The success of the Great Exhibition of 1851 held in Hyde Park led Prince Albert to propose the creation of a permanent series of facilities dedicated to the promotion of Art and Science for the enlightenment of the public in the area. Following this purpose, the foundation stone of the Royal Albert Hall was laid in May 1867 by Queen Victoria.
Constructed mainly of red brick with terra cotta block decoration, the building is an ellipse in plan with a 41 metres high glass and wrought-iron dome originally designed with a capacity for 8,000 people.
The Queen opened the Royal Albert Hall on 29 March 1871. During the opening concert the Hall’s acoustic problems became immediately apparent and, despite several attemps to solve the strong echo, the acoustics were not properly tackled until 1969 when a series of large fibreglass acoustic diffusing discs (commonly known as “mushrooms”) were installed below the ceiling. It used to be jokingly said that the Hall was
“the only place where a British composer could be sure of hearing his work twice”.
Today, it is considered one of the most distinctive buildings in the UK and each year it hosts more than 350 events including classical concerts, rock and pop, ballet and opera, sports, award ceremonies, school and community events, charity performances and banquets.