The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century


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behind the scenes at the Royal Albert Hall

Read full returns policy. Volunteer listed. Wonder how this unique item ended up online? This is the first comprehensive history of the Hall for several decades, produced after many weeks' research among a warren of archives. At the time, these archives were being digitised, and the archivists, with their enormous knowledge, were themselves coming across some surprises. The Hall does not stage events, rather it hires itself out to those who want it, which means that, though archival material is extensive, it is not complete.

Article excerpt

The Hall has no hand in producing programmes, posters or other ephemera of the vast variety of concerts, conferences, tournaments, spectacles and shows that are put on here, yet drawers-full have been acquired, as well as photographs, minutes of Council meetings and newspaper cuttings. With a constant eye on eBay and other sources, the archivists are constantly expanding the collection.

One surprising source of information about the rental of the Hall is The Gas Book, a simple ledger in which a caretaker kept a note of how much gas was used for the lighting on any given day, and who was to be billed to pay for it. The upgrading, which included complete refurbishment as well as excavating an entire loading bay beneath the building, was triggered at the beginning of when pieces of terracotta, loosened by frost, fell from the underside of the smoking gallery that runs round the upper levels of the Hall.

It was a stark reminder that major expenditure on the maintenance of the building was long overdue. Though a national institution, the Hall has always been financially self-sufficient. From early in its history, it has had to rely on an annual contribution from the owners of the 1, privately-held seats to maintain the fabric of the building.

Royal Albert Hall Organ Restored - SIGCD - Hyperion Records - MP3 and Lossless downloads

As the fabric threatened to imperil passers by, the governing Council of the Hall faced the need to carry out a radical refurbishment of the building if its future was to be secured. With the support of National Lottery grants and the financial support of seat holders and other benefactors, an eight-year, multi-million programme of building work to remodel parts and to refurbish the whole of the Hall was completed 17 years after that first warning shot. Queen Victoria's consort had been dead for six years when she laid the foundation stone, by which time plans were underway for a fitting memorial to him in Kensington Gardens facing the Hall.

He is surrounded by figures representing Christian and moral virtues, the geniuses of European civilisation, four continents and eight bronzes of the Arts and Sciences, to which the Hall was dedicated. Prince Albert, born in , had married his cousin Princess Victoria when they were both twenty-one. A model family man, he became the father of nine and the perfect Victorian, instilled with duty and the pursuit of self-improvement, in himself as well as in others.

Henry Cole, born in Bath in , had been employed in various government departments since the age of fourteen, and he possessed a consummate ability to make things happen. He had designed china for the Minton pottery in Stoke, founded the Journal of Design and Manufactures , published books and is credited with producing the first Christmas card.

Cole shared the Prince Consort's view that the rapidly changing industrial world should be harnessed to the arts, and he asked him to become president of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce now the Royal Society of Arts. It would be, the Prince Consort believed, a true test and a living picture of the point of development at which the whole of mankind has arrived, and a starting point from which all nations will be able to direct their further exertions.

Nobody would be excluded from Albert's vision of human progress and he proposed that entry to the Exhibition's Crystal Palace should be inexpensive, if not free.

The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century
The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century
The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century
The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century
The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century
The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century The Royal Albert Hall: A Masterpiece for the 21st Century

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