Royal Albert Hall

I had the privilege of visiting The Royal Albert Hall for a private tour and saw the backstage, the lounge for the Royal Family, the Royal Box and other parts of the Hall usually off limits to the public. 

The Royal Albert Hall was built between 1867 and 1871 and was officially opened on 29 March 1871 with the presence of Queen Victoria, who was overcome with emotion as she was reminded of her late husband, Prince Albert, who had died a decade earlier, never having seen the Hall named in his honour. 

After the death of Prince Albert in 1861, plans of commemorating him a hall on the present site came up. The Prince had suggested as early as 1853 that the Royal Academy of Music might like to build a music hall on the south side of Cromwell Road.  But it remained an idea and never even came to a planning stage until after the Prince’s death.

The Hall was originally designed with a capacity for 8,000 people. But historically, since its opening in 1871 it has a few times accommodated as many as 12,000 people. Under the present day safety restrictions, the maximum permitted capacity is now down to only 5,544 including standing in the Gallery.

I’ve been here many times prior and it was quite eerie and strange to see the hall practically empty.

The bust of Victoria and Albert are on display in one of the walls.

The hallway on the 2nd floor.

This set of steps lead to the Royal Box.

Lounge or reception where members of the royal family would wait before they proceed to the Royal Box.

Royal Albert Memorial as seen from one of the massive windows on the 2nd floor.

Prince Albert’s bust and Albert Memorial.

The details of the stone works and other ornamentation all over the building are quite impressive. Loads of initials, ‘RAH’ – Royal Albert Hall – or ‘VR’ – Victoria Regina or ‘VA’ – Victoria and Albert are seen everywhere.

The Royal Albert Hall is a very historic and magnificent edifice and it certainly is one of my favourite buildings in London.

I’ve been here for different musical events over the years but my all-time favourite has always been the Handel Messiah and Christmas Carols.
My friend Kristine and I at the Carols by Candlelight on December 2017.
Jared took this photo of myself sometime in 2015.
After watching The Messiah with Jared a few years ago.
Taken after the tour at the very top floor where the sound, lighting, recording facilities, etc., are located.

Prince Albert Memorial

The Prince Albert Memorial is a monument, essentially a ciborium, erected in honour of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s Consort. His death only at age 42, not only shocked the nation but also devastated the Queen. The monument is one of the great works of the Victorian renowned architect George Gilbert Scott in 1863-72.

Prince Albert holding the catalogue of the Great Exhibition, held in Hyde Park in 1851, which he inspired and helped to organise.

The cast-bronze statue of the late prince sits on a plinth upon a larger pedestal, which also has marble figure groups of the four continents and a frieze of great artists, figures representing manufacture, commerce, agriculture and engineering.

From the centre rises a massive spire, containing a smaller niche with gilt bronze statues of the Christian virtues. Through two more tiers of plinths with bronze angels, the spire is finally topped with a cross.

There’s four massive marble figures representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America that stand at each corner of the memorial as shown in the following four photos.

The monument is inside Kensington Gardens right across the street from Royal Albert Hall. 

Taken on a spring morning, 2019.

It’s beguiling even from a distance.

If you happen to visit London, and wanna stroll around Kensington Palace and Gardens, it’s worth seeing this monument. And of course, Royal Albert Hall is just across the street, another iconic building in the city that’s worth visiting. If interested to read more about Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, here’s a link to an old blog post.

Featured Image: royalparks