Shirley's UK Trip 2012 travel blog

Sculpture of "Horse Drinking" at Marble Arch

Memorial to animals at war on Park Lane

Royal Albert Hall

"Rule Britannia"

Today was really special. Last year Sue & I went on a tour of the Albert Hall but didn't get to a concert. We couldn't even take photos during the tour because Cirque du Soleil was on & their sets are copyrighted.

Here's what I wrote last year:

"The Albert Hall, along with the Victoria & Albert museum, the School of Music, the Natural History museum, the Science Museum & others were all built from the proceeds of the Great Exhibition of 1851 on 80 acres purchased in Kensington. It was a hugely successful exhibition but I didn’t realize it made that much money.

Albert Hall has 5,222 seats but they get about 6,000 in for the Proms because they have standing room. However, it appears that Albert Hall was the last cab off the rank in all this development & they started to run out of money, so they sold off seats for £100 which was a lot of money in those days. Queen Victoria bought 20 seats & there are still something like 1,300 seats in private hands. People who own seats get free tickets to every single performance. If they notify Albert Hall that they’re not coming, the seat can be sold & Albert Hall gets ½ the proceeds with the owner getting the other ½. But it means a lot of the time that those seats stay empty.

We were also told that the glass dome is one of the largest unsupported domes in the country & was manufactured in Manchester. They dismantled it & brought it to London by horse & cart, which took 5 weeks, then re-assembled it over a wooden scaffolding. Then they removed the scaffolding & there were wooden wedges all the way around the dome. There was a workman at each wedge & on a signal they all knocked the wedges out & the dome settled perfectly."

I booked a seat for today's "Classical Spectacular" last November & got Row 1 in the centre of the Grand Tier which I think was about the best seat in the house.

It was a bit drizzly today but still not cold. I had plenty of time because the concert didn't start until 3:00 so I caught the train to Marble Arch then walked across Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens to the Albert Hall.

The concert really was spectacular with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. the band of the Welsh Guards & the Royal Choral Society. I've never seen a show with such a display of lasers & lighting effects but the music was wonderful. Of course there was plenty of "Rule Britannia" & "Land of Hope & Glory" with all the Brits waving their flags but I've never heard "Stars & Stripes" played any better & 1812 Overture was magnificent. I took some videos but I don't think my connection here is good enough to upload any.

I didn't get home until 7:30 so think I might have a quiet day tomorrow.

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