Royal Albert Hall – A Vision of Prince Albert

The Royal Albert Hall – Dedicated to “The Triumph of Arts and Sciences”:

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Royal Albert Hall - London..

One of Britain’s premier events venue, the Royal Albert Hall is a historical and treasured building, well known the world over.

Situated in South Kensington, in central London, the Royal Albert Hall has a long and rich history as one of the world’s leading entertainment venues. From the great master composers like Verdi, Wagner and Elgar to more contemporary musicians like Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Eric Clapton, the world’s greatest music artists have performed here.  You can see what’s on and book tickets for Royal Albert events here.

On a non-musical note, world leaders like Winston Churchill, The Queen, Nelson Mandela, His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Bill Clinton have all addressed audiences at the Albert Hall.

The Vision of Prince Albert

The Royal Albert Hall was the vision of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort. The Prince wanted a multi-purpose ‘Central Hall’ in the South Kensington estate which was to be used for concerts, art exhibitions, trade displays and scientific conferences. It was to be an area where the population at large could engage with the surrounding museums and other educational institutions.

Unfortunately, Prince Albert died prematurely and plans for the Hall went into a state of suspension. It was only due to the determination of Henry Cole that the realization of Prince Albert’s vision came to fruition – Cole had worked with Prince Albert on the Great Exhibition. He drew his inspiration for the design and solid structure of the Albert Hall from his visits to ruins of Roman amphitheatres in the South of France.

Royal Albert Architecture

The original intention was to build a Hall to accommodate 30,000 people, but due to financial and practical reasons, it was scaled down to 7,000. Even at this reduced size, Cole had to raise funds for the building by selling “permanent” seats in the Hall for £100 each.

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Royal Albert Hall - 1871 Grand Opening

The exterior design of the Hall was inspired by Northern Italian architecture. Some 6 million red bricks and eighty thousand blocks of decorative terracotta were used in the building.  Positioned above the balustraded smoking gallery (the Royal Albert Hall is now a non-smoking building) is a distinctive continuous 800-foot long terracotta frieze composed of allegorical groups of figures engaged in  a range of artistic endeavours, crafts, scientific and other cultural pursuits.  Above the frieze, the terracotta inscription explains the purpose of the building and its dedication to Prince Albert.

When Queen Victoria opened the Hall on March 29, 1871, she was too overcome by emotion to speak, leaving Edward the Prince of Wales to announce “The Queen delcares this Hall is now open.”

Main Features of the Royal Albert

The heart of the Royal Albert is its vast internal auditorium (185 feet wide by 219 feet long) which is covered by a glazed dome made of wrought iron girders.  The hall also accommodates the largest pipe organ in the UK, the Henry Willis Organ.

For those attending performances at the Albert Hall, there is a wide choice of food and drinks available at
the Cafe Consort, Bar Area and the Coda Restaurant.

Today more than 350 events are staged each year in the Hall’s main auditorium covering a whole range of performances of classical music, jazz, folk and world music, rock and pop concerts, circus, opera, dance, comedy, tennis, award ceremonies and film premieres. Traditional events like the BBC Proms and other events of national significance, such as the Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance, are also held here.

How to Get to the Royal Albert:

To get to the Albert Hall by Tube, South Kensington (District, Circle and Piccadilly Lines) and High Street Kensington (District and Circle Lines) are the closest stations. Walking to the Hall takes approximately 10 minutes from both stations.  Hotels near the Royal Albert Hall include the luxurious Milestone Hotel & Apartments and the 4-star Gore Hotel.  See other Kensington hotels >.


Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2AP

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