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Northern cities battling to host Great Northern Expo

The treasury announced earlier this year that they will be providing a £5million grant to the winning bidder for a Great Exhibition of The North but what exactly will be involved and who’s in the running?

Northern cities battling to host Great Northern Expo

In the latest idea to be lifted directly from Victorian times, George Osborne has announced that in the summer of 2018 an exhibition similar to the famous crystal palace exhibition of 1851 will be held in the north of England to celebrate all things Northern. A number of cities are lining themselves up for the bidding process aiming at bringing a large boost in tourism to contribute to the local economy.

In 1844 France held the world famous Industrial Exhibition in celebration of French engineering and innovation. It was widely praised and considered the most impressive exhibition of culture and engineering fetes anywhere in the world. In response to this Prince Albert had decided that it was in Britain’s interest to respond to this by outrageously trumping the French, building an enormous and extremely impressive ‘Crystal Palace’. It took the form of a massive glass house, 1851 feet (about 564 metres) long by 454 feet (about 138 metres) wide and was constructed from cast iron-frame components and glass made almost exclusively in Birmingham and Smethwick. Six million people—equivalent to a third of the entire population of Britain at the time—visited the Great Exhibition. The average daily attendance was 42,831 with a peak attendance of 109,915 on 7 October. The event made a surplus of £186,000 (£18,370,000 in 2015)

Whilst we might not expect something quite as grand in this revisiting of Britain’s industrial past there certainly seems to be a good level of excitement and anticipation for the opportunity to showcase the best of the north.

The Northern Powerhouse initiative is now getting very much underway and the government are keen to show as many people as possible not just the bright future of this part of the country but also its proud and varied heritage.

Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool are currently performing well above expectations economically amid waves of new investment and strong property market performances. They’re considered to be among the front runners for hosting the event along with Newcastle and York.

Organisers are reportedly keen to host the exhibition in one of the cities that are already showing signs of broad investment and regeneration with Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool seeing new building projects appearing on a now regular basis. Property investment in the cities is reaching new highs amongst strong performance in
the market and it is felt that this would provide an excellent setting for a showcase of Northern future prosperity.

There has been some criticism of the project with Labour MP Maria Eagle arguing that rather than pitting cities against each other for investment the chancellor should be encouraging a legacy project in collaboration with locations across the region. Some commentators took a more light hearted approach to the matter with Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan, often dubbed “the bard of Barnsley” saying “It should have a Northern name, I think it should be called the Champion Exhibition of the North, or the Gradely Exhibition, or perhaps the Reyt Good One.”

It’s more good news for the region with cities across the North West and Yorkshire continuing to perform strongly economically as well as producing some of the country’s best arts and music. It will also spell another opportunity for investors across the UK and from across the world to see the advantages of investing in the region with many already reaping the rewards of a booming local economy and impressive construction.


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