The Royal Albert Hall was built to fulfil the vision of Prince Albert (Queen Victoria's consort) of a 'Central Hall' that would be used to promote understanding and appreciation of the Arts and Sciences and would stand at the heart of the South Kensington estate, surrounded by museums and places of learning.
The Hall is a Grade I Listed building; and has been in continuous use since it was opened in March 1871. It was always conceived as a multipurpose building to host not only concerts of music but exhibitions, public meetings, scientific conversations and award ceremonies. It is a registered charity held in trust for the nation but is financially self sufficient: it receives no funding from central or local government.
Today more than 350 events are staged each year in the Hall's main auditorium including performances of classical music, jazz, folk and world music, rock and pop concerts, circus, opera, dance, comedy, tennis, award ceremonies, film premieres and events of national significance such as the Royal British Legion's annual Festival of Remembrance.
The Royal Albert Hall has an unrivalled history of association with the world's greatest musical artists from Verdi, Wagner and Elgar conducting UK premieres of their own works to performances by Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra and The Beatles: to enduring legends such as Tony Bennett, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler and a new generation of talent such as Jamie Cullum, Goldfrapp and The Killers.
Outside the main auditorium, there are free Friday lunchtime concerts and Sunday brunch performances of world music and jazz in the Hall's Café Consort and occasional concerts by cutting edge new talent in the Hall's hush series presented in the Elgar Room. A series of exhibitions of photographs and children's work is presented in the Hall's ground floor corridor. The Hall continues to fulfil its commitment to promoting science primarily through its Learning & Participation programme for school children and by occasional public lectures.