Her Majesty The Queen officially opens the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Steps at the Royal Albert Hall
9 November, 2013
Today, Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, attended a short ceremony to officially recognise the renaming of the Royal Albert Hall’s South Steps to The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Steps, before her attendance at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance.
The steps to the south of the building were renamed The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Steps last year in celebration of the Hall’s Patron in the year of her Diamond Jubilee. They also recognise an era of unprecedented success for the Royal Albert Hall hosting the many and varied performances of national and international significance that take place annually at the Hall over 140 years after opening.
Chris Cotton, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall, said ‘We’re very proud to welcome our Patron, Her Majesty the Queen, to officially recognise the renaming of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Steps at the Royal Albert Hall on the occasion of the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance. The Queen is Patron to both Charities who have been closely linked through the hosting of this national event since 1926.”
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were met by Sir David Brewer, Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Mrs Anthony (Peta) Travis, President of the Royal Albert Hall, and Chris Cotton, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall before viewing inlaid stonework which commemorates the renaming which has been hand carved by Fergus Wessel, a stone-cutter who trained in Cambridge. The steps were lined for the visit by Service personnel, members of the Boys’ Brigade and Royal Albert Hall Stewards.
The steps as they are seen today were formed during redevelopment work that was completed in 2004 and, to commemorate that project, Her Majesty The Queen opened the Meitar Porch at the top of the steps on 30th March 2004. The steps form an important part of the Knightsbridge conservation area which was the first created in this country in 1968 as well as featuring the Memorial to the Exhibition of 1851 with a statue of Albert, The Prince Consort.
The renaming of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Steps is the start of a wider project to improve the public space around the Royal Albert Hall. The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, in close consultation with the Hall, residents, Westminster City Council and The Royal Parks, is intending to improve the immediate external setting with increased step-free access, greater pedestrian and green space and improved pedestrian crossings in and around Kensington Gore and across to the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park. The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1871 has provided a Fellowship in the Built Environment to Deborah Saunt, of architects DSDHA to develop proposals to re-imagine Albertopolis and create a revived public space for London.
Bernard Taylor DL FRSC, Chairman of The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 said ‘The Exhibition Road improvements have brought into sharp focus the need to improve the public space around the Royal Albert Hall. The renaming of the steps is an important part of a wider initiative, supported by an 1851 Royal Commission Fellowship, to create a setting that truly celebrates Prince Albert’s inspired vision and continuing extraordinary legacy.’
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The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breath-taking auditorium hosts over 370 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere combined with inspired artists creates legendary events.
Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, the Hall is a registered charity which operates without public revenue funding, remaining true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. Extending the brand with 200 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still engaging its existing customers.
The Hall also offers the Elgar Room, a stateoftheart smallscale performance space which hosts performances of classical music, jazz and world music, comedy, dance and hush, a series of gigs for just signed bands throughout the year. In the main auditorium, it offers the Albert Sessions, an initiative that encourages up and coming acts to play at the Hall by offering reduced rental fees to promoters and lower ticket prices to encourage younger audiences to visit the Hall.
It also works extensively with schools, young people, disadvantaged groups and partners such as Music For Youth through its Education programme, reaching over 100,000 participants each year as part of its extensive public benefit remit. It has also been appointed by the Arts Council as one of the country’s regional music education hubs.
For more information, please visit www.royalalberthall.com
Registered charity number: 254543