Royal Albert Hall - huge concert hall in London
Location show on map
Kensington Gore, SW7 London, Great Britain
Date of build
20 May 1867 - 29 March 1871
- Other building names: The Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, The Nation's Village Hall
- Building type: Concert hall
- Architectural style: Victorian, Italian, Italianate
- Material: Red brick, terracotta, wrought iron, glass
- Cost: 200 000 £
Height: 41 meters
- Architect: Francis Fowke, Henry Young Darracott Scott
Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall in London, located in Albertopolis, at the northern end of the South Kensington district.
The hall was opened on 29 March 1871 and is one of the most characteristic buildings in Great Britain. The monument was marked as a historical class I building.
Originally called The Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, it eventually became the Royal Albert Hall, in memory of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert.
In 1851, during the Great Exhibition in London, the Crystal Palace was built. The international exhibition was a great success and contributed to Prince Albert's proposal to build a permanent place with access to culture and education.
In April 1867, Queen Victoria signed the documents entitling her to begin construction and on 20 May the cornerstone was laid. The progress of work was very slow and the concert hall was completed only after 4 years. The ceremonial inauguration took place on March 29th, 1871, after the speech of Edward - Prince of Wales.
The building was designed by engineers Francis Fowke and Henry Y.D. Scott and built by brothers Thomas and Charles Lucas. The design of the concert hall is strongly influenced by the form of the ancient amphitheater. The object was built mainly of red brick.
The Royal Albert Hall is oval in shape and measures 83 meters (long axis) to 72 meters (smaller axis) and is 41 meters high. At the top of the hall there is a dome designed by engineer Rowland Mason Ordish and made of glass and forged steel.
The gigantic glass dome, which covers the Royal Albert Hall, is over 20000 square feet in size. It was designed by the team that developed, among others, the St. Pancras station with a glass roof. The dome remains the largest unsupported glass dome in the world.
The original dome of the building was made in Manchester and then dismantled and transported to London.
On top of the building you can admire a large, white mosaic of scientists and artists. This wonderful work is 800 meters long. The idea of its architect, Major General Scott, was originally to create a sculptural mosaic, similar to those in Rome or Greece. Unfortunately, due to lack of money, it had to be satisfied with a version with flat tiles.
Initially the theater was designed to accommodate 8000 people, but for safety reasons its capacity was limited to just over 5500 seats. Originally, gas lighting was used, which was replaced by electric lighting in 1897. From 1996 to 2004, the facility underwent major renovations and upgrades.
The hall has withstood bombing attempts in both World Wars, despite the fact that its shape seen from above is very clear and attractive for attackers. However, there are parts of the hall that have been destroyed over the years. For example, Queen's Hall, which gave its last nod in 1941.
The main organ in the Hall weighs about 150 tons, is one of the largest in England and has 9999 pipes. Full reconstruction of the early 21st century organ cost about £1.5 million. However, building it in the 1870s cost £8,000, which would be about £1 million for the present time.
The main hall drew inspiration for his project probably from the Roman Colosseum. However, this leads to various problems with sound and acoustics. These problems were not eliminated until 1969, when 135 "mushroom discs" were mounted on the ceiling. In 2001, 50 of them were removed, as it turned out that there were too many.
Since its opening, the Royal Albert Hall has hosted various celebrities and events. Music festivals, concerts, operas, balls, charity events, trainings, conferences, banquets, public events and tennis tournaments are held here regularly. Currently, more than 400 events take place at the Royal Albert Hall every year, on average more than one per day. Several times Cirque du Soleil and well-known artists such as The Beatles, Frank Sinatra or Liza Minnelli have performed here.
Under the arena there are huge water reservoirs. They are used in water plays, such as Madame Butterfly's 1998 production. Filling the stage area with water takes about an hour.
The first ever sumo wrestling tournament took place at the Royal Albert Hall. It took place in 1991, when the unspoiled competition of this ancient Japanese sport took place here.
Official website: https://www.royalalberthall.com
"This Hall was erected for the advancement of the Arts & 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 Queen Victoria on the twentieth day of May MDCCCLXVII and it was opened by her Majesty the twenty-ninth of March in the year MDCCCLXXI. Thine O Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine. The wise and their works are in the hand of God. Glory be to God on high and on Earth peace." - inscription over the frieze of the building