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Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall
image credits (ID:227694)

General Information

Beginning of works: 1867
Completion: 1871
Status: in use

Project Type

Structure: Dome
Function / usage: Theater building


Location: City of Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51° 30' 4.00" N    0° 10' 39.00" W

Technical Information


seats 7 000


cost of construction Pound sterling 199 748


dome steel


8 April 1867

Queen Victoria signs the Royal Charter under which the hall is operated. A 999-year lease on the site was acquired at one shilling (five pence) per year.

10 April 1867

Foundation works begin.

20 May 1867

Queen Victoria lays the foundation stone.

7 November 1867

The first brick is laid by Mrs. Henry Cole.

December 1870

Queen Victoria visits the construction site. Her comment: "it looks like the British Constitution".

25 February 1871

A full-scale sound test shows a major acoustical problem: echoes, reverberations and even some blind spots. A calico velarium awning is hung beneath the dome to correct the acoustics. It stays in place until 1949.

29 May 1871


June 1874

The awning is lowered to improve acoustics further. The state-of-the-art ventilation system breaks down and is not re-instated until 2002.


The hall is lit electrically for the first time. The lights were installed by Anglo-American British Electric Company.


The velarium is replaced by an aluminum canopy.

8 October 1950

The von Trapp family of Austria sings at the hall. The family was the inspiration for Rodger's and Hammerstein's musical "The Sound of Music".


Fiberglass diffusers are installed in the roof.


The hall is refurbished inside and outside for its centenary.


The first sumo wrestling turnament ever held outside Japan in 1500 years is staged in Albert Hall.


A lottery grant is awarded for the Halls re-development.

January 2000

The hall is closed for a full month to refurbish the stall seating.

26 June 2003

Stephen Fry interviews J.K. Rowling in the hall. She reads extracts from the fourth novel in the series "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". The reading is webcast live and followed by 28 million viewers.

15 July 2003

The newly constructed south porch is unveiled. It is part of the Building Development Programme. The porch includes a 60 000 piece mosaic, a 200 seast cafe & restaurant ('Cafe Consort') and a new box office.


More than half of the money needed for construction was raised by selling the seats at one hundred pounds a piece. Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales for the first to purchase theirs.



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