park to facilitate Quintain Estates’ ongoing Wembley City-branded development around Wembley Stadium.