The ICC is closing in on a milestone birthday – the big three zero. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened our venue on 12th June 1991, and whilst the first event took place that April, we are set to celebrate this landmark occasion 30 years after the official royal opening.
Looking back on the venue's foundations, quite literally, the ICC was built on the site of the world’s first purpose-built exhibition space, Bingley Hall, and it has been the mission ever since opening to lead the conferencing industry on such significant ground. Between the engaging approach to event delivery and going above and beyond to exceed customer expectations, we believe the venue and the team have succeeded in that quest.
Events have brought our venue to life over the past three decades providing countless wonderful memories and unforgettable occasions. From the exciting 1996 UEFA European Championship Finals Draw and the prestigious G8 Summit in 1998, to the high-profile political party conferences and the celebratory banquets and awards dinners. However, it’s the people that really make the ICC stand out.
Janine Smith, who joined the ICC as an Account Manager in 1999 and is now Venue Sales Director of NEC Group Conventions & Exhibitions, said of her time at the ICC: “It was a privilege to be part of the team at the ICC as it forged its reputation as a leading conference venue through the 90s and beyond. Like the team in position today, we were dynamic and ambitious, and we worked hard to attract an array of high-profile events early in the venue’s life. We built many fantastic relationships back then, which have only strengthened over the years and this has led to exceptional success for both organisers and the ICC.”
The team has been the driving force in generating remarkable progress at the ICC over the years, through technological advancements, event innovation and trend setting at every possible turn. And all of this complemented by top class catering to delegates and guests in the millions. An incredible amount of dedication and pride has gone into 30 years of event delivery, resulting in an industry leading reputation and an outstanding range of accolades.
The venue itself actually stands as it did in 1991, testament to its purpose-built nature and the innovative thinking of the architects all those years ago. A multi-million pound refurbishment programme took place between 2015-2018 to modernise the facilities, but the venue’s charming characteristics and iconic structure remain.
Allan Boyle, General Manager of NEC Group Conventions and the lead on all operations at the ICC, said of the venue reaching its 30th birthday: “This is a special occasion for a venue that has given so much to the global events industry and the local region. Organisers, contractors and delegates across the world have an affinity to the ICC, just as much as the staff who have made thousands of events happen at the venue. We join all those who have made the last 30 years so special in celebrating this landmark birthday.”
Kelly Haslehurst, Marketing Director of NEC Group Conventions & Exhibitions, added: “It is fantastic to see our incredible venue reach this milestone. The ICC, and the events it has hosted, continue to be a source of great pride within the NEC Group. We are so used to looking ahead to what we can do next that this provides a welcome opportunity for us to actually look back and take stock of what we have achieved over 30 amazing years. We have not planned any celebrations at the venue due to the effects of the pandemic, however we are very much looking forward to welcoming people back soon and creating many more unforgettable experiences at the ICC.”