The Magnificent Royal Albert Hall in London
The Royal Albert Hall or also known as ‘The Nation’s Village Hall’ is one of the most famous art venues in the world and can be found located in Knightsbridge, London. This venue hosts more than 350 performances every year, from local and community events, rock concerts, opera, ballet, even Cirque du Soleil and many more. A lot of musicians from The Beatles to Jay Z have performed in this building and in fact, the opportunity to perform in this venue is often seen as one of the highlights of an artist’s career.
There are tours available for public from 10:30 to 15:30 everyday, except on Wednesday. However, the schedule may vary depending on performance schedules in this hall.
This magnificent art venue was opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria in dedication to her husband, Prince Albert. Originally named the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences, this building is actually inspired by the success of the Great Exhibition in 1851 held by Prince Albert in Hyde Park, London. After the Great Exhibition, Prince Albert proposed the creation of an area that has various educational and cultural facilities for the enlightenment of the public that is now known as Albertopolis. The Royal Albert Hall is one of the facilities within Albertopolis.
In its early years, it has a terrible acoustic problem where there was strong echo every time the venue was used for a concert. At first they put a canvas awning below the dome, but that didn’t really solve the problem. Then in 1949, the canvas awning was replaced with fluted aluminum panels under the roof, which made a huge improvement but was still far from perfect. The acoustic problem was finally solved in 1969 when they installed a series of fiberglass acoustic diffusing discs under the ceiling.
It has also undergone a lot of renovations and development in order to prepare the hall to meet the demands of events and performances in the future. So far, the Royal Albert Hall has hosted more than 150,000 performances and there will be many more amazing events you can expect to see in this venue.
Designed by the Royal Engineers Colonel H.Y. Darracott Scott and Captain Francis Fowke, the architecture of the Royal Albert Hall is influenced by ancient amphitheaters. The whole building was constructed mainly using Fareham red brick decorated by terra cotta blocks. The majestic dome on top is made of steel and glazed, and was designed by Rowland Mason Ordish.
The building has an oval shape, measuring 272 ft. x 238 ft. around the outside. Even though the maximum permitted capacity of the building is 5,544 people, this building actually could accommodate up to 9,000 spectators.
One of the most special parts of the building is the glass and iron dome roofing standing 135 ft. high above the building, which is so breathtaking. You can also find a stunning mosaic frieze outside of the building, depicting “The Triumph of Arts and Sciences”.
“The Proms” is a more popular name for the BBC Promenade Concerts, which is an annual classical music concert that is held at the hall everyday for eight weeks during the summer. This concert was originally performed at the Queen’s Hall in Langham Place, but after the hall was destroyed during an air raid in 1942, the concert was moved to the Royal Albert Hall.
This venue is known for its thriving educational program from educational tours for students to community events. You can join the Front of House Tour to experience the dynamics and excitements as the hall is preparing for the evening’s performance. This tour will include the Royal Retiring Room and the Queen’s private suites. If you have younger children, you can join the Victorian Experience Tour. This tour is led by two costumed characters that will take the participants to an entertaining journey to learn the history of the hall.
The ground floor always has something interesting during open days. Various exhibition series from photographic displays to watercolor paintings are usually being held here. Another interesting attraction is the bronze statue of Prince Albert that’s located in the Albert Memorial.