ROYAL ALBERT HALL is a concert hall on the northern edge of South
Since its opening by
The Hall was originally supposed to have been called the Central Hall
of Arts and Sciences, but the name was changed to the Royal Albert
Hall of Arts and Sciences by
* 1 History
* 1.1 1800s * 1.2 1900s
* 1.3 2000s
* 1.3.1 2011 * 1.3.2 2012 * 1.3.3 2013 * 1.3.4 2014
* 2 Design
* 3 Events
* 3.1 Regular events
Royal Choral Society
* 3.1.2 BBC Proms
* 3.1.3 Tennis
* 3.1.4 Classical Spectacular
Cirque du Soleil
* 3.2 Regular performers
* 4 Education "> The first performance at the Hall. The decorated canvas awning is seen beneath the dome.
The official opening ceremony of the Hall was on 29 March 1871. A welcoming speech was given by Edward, the Prince of Wales ; Queen Victoria was too overcome to speak. At some point, the Queen remarked that the Hall reminded her of the British constitution.
A concert followed, when the Hall's acoustic problems became immediately apparent. Engineers first attempted to solve the strong echo by suspending a canvas awning below the dome. This helped and also sheltered concertgoers from the sun, but the problem was not solved: it used to be jokingly said that the Hall was "the only place where a British composer could be sure of hearing his work twice".
In July 1871, French organist
Camille Saint-Saëns performed Church
Scene from the
Initially lit by gas , the Hall contained a special system where its thousands of gas jets were lit within ten seconds. Though it was demonstrated as early as 1873 in the Hall, full electric lighting was not installed until 1888. During an early trial when a partial installation was made, one disgruntled patron wrote to The Times declaring it to be "a very ghastly and unpleasant innovation".
In May 1877,
The Wine Society was founded at the Hall on 4 August 1874, after large quantities of cask wine were forgotten about in the cellars. A series of lunches were held to publicise the wines and General Henry Scott proposed a co-operative company to buy and sell wines. Acoustic diffusing discs (lit in purple/blue) hanging from the roof of the Hall. The fluted aluminium panels are seen behind. Postcard of the Hall (circa 1903) with an inset of the Albert Memorial .
Elsie Fogerty founded the Central School of Speech and Drama
at the Hall, using its West Theatre, now the Elgar Room as the
School's theatre. The School moved to Swiss Cottage in north
In 1911 Russian pianist and composer
In 1933 German physicist
In 1936, the Hall was the scene of a giant rally celebrating the
In 1949 the canvas awning was removed and replaced with fluted aluminium panels below the glass roof, in a new attempt to solve the echo; but the acoustics were not properly tackled until 1969 when a series of large fibreglass acoustic diffusing discs (commonly referred to as "mushrooms" or "flying saucers") was installed below the ceiling. In 1968, the Hall hosted as the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest.
From 1996 until 2004, the Hall underwent a programme of renovation and development supported by a £20 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable it to meet the demands of the next century of events and performances. Thirty "discrete projects" were designed and supervised by architecture and engineering firm BDP without disrupting events. These projects included improving ventilation to the auditorium, more bars and restaurants, new improved seating, better technical facilities and more modern backstage areas. Internally, the Circle seating was rebuilt in four weeks in June 1996 providing more leg room, better access and improved sight lines.
The largest project of the ongoing renovation and development was the building of a new south porch – door 12, accommodating a first floor restaurant, new ground floor box office and below ground loading bay. Although the exterior of the building was largely unchanged, the south steps leading down to Prince Consort Road were demolished to allow construction of an underground vehicle access and loading bay with accommodation for 3 HGVs carrying all the equipment brought by shows. The steps were then reconstructed around a new south porch, named The Meitar Foyer after a significant donation from Mr ">
Between 2002 and 2004 there was a major rebuilding of the great organ
(known as the Voice of Jupiter), built by "Father" Henry Willis in
1871 and rebuilt by Harrison ">
Royal Albert Hall
From January to May the Box Office area at Door 12 underwent further modernisation to include a new Café Bar on the ground floor, a new Box Office with shop counters and additional toilets. The design and construction was carried out by contractor 8Build. Upon opening it was renamed 'The Zvi and Ofra Meitar Porch and Foyer.' owing to a large donation from the couple.
In Autumn 2013, work began on replacing the Victorian steam heating system over three years and improving and cooling across the building. This work follows the summer Proms season during which temperatures were particularly high.
From January the Cafe Consort on the Grand Tier was closed permanently in preparation for a new restaurant at a cost of £1 million. The refurbishment, the first in around 10 years, was designed by consultancy firm Keane Brands and carried out by contractor 8Build. Verdi – Italian Kitchen was officially opened on 15 April with a lunch or dinner menu of 'stone baked pizzas, pasta and classic desserts'
The Triumph of Arts and Sciences.
The Hall, a Grade I listed building , is an ellipse in plan, with major and minor axes of 83 m (272 ft) and 72 m (236 ft). The great glass and wrought-iron dome roofing the Hall is 41 m (135 ft) high. The Hall was originally designed with a capacity for 8,000 people and has accommodated as many as 9,000 (although modern safety restrictions mean that the maximum permitted capacity is now 5,544 including standing in the Gallery).
Around the outside of the building is a great mosaic frieze, depicting "The Triumph of Arts and Sciences", in reference to the Hall's dedication. Proceeding anti-clockwise from the north side the sixteen subjects of the frieze are:
* Various Countries of the World bringing in their Offerings to the Exhibition of 1851 * Music * Sculpture * Painting * Princes, Art Patrons and Artists * Workers in Stone * Workers in Wood and Brick * Architecture * The Infancy of the Arts and Sciences * Agriculture * Horticulture and Land Surveying * Astronomy and Navigation * A Group of Philosophers, Sages and Students * Engineering * The Mechanical Powers * Pottery and Glassmaking
Above the frieze is an inscription in 12-inch-high (300 mm) terracotta letters that combines historical fact and Biblical quotations:
This hall was erected for the advancement of the arts and sciences
and works of industry of all nations in fulfilment of the intention of
Albert Prince Consort. The site was purchased with the proceeds of the
Great Exhibition of the year MDCCCLI. The first stone of the Hall was
laid by Her Majesty
Below the Arena floor there is room for two 4000 gallon water tanks, which are used for shows that flood the arena like Madame Butterfly .
Amphi corridor on the ground floor, facing West from Door 6 *
The Door 9 porch at night *
Second Tier corridor, facing West from Door 6 *
Fluted aluminium roof and diffuser discs seen from the Gallery *
The glazed roof and vertical struts supporting the fluted aluminium ceiling, beneath the wooden floor
The Hall at the opening ceremony, seen from
Many events are promoted by the Hall, whilst since the early 1970s
Raymond Gubbay has brought a range of events to the Hall
including opera, ballet and classical music. Some events include
classical and rock concerts, conferences, banquets, ballroom dancing,
poetry recitals, educational talks, motor shows, ballet, opera, film
screenings and circus shows. It has hosted many sporting events,
including boxing, squash, table tennis, basketball, wrestling
including the first
Sumo wrestling tournament to be held in
On 6 April 1968, the Hall was the host venue for the Eurovision Song Contest which was broadcast in colour for the first time. One notable event was a Pink Floyd concert held 26 June 1969, the night they were banned from ever playing at the Hall again after shooting cannons, nailing things to the stage, and having a man in a gorilla suit roam the audience. At one point Rick Wright went to the pipe organ and began to play "The End Of The Beginning", the final part of "Saucerful Of Secrets", joined by the brass section of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (led by the conductor, Norman Smith) and the ladies of the Ealing Central Amateur Choir. A portion of the pipe organ recording is included on Pink Floyd's album The Endless River .
On the 18th June 1985, British gothic rock band The Sisters of Mercy recorded their live video album Wake at the Hall. The concert was also the band's last performance with guitarist Wayne Hussey and bassist Craig Adams .
Benefit concerts in include the 1997
Music for Montserrat concert,
arranged and produced by
On 2 October 2011, the Hall staged the 25th anniversary performance
Andrew Lloyd Webber
On 24 September 2012, Classic FM celebrated the 20th anniversary of their launch with a concert at the Hall. The programme featured live performances of works by Handel , Puccini , Rachmaninoff , Parry , Vaughan Williams , Tchaikovsky and Karl Jenkins who conducted his piece The Benedictus from The Armed Man in person.
On 19 November 2012, the Hall hosted the 100th anniversary
performance of the
Royal Variety Performance , attended by the Queen
and Prince Philip, with boyband
Between 1996 and 2008, the Hall hosted the annual National Television Awards all of which were hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald .
On 3rd May 2016, singer-songwriter and
Royal Choral Society
Royal Choral Society is the longest running regular performance
at the Hall, having given its first performance as the Royal Albert
Hall Choral Society on 8 May 1872. From 1878 it established the annual
A prom seen from Circle R/S The Hall from Kensington Gardens during the 2008 Proms
The BBC Promenade Concerts, known as "The Proms", is a popular annual
eight-week summer season of daily classical music concerts and other
events at the Hall. In 1942, following the destruction of the Queen\'s
Hall in an air raid , the Hall was chosen as the new venue for the
proms. In 1944 with increased danger to the Hall, part of the proms
were held in the Bedford Corn Exchange . Following the end of World
War II the proms continued in the Hall and have done so annually every
summer since. The event was founded in 1895, and now each season
consists of over 70 concerts, in addition to a series of events at
other venues across the United Kingdom on the last night. In 2009, the
total number of concerts reached 100 for the first time. Jiří
Proms (short for promenade concerts ) is a term which arose from the original practice of the audience promenading, or strolling, in some areas during the concert. Proms concert-goers, particularly those who stand, are sometimes described as "Promenaders", but are most commonly referred to as "Prommers".
Tennis was first played at the Hall in March 1970 and the ATP Champions Tour Masters has been played annually every December since 1997.
Classical Spectacular, a Raymond Gubbay production, has been coming to the Hall since 1988. It combines classical music, lights and special effects.
Cirque Du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil
Classic Brit Awards
Since 2000, the
Classic Brit Awards has been hosted annually in May
at the Hall. It is organised by the
British Phonographic Industry
Festival Of Remembrance
Institute Of Directors
For 60 years the Institute of Directors ' Annual Convention has been synonymous with the Hall, although in 2011 and 2012 it was held at indigO2 .
English National Ballet
Since 1998 the
English National Ballet
The Hall has curated regular seasons of film-and-live-orchestra
screenings since 2009, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy ,
Gladiator , Star Trek ,
Star Trek Into Darkness
Beyond The Main Stage
The Hall hosts hundreds of events and activities beyond its main auditorium. There are regular free art exhibitions in the ground floor amphi corridor, which can be viewed when attending events or on dedicated viewing dates. You can take a guided tour of the Hall on most days. The most common is the one-hour Grand Tour which includes most front-of-house areas, the auditorium, the gallery and the Royal Retiring Room. Other tours include Story of the Proms, Behind the Scenes, Inside Out and School tours. Children's events include Storytelling and Music Sessions for 0 - 4 year olds which take place in the Door 9 Porch and Albert's Band sessions in the Elgar Room during school holidays. "Live Music in Verdi" takes place in the Italian restaurant on a Friday night featuring different artists each week. "Late Night Jazz" events in the Elgar Room, generally on a Thursday night, feature cabaret style seating and a relaxed atmosphere with drinks available. "Classical Coffee Mornings" are held on Sundays in the Elgar Room with musicians from the Royal College of Music accompanied with drinks and pastries. Sunday brunch events take place in Verdi Italian restaurant and features different genres of music.
James Last appeared 90 times at the Hall between 1973 and 2015, making him the most frequent non–British performer to have played the venue.
EDUCATION & OUTREACH
The Hall's Education & Outreach programme engages 100,000 people a year. It includes workshops for local teenagers led by musicians such as Foals , Jake Bugg , Emeli Sandé , Nicola Benedetti , Alison Balsom and First Aid Kit , innovative science and maths lessons, visits to local residential homes from the venue's in-house group, Albert's Band, under the 'Songbook' banner, and the Friendship Matinee: an orchestral concert for community groups, with £5 admission.
The Hall is managed day to day by the chief executive Craig Hassall
and five senior executives: the chief operating & financial officer,
director of operations, director of business development, director of
events and director of external affairs. They are accountable to the
Council of the Corporation, which is the Trustee body of the charity.
The Council is composed of the annually elected president, currently
Jon Moynihan OBE, 18 elected Members (either corporate or
individual seat owners) and five Appointed Members, one each from
The Hall has won several awards across different categories. From
1994 to 1998 and in 2003, the Hall won 'International Venue Of The
Year' in the
Pollstar Awards. In 2004 and 2005 the Hall won
'International Small Venue Of The Year' in the
Pollstar Awards. In
2006 to 2010, the Hall won 'International Theatre Of The Year' in the
Pollstar Awards. The Hall has won International Live Music Conference
Award for 'First Venue to Come Into Your Head' in 1998, 2009 and 2013.
From 2008 to 2012 the Hall was voted Superbrands leading Leisure and
Entertainment Destination. On 17 October 2012 the Hall won 'London
Live Music Venue of the Year' at the third annual
A famous and widely bootlegged concert by
Another concert that was mislabelled as being at the Hall was by
Creedence Clearwater Revival
POP CULTURE REFERENCES
A large mural by Peter Blake , entitled Appearing at the Royal Albert Hall, is displayed in the Hall's Café Bar. Unveiled in April 2014, it shows more than 400 famous figures who have appeared on the stage.
In 1955, English film director
In the song "
A Day in the Life
The song "Session Man " by the Kinks references the Hall: He never will forget at all The day he played at Albert Hall.
In some variants of " Hitler Has Only Got One Ball ", Hitler's second testicle is mentioned to be in the Hall.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT ACCESS
Royal Albert Hall
LONDON UNDERGROUND Gloucester Road
High Street Kensington
* Ballet portal
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* ^ Engineering Timelines: Royal Albert Hall
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Present Day" p. 158.
* ^ A B "Timeline". Royal Albert Hall. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
* ^ Edmund Penning-Rowsell, A Short History of The Wine Society,
* ^ "History of the Society". The Wine Society. Retrieved 17
* ^ The Central Book, Lolly Susi (Oberon Press, London, 2006)
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* ^ "
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China Morning Post. 4 July 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
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* ^ "Facts and figures". Liverpool Cathedral. Retrieved 3 November
* ^ "Planning Application Documents". Westminster City Council.
Retrieved 4 May 2013.
* ^ "8build on site at the Royal Albert Hall". 8Build. July 2012.
Retrieved 29 April 2014.
* ^ "8build – The Royal Albert Hall". 8Build. January 2013.
Retrieved 29 April 2014.
* ^ Clark, Nick. "Sweaty business:
Royal Albert Hall
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