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Business Design Centre at 30: ‘We helped Upper Street change for the better’

PUBLISHED: 11:10 03 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 October 2016

Princess Diana visits the Business Design Centre in Islington in 1988. Picture: Business Design Centre

Princess Diana visits the Business Design Centre in Islington in 1988. Picture: Business Design Centre

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Islington’s Business Design Centre celebrates its 30th anniversary – and the regeneration of Upper Street – on Thursday.

Transformation of the Business Design Centre in Islington. Picture: Business Design CentreTransformation of the Business Design Centre in Islington. Picture: Business Design Centre

The former Royal Agricultural Hall building had stood vacant since 1970.

But after 16 years, it was redeveloped by Sam Morris into the conference and exhibition venue – from stamp exhibitions to Christmas fairs – it remains today.

Max Bull, executive director of venue sales, said: “Hopefully we are seen as playing a big part in continuing the regeneration of the area.

“I’ve worked here for 16 years and have seen how it’s changed massively. Upper Street is now a really vibrant, exciting place to be.”

A Business Design Centre conference. Picture: Gareth DaviesA Business Design Centre conference. Picture: Gareth Davies

He added: “New visitors are always taken aback seeing this conference venue in the middle of a really bustling area.

“Venues like this aren’t usually in the middle of busy high streets, like the NEC [in Birmingham] or ExCeL [near Canary Wharf].

“But the Business Design Centre has great synergy with Upper Street.”

Speaking of the centre’s longevity, Mr Bull added: “I think the fact it’s still a family-owned business has helped us remain successful.

“The same values that the Morris family created in 1986 have been maintained: a friendly, family feel with quality customer service.

“We’ve won quite a lot of industry awards, which is proof of that.”


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