The Royal Albert Hall has been at the heart of Christmas in London for over a century, from the Christmas Day Messiah in the 1870s, to doll and toy fairs, whirling dances, and joyful carols.

Messiah ticket 1872
Handel’s Messiah on Christmas Day, 1872
The Thirty Second Annual 'Truth' Doll and Toy Show, 14 December 1910
The Thirty Second Annual ‘Truth’ Doll and Toy Show, 14 December 1910

In 1989, the Hall hosted the recording of the Queen’s Christmas Message, and modern events have ranged from Christmas with Kylie and jazz shows with Guy Barker, to productions of The Nutcracker, and a giant gingerbread Hall.

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Kylie Minogue performs at A Kylie Christmas, 9 and 10 December 2016
Gingerbread Royal Albert Hall

The following article was published in The Times in November 1931:

“A 10-ton Christmas pudding, made entirely of Empire ingredients, is to be presented this Christmas to the unemployed throughout the country by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, of which the Prince of Wales is patron.

The pudding, the biggest ever made, will be mixed at the annual Christmas Market of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals in the Albert Hall on November 24 & 25. The Lord Mayor of London has promised to give the pudding its first ‘stir’. He will be followed by the High Commissioners of the Dominions, and afterwards the general public will have the chance of stirring it.

By special permission, the pudding is to be known as ‘the Prince of Wales’ Empire Christmas Pudding’, and the Prince himself has agreed to accept a small part of it for his own use on Christmas Day. The pudding is to be made according to the recipe composed by the King’s chef. All the ingredients are being given by the High Commissioners of the Dominions and Colonies producing them.

At the end of the two days’ market at the Albert Hall, the pudding is to be taken to the Army and Navy Stores, where it will be on view for three weeks, and where it will be cooked.”

It is understood that the pudding was divided into pieces weighing 2lb and distributed to the poorest families in the UK in time for Christmas.

In addition to the donations of ingredients from numerous parts of the British Empire, Newfoundland’s contribution was the supply of a number of threepenny coins, which hopefully brought families a bit of festive luck!

Programme for People's Dispensary for Sick Animals - PDSA - Gigantic Christmas Market - Help Us to Help the Animals, 24-25 November 1931
People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals’s Christmas Market, 24-25 November 1931