Latitude: 51.5181

Longitude: -0.1425

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Queen's Hall

The images and pictures within this page illustrate data related to Queen's Hall. The Queen's Hall was a concert hall in Langham Place, London, opened in 1893. Designed by the architect T.E. Knightley, it had room for an audience of about 2,500 people. It became London's principal concert venue. From 1895 until 1941, it was the home of the promenade concerts ("The Proms") founded by Robert Newman together with Henry Wood. The hall had drab decor and cramped seating but superb acoustics. It became known as the "musical centre of the [British] Empire", and the leading musicians of the late 19th and early 20th century performed there, including Claude Debussy, Edward Elgar, Maurice Ravel and Richard Strauss.

In the 1930s, the hall became the main London base of two new orchestras, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. These two ensembles raised the standards of orchestral playing in London to new heights, and the hall's resident orchestra, founded in 1893, was eclipsed and it disbanded in 1930. The new orchestras attracted another generation of musicians from Europe and the United States, including Serge Koussevitzky, Willem Mengelberg, Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter and Felix Weingartner.

In 1941, during the Second World War, the building was destroyed by an incendiary bomb in the London Blitz. Despite much lobbying for the hall to be rebuilt, the government decided against doing so. The main musical functions of the Queen's Hall were taken over by the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms, and the new Royal Festival Hall for the general concert season.

Background

The site on which the hall was built was bounded by the present-day Langham Place, Riding House Street and Great Portland Street. In 1820 the land was bought by the Crown during the development of John Nash's Regent Street. Between then and the building of the hall, the site was first sublet to a coachmaker and stablekeeper, and in 1851 a bazaar occupied the site. In 1887, the leaseholder, Francis Ravenscroft, negotiated a building agreement with the Crown, providing for the clearing of the site and the erection of a new concert hall. The name of the new building was intended to be either "The Victoria Concert Hall" or "The Queen's Concert Hall". The name finally chosen, "The Queen's Hall", was decided very shortly before the hall opened. The historian Robert Elkin speculates that the alternative "Victoria Concert Hall" was abandoned as liable to confusion with the "Royal Victoria Music Hall", the formal name of the Old Vic.

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