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Corporate Events

The Business Design Centre: 150 Years of Hard Work and Innovation

Once the Royal Agricultural Hall, the Business Design Centre is a venue with a long tradition of hard work and innovation. Today, the BDC is one of London’s leading conference and exhibition venues. The BDC offers venue spaces for every type of business event including from their state of the art meeting rooms, all the way up to their grand Mezzanine.


Business Design Centre first opened in 1862 and was then known as the Agricultural Hall. In 1884 it received it’s Royal title, becoming the Royal Agricultural Hall. The Hall was a gathering place as farmers shared new ideas and techniques at agricultural fairs - the Smithfield show in 1862 attracted almost 135,000 visitors.

The venue demonstrated its remarkable versatility, hosting a range of events alongside the agricultural fairs including the very first Crufts, the New Worlds Fair and even walking races. During the Second World War, a nearby parcel sorting depot was bombed and so operations were moved to the Royal Agricultural Hall. Following the war, the RAH remained unused until it was purchased and converted into the Business Design Centre.

Since the venue’s rebirth as the Business Design Centre, it has continued to produce incredible events for a diverse range of clients, even transforming into a starlit ballroom to host the BAFTAs.


One of the Business Design Centre's most popular spaces is the Gallery Hall. This multi-purpose space has hosted everything from conferences to awards dinners. Thanks to the atrium level that surrounds the hall organisers enjoy a huge amount of options when it comes to utilising the space. With the Gallery Hall offering 840sqm and the Atrium adding an additional 550sqm, you can host up to 800 people for a standing reception.


At the centre of the Business Design Centre's main hall guests will find themselves in the Mezzanine. This space makes up the heart of the BDC, sitting under the sweeping metal arches of the vast roof. Ideally suited to hosting exhibitions, conventions and conferences, the Mezzanine provides up to 2000sqm of event space. Mezzanine enjoys a wonderfully open atmosphere thanks to being on its own raised level in combination with the huge glass windows at the back of the hall and in the roof.


Surrounding the Mezzanine level are the BDC’s rooms B to H. They are perfect for supporting conferences taking place on the mezzanine as breakout rooms or for hosting smaller events. Each room can host between 60 and 90 delegates or can be set up in a classroom style for workshops accommodating 24-32. Hosting everything from exams to VIP rooms at the Brides and Exhibitor Lunch Awards, the rooms surrounding the Mezzanine can be configured to suit any event.


For talks and presentations, the Business Design Centre has an auditorium available for hire. The theatre seating can accommodate up to 500 people and there is plenty of space for an AV set and the possibility of hiring the motorised ceiling rig which has pre-installed lighting and sound equipment allowing for more elaborate productions.


All these spaces allow the Business Design Centre to offer you a space that will not only suit the size of your event but the space can be adapted to meet your exact needs. Alongside the excellent transport connections (only 10 minutes from Kings Cross St. Pancras International and a short walk from Angel tube station), excellent accomodation on the doorstep and the BDC's history of excellence, it's no wonder they are one of London’s most popular conference and exhibition venues.


Take the stress out of booking your event and enquire with our Venue Experts about the Business Design Centre and other great business venues in London.


George Barker

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