Sights of London
The Victoria and Albert Museum. Bomb damage on the exhibition road facade. The Victorian period. The John Madejski Garden. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Love Story. The History of the Tower of London. Buckingham Palace, Albert Hall, Trafalgar Square.
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Sights of London
The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), set in the South Kensington district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, it was founded in 1852, and has since grown to now cover 12.5 acres (51,000 m2) and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The holdings of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The museum possesses the world's largest collection of post-classical sculpture, the holdings of Italian Renaissance items are the largest outside Italy. The East Asian collections are among the best in Europe, with particular strengths in ceramics and metalwork, while the Islamic collection, alongside the Musee du Louvre and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is amongst the largest in the world.
Alongside other neighbouring institutions, including the Natural History Museum and Science Museum, the V&A is located in what is termed London's "Albertopolis", an area of immense cultural, scientific and educational importance. Since 2001, the Museum has embarked on a major ?150m renovation programme which has seen a major overhaul of the departments including the introduction of newer galleries, gardens, shops and visitor facilities. Following in similar vein to other national UK museums, entrance to the museum has been free since 2001.
The museum has 145 galleries, but given the vast extent of the collections only a small percentage is ever on display. Many acquisitions have been made possible only with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund.
The opening ceremony for the Aston Webb building by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra took place on 26 June 1909. In 1914 the construction commenced of the Science Museum signalling the final split of the science and art collections, since then the museum has maintained its role of one of the world's greatest decorative arts collections. At the outbreak of World War II most of the collection was packed away and sent either to an underground quarry in Wiltshire, Montacute House in Somerset, or to a disused tunnel near Aldwych tube station with larger items remaining in situ being sand bagged and bricked in. During the war some of the galleries were used between 1941 and 1944 as a school for children evacuated from Gibraltar. The South Court became a canteen, first for the Royal Air Force and later for Bomb Damage Repair Squads. Prior to the return of the collections after the war, the Britain Can Make It exhibition was held between September and November 1946, attracting nearly a million and a half visitors. This was organised and held under the auspices of the Council of Industrial Design which had been established by central government in 1944 "to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry"; the success of this exhibition led to the planning of the Festival of Britain. By 1948 most of the collections had been returned to the museum.
The V&A has no museums or galleries of its own outside of London. Instead it works with a small number of partner organisations in Sheffield, Dundee and Blackpool to provide a regional presence.
The Victorian period
The Victorian areas have a complex history, with piecemeal additions by different architects. Founded in May 1852, it was not until 1857 that the museum moved to the present site. This area of London was known as Brompton but had been renamed South Kensington. The land was occupied by Brompton Park House, which was extended, most notably by the "Brompton Boilers", which were starkly utilitarian iron galleries with a temporary look; they were later dismantled and used to build the V&A Museum of Childhood. On the very northern edge of the site is situated the Secretariat Wing, also built in 1862 this houses the offices and board room etc. and is not open to the public.
Bomb damage on the exhibition road facade
The Museum survived the Second World War with only minor bomb damage. The worst loss was the Victorian stained glass on the Ceramics Staircase which was blown in when bombs fell near by; pock marks still visible on the facade of the museum were caused by shrapnel from the bombs.
In the immediate post-war years there was little money available for other than essential repairs.
Recently, controversy surrounded the museum's proposed building of an ?80 million extension called The Spiral, designed by Daniel Libeskind, which was criticised as out of keeping with the architecture of the original buildings. The Spiral's design was described by some as looking like jumbled cardboard boxes. In September 2004, the museum's board of trustees voted to abandon the design after failing to receive funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The John Madejski Garden
The John Madejski Garden - Opened in 2005.
The central garden was redesigned by Kim Wilkie and opened as the John Madejski Garden, on 5 July 2005. The design is a subtle blend of the traditional and modern, the layout is formal; there is an elliptical water feature lined in stone with steps around the edge which may be drained to use the area for receptions, gatherings or exhibition purposes. This is in front of the bronze doors leading to the refreshment rooms, a central path flanked by lawns leads to the sculpture gallery; the north, east and west sides have herbaceous borders along the museum walls with paths in front which continues along the south facade; in the two corners by the north facade there is planted an American Sweetgum tree; the southern, eastern and western edges of the lawns have glass planters which contain orange and lemon trees in summer, these are replaced by bay trees in winter.
At night both the planters and water feature may be illuminated, and the surrounding facades lit to reveal details normally in shadow, especially noticeable are the mosaics in the loggia of the north facade. In summer a cafe is set up in the south west corner. The garden is also used for temporary exhibits of sculpture, for example a sculpture by Jeff Koons was shown in 2006. It has also played host to the museum's annual contemporary design showcase, the V&A Village Fete since 2005.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Love Story
Alexandrina Victoria, the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent and Victoria Maria Louisa of Saxe-Coburg, was born in 24th May 1819. The Duke of Kent was the fourth son of George III and Victoria Maria Louisa was the sister of King Leopold of Belgium. The Duke and Duchess of Kent selected the name Victoria but her uncle, George IV, insisted that she be named Alexandrina after her godfather, Tsar Alexander II of Russia.
Victoria's father died when she was eight months old. The Duchess of Kent developed a close relationship with Sir John Conroy, an ambitious Irish officer. Conroy acted as if Victoria was his daughter and had a major influence over her as a child.
Lord Melbourne was Prime Minister when Victoria became queen. Melbourne was fifty-eight and a widower. Melbourne's only child had died and he treated Victoria like his daughter. Victoria grew very fond of Melbourne and became very dependent on him for political advice. Melbourne was leader of the Whig party and although radical in his youth, his views were now extremely conservative. Melbourne had been a member of Earl Grey's government that had passed the 1832 Reform Act, but he had privately been against the measure. Melbourne attempted to protect Victoria from the harsh realities of British life and even advised her not to read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens because it dealt with "paupers, criminals and other unpleasant subjects".
Victoria and Melbourne became very close. An apartment was made available for Lord Melbourne at Windsor Castle and it was estimated that he spent six hours a day with the queen. Victoria's feelings for Melbourne were clearly expressed in her journal. On one occasion she wrote: "he is such an honest, good kind-hearted man and is my friend, I know it."
This is a sad love story because the majority of this love story is spent through death. It is short but inexplicably interesting and poignant.
Victoria was a cheerful and vibrant young woman who suddenly found herself as Queen of England after her Uncle, King William IV, died in 1837. She was the closest heir. Queen Victoria's cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, visited London in 1839. Victoria immediately fell in love with Albert and although he initially had doubts about the relationship, the couple were eventually married in February 1840. In 1840, she married her cousin, Prince Albert. At first the country was not found of Prince Albert, only because he was German. But he proved to be a loyal subject and faithful to England. Victoria loved him immensely and came to depend on him for political and diplomatic advice. In 1840, the 20 year old Victoria married Prince Albert as she recounts their passionate wedding night "It was a gratifying and bewildering experience. I never, never spent such an evening. His excessive love and affection gave me feelings of heavenly love and happiness. He clasped me in his arms and we kissed each other again and again."
The young Queen Victoria relied heavily on her husband's advice and he became a great influence in Victoria's decisions while he reigned as Queen. It was said she was most involved in political and royal duties while he was still alive, than when he was dead as though he provided that spark she needed to be the best she could be. She admired him and was completely devoted to him, and did nothing without her husband's approval.
In 1861 Prince Albert died and Victoria was utterly devastated. She would not show her face in public again for three full years. People began to doubt her and assassination attempts were made on her life. She finally did come out of hiding but absolutely refused to wear anything but black to show her mourning for her late husband. And for forty years, until her death in 1901, she wore nothing but black and mourned him until her own death. Her long state of mourning earned her the nickname, "The Widow of Windsor". Victoria asked for two items to be in her own coffin. In one hand was placed one of Albert's dressing gowns while in the other was a lock of Albert's hair.
Unfortunately for her, she had the longest reign in England's history, and she mourned through most of it. She truly loved her Prince and could not let his memory go.
Besides being known as the Widow of Windsor, the time in which she reigned was truly a remarkable period in the life of England. England was going through the industrial revolution and the period became known as the Victorian Era.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London was therefore first built as a fortress with a central Keep, the first of its towers was called the "White Tower." The Tower of London assumed its form as a 'Concentric Castle' with successive lines of fortification, only after hundreds of years and several different reigns. There are 21 different towers which form a major part of the London castle complex. These famous buildings are fully detailed in the section The Towers in the London fortress which include the White Tower and the Bloody Tower. The design and structure of the Tower of London also include the Chapel of St John.The expansion of the Tower of London, covering 18 acres, led to additional functions as:
Ш A Royal residence in London
Ш A Prison housing some very important state prisoners
Ш A place of trials, execution and torture
Ш To act as a royal power base in the City of London
Ш To provide a base where armed men, provisions and horses could be housed
Ш To overawe and frighten the indigenous population of London
Ш To provide a retreat for the Royal family in times of civil disorder
Ш To protect London from invasion
The Tower of London is one of the most imposing and popular of London's historical sites. It comprises not one, but 20 towers. The oldest of which, the White Tower, dates back to the lath century and the time of William the Conqueror. Nowadays a lot of tourists visit the Tower of London, because of the Tower's evil reputation as a prison. The Tower is famous as home of the Crown Jewels. Today they can be viewed in their new jewel house. They include the Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother which contains the celebrated Indian diamond.
Many stories associated with British history come from the Tower. In 1483 King Edward IV's two sons were murdered in the so-called Bloody Tower. Over two centuries later the skeletons of two little boys were found buried beneath steps in the White Tower.
Traitor's Gate has steps leading down to the River Thames. Countless prisoners, including the future Queen Elizabeth I of England, were brought to the Tower by barge and ascended the steps before being imprisoned. For many it was their last moment of freedom before their death. But Elizabeth was released from the Tower and became Queen. The King's second wife, Anne Boleyn, was brought to trial there in 1536 and beheaded. Six years later her cousin, Catherine, Henry VIII's fifth wife, suffered the same fate. Sir Thomas More was beheaded there in 1535.
Of course, no visit to the Tower would be complete without seeing the ravens; huge black birds who are an official part of the Tower community. Legend states that if the ravens were to leave the Tower the Crown will fall, and Britain with it. Under the special care of the Raven Master, the ravens are fed a daily diet of raw meat. And there is no danger of them flying away, because their wings are clipped.
The History of the Tower of London
The History of the Tower of London encompasses the story of the magnificent castle. And the lives of the men and the women who were killed and imprisoned in this great fortress. The legends and myths surrounding this great London castle including the legend of the Ravens. The History of the Tower of London spans across more than one thousand years and the reigns of countless Kings and Queens. A fully comprehensive Timeline has been developed to guide you through the key events of the Tower of London and its bloody history.
The Prisoners in the Tower of London
The Tower of London is admired for its architecture and its history but it is most remembered for the bloody executions, imprisonment and torture of the prisoners who were incarcerated in the great London castle. The mysterious deaths, like those of the two little Princes in the Tower and the tragic story of the execution of the pathetically young Lady Jane Grey. the execution of Queens of England - Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn. The torture of various prisoners including the racking of Anne Askew, the interrogation of State prisoners such as Guy Fawkes. The executions of men of peace like John Fisher Bishop of Rochester and Sir Thomas More. This history is detailed in the Executions & Beheading at the Tower of London. The infamous dungeon called the 'Little Ease'. And the instruments of torture. The Tower of London was built to overawe and frighten the indigenous population - it succeeded. The names of some of the famous Prisoners and their stories are detailed in this section which even include how they were taken to the Tower of London via Traitor's Gate.
ь The White Tower
ь The Bloody Tower
ь Beauchamp Tower
ь Bell Tower
ь Bowyer Tower
ь Brick Tower
ь Broad Arrow Tower
ь Byward Tower
ь Constable Tower
ь Cradle Tower
ь Develin Tower
ь Deveraux Tower
ь Flint Tower
ь Lanthorn Tower Martin Tower
ь Middle Tower
ь St Thomas's Tower
ь Salt Tower
ь Wakefield Tower
ь Wardrobe Tower
ь Well Tower
Without exaggeration, London is considered one of the major capitals of the world by number of ghosts. As a monarchical power, if you believe the stories residents are everywhere you can find the ghosts of kings and their entourage. No exception and the Tower of London, during the existence of which has accumulated a lot of secrets, and scenes of bloodshed.
One of the described conduct is considered to be the ghost of King George II, who died of a heart attack in anticipation of important documents from Germany. According to testimony in the windows of the castle is often observed unhappy face, George II, peering to see the weather vane.
There is plenty of evidence about a meeting with the ghost of a decapitated Anne Boleyn, carrying his head under his arm. Thus, according to eyewitnesses brutally executed by the wife of King Henry VIII was seen in different parts of the castle, most often to meet her walk in the park of the fortress.
According to legend, a long time wandering through the corridors of the castle ghost murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket. Considered the oldest ghost disappeared just after the killer's grandson, Henry III had built a chapel within the walls of the Tower.
The castle has repeatedly been observed and the ghosts of children - killed 12-year old King Edward V and his 9-year-old brother Richard. "The Little Prince," as they called, dressed in white robes silently holding hands, walking through the corridors of the castle.
Another famous ghost - a navigator-explorer Walter Raleigh, who was twice imprisoned for participating in a conspiracy, the last time ended with a public execution.
But the most frightening vision, according to eyewitnesses, is the scene of executions Countess of Salisbury - Margaret Paul. Many of the ministers of the fortress argue that the spectacle can be observed every year on the day of execution - is clearly visible image of the countess and the executioner, heard the wild cries, after beheading all the visions vanish, there comes a dead silence.
Curiously, the topic of ghosts has never been noticed by the main tower of the Tower, however, and there is an explanation. Legend has it that during the construction of the tower in the XI century to expel the evil spirits in animal sacrifice was brought. In confirmation of this during the repairs in the XIX century masonry was discovered the skeleton of a cat ... Is it worth continuing?
Ravens - one of the most famous sights of the Tower of London. Legend says that if the ravens leave the Tower of London, the British monarchy will fall.
Black crows - an important symbol of the modern Tower of London. known, the first crow appeared at the castle in 1553 during the "nine-day Queen" Jane Grey. That was the first time and was made known "Vivat!" Presages not a good news - Gray was executed. However, the crows have become iconic in the days of Queen Elizabeth, ordered her favorite, which the Duke of Essex to raise the revolt was put in a prison cell. While waiting for the verdict of the window chamber Duke beak knocked a huge black crow, and look closely into the eyes of Essex, thrice shouted "Vivat!". Visit relatives Duke told about a bad omen, which in turn smashed rumors across London, the sad outcome was obvious to all. A few days later the Duke of Essex suffered a brutal death. This legend has lived on for centuries - the raven was doomed to the scaffold, while the Tower has not lost the status of the royal prison, and did not become a museum.
Since then, the territory of the Tower ravens have settled the whole dynasty, and their lives in the castle has acquired a mass of legends. Thus, one of them still lives - it is believed that the Tower and the whole British Empire will fall as soon as he leave the crows.
Surprisingly, in the XVII century, King Charles II issued a decree by which clearly explains that the castle should always be six black ravens. Watch this he was appointed a special guard guardian ravens, whose duties include the full content of birds. This tradition is alive to this day. Since then, virtually nothing has changed seven black crows (one - spare) live in a beautiful environment in a castle - in spacious aviaries. For the maintenance of ravens year the government allocates a solid budget. Thanks to the excellent food, "keepers of the Tower" very fatness. Their daily diet includes about 200 grams of fresh meat and blood biscuits, besides once a week the birds rely on eggs, fresh rabbit meat and fried croutons.
Every crow has his name and character - Baldric, Munin, Thor, Gugina, Gvillum and Brenvin. Contemplate them, walking on green lawns, could each tourist.
Evaluate the significance of black crows in the history of the Tower is constantly able to scientists and conservators in the most unexpected places, finding old birds' nests. In one of these nests were recently discovered findings that rocks the new legend and conjecture. In the hands of historians have got a bracelet with the initials of the very Jane Grey, Elizabeth Tudor hairpin and a glass with the arms of Essex.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a rallying point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and crisis.
Originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 on a site which had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was subsequently acquired by George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte, and known as "The Queen's House". During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front which contains the well-known balcony on which the Royal Family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside. However, the palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb in World War II; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.
History of Buckingham Palace and its very name dates back to the XVIII century. At that time this place was a large palace of the Duke of Buckingham. According to contemporaries, it was "one of the finest houses in London." In 1762, King George III purchased it for 28,000 pounds sterling from Sir Charles Sheffield, who succeeded him after the death of a widowed duchess. Buckingham House was named "Queen's House" and served as the residence of the king's wife Charlotte and her growing family.
George III has modernized and expanded the house: in particular, has been redesigned facade and built a wonderful library for a large collection of valuable books. King moved here, and many other works of art from palaces to decorate the interior of the House of the Queen. " In addition, he purchased the magnificent collection of paintings, mostly Italian artists. And to write portraits of royals were invited leading British artists of the time - Ramsey, Zoffani, Gainsborough, Benjamin West.
But the symbol of the Kingdom of the Buckingham Palace made queens Victoria, a long and peaceful reign that lasted 64 years. Palace again subjected to very serious reconstruction, which cost the treasury at 640,000 pounds. Now open for visiting Front Apartments, which are intended for official ceremonies, banquets and receptions. The front rooms are suites of rooms, from the central kogoryh is green living. Previously she was a salon of Queen Charlotte, then a hall, where the delegation met before taking a monarch.
In the Green room, visitors can see a collection of fine art, art furniture, decor items such as luxurious chandeliers, clocks and vases from Sevres porcelain presented in the main apartments of the palace porcelain is part of a collection that collected by King George IV. At present, this collection is considered the best in the world.
In the Green room focused, perhaps, the most excellent things of Buckingham Palace. Among them - big aromatnitsa a ship of the city of Paris, in all probability, belonged to the Marquise de Pompadour.
After Green living should be the throne hall, through which visitors enter into an art gallery - the largest room at Buckingham Palace: its length is almost 50 meters in width - eight meters. In 1914, the Gallery has been completely redecorated, rebuilt the roof and put new lighting system - overhead skylights.
Updated interior and Galleries: the four fireplaces of white marble bas-reliefs were to carve - portraits in profile of the great painters of the past - Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Albrecht Dyurera and Van Dyck.
Art gallery and state rooms of Buckingham Palace stored within its walls only part of the works of art belonging to the British crown. The Royal Collection is available in more Vinzorskom Castle, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Osborne-xayc and Hollyrood House.
This rich collection of several thousand paintings, but a collection of drawings and prints by famous artists (including drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael) is unparalleled throughout the world. That part of the Royal Collection, which is stored at Buckingham Palace is closed to the public. Explore the collection (and by no means all) only by special permission or at Reception at the Palace by the Queen. They invited the elected representatives of British society, ambassadors of foreign countries and a very limited number of diplomats. That is they who can enjoy the priceless treasures of the Royal Collection.
The emergence of the Royal Collection itself refers to the XVI century. While in court the museums of emperors and kings was taken to collect all sorts of rarities, curiosities, works of applied art, coins and medals. And the pictures were going well - among other things. English King Henry VIII, too, had its small collection - mostly dynastic portraits. But there were other paintings - on religious subjects.
Already in the first half of XVII century royal collection is the biggest treasure in Europe. Increase their wealth, it had a duty to King Charles I, who gave himself with all the passion of collecting works by artists of the Renaissance of the XVII century, not sparing no expense in their purchase. He had a fine artistic taste and patronage, PP Rubens, the position of court painter, invited Van Dyck.
Of course, it is impossible even to enumerate all the treasures of the Royal Collection. But here in 1961 next to Buckingham Palace, the site was destroyed during the war by German bombers at the royal chapel, built a small public gallery - Gallery of Queen. In it, sometimes, and arranged exhibitions of works from the royal collection.
Open to visitors, and State Dining Room at Buckingham Palace, decorated with a number of formal portraits. During its long mahogany table can accommodate 600 people at the same time. In the center of the dining room, above the fireplace hangs a huge (almost three meters tall) portrait of King George IV in the coronation robes. On either side of him are portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte (brush A. Ramsey), a portrait of Prince Frederik and Princess Uellskogo Uellskoy Augusta (brushes French artist Jean-Baptiste Vanloo, who worked in England in 1737-1742, respectively). Last at Buckingham Palace is open for visits White Hall. White-golden tone of its interior dominated everywhere: in the architectural details, furniture, lamps, decorative and applied arts.
Buckingham Palace - a small town with its own police department, 2 post offices, hospitals, bar, 2 sports clubs, discotheques, cinemas and swimming pool. In the palace about 600 rooms and about 3 miles of red carpet tracks. Two people working full time, what would follow for 300 hours of the palace. Attendants of this "town" of about 700 people. Buckingham Palace - a study of the monarchy. Tasks staff are diverse: from content to the palace banquet facilities for other heads of state and ambassadors of the awards ceremony.
Summer palace is visited by about 30.000 visitors who take part in a reception in the royal garden, where there is a lake and waterfalls. Picture of the true nature complement the bird flamingo peace which does not violate even the royal helicopters circling over the garden. It is the place many royal ceremonies, for example. Public opening session of parliament in the autumn or ceremony in honor of the Queen's birthday in June. Royal stables with horses, horse-cloths, with a magnificent state coach, painted by Italian artist Cipriani, and more modern vehicles and crews are also open to the public.
The Royal Albert Hall is an arts venue situated in the South Kensington area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941. The hall represents, as Marcus Binney has noted, two distinct aspirations--one for a large chorus or music hall, and another for a conference centre to serve the needs of the learned world. Both objectives appealed to Cole, as they did to the Prince Consort, but it is evident that Cole (Henry Cole, secretary of the Science and Art Department), whose love of music, 'theatricals', and publicity is apparent throughout his life, was chiefly excited by the idea of a large hall of popular appeal, whereas the circumstances in which it was begun, on the estate of the 1851 Exhibition Commissioners and in some sort of commemoration of the Prince, seemed to require it to be formally dedicated to the service of science and art.
The Royal Albert Hall is one of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings, recognisable the world over. Since its opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, the world's leading artists from every kind of performance genre have appeared on its stage. Each year it hosts more than 350 performances including classical concerts, rock and pop, ballet and opera, tennis, award ceremonies, school and community events, charity performances and lavish banquets.
The Hall was originally supposed to have been called The Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, but the name was changed by Queen Victoria to Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences when laying the foundation stone as a dedication to her deceased husband and consort Prince Albert. It forms the practical part of a national memorial to the Prince Consort - the decorative part is the Albert Memorial directly to the north in Kensington Gardens, now separated from the Hall by the heavy traffic along Kensington Gore.
The first ever performance at the Royal Albert Hall, 29 March 1871In 1851 the Great Exhibition was held in Hyde Park, London, for which the so-called Crystal Palace was built. The exhibition was a great success and led Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, to propose that a permanent series of facilities be built in the area for the enlightenment of the public. Progress on the scheme was slow and in 1861 Prince Albert died, without having seen his ideas come to fruition. However, a memorial was proposed for Hyde Park, with a Great Hall opposite. The proposal was approved and the site was purchased with some of the profits from the Exhibition. Once the remaining funds had been raised, in April 1867 Queen Victoria signed the Royal Charter of the Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences which was to operate the Hall and on 20 May, laid the foundation stone.
The Hall was constructed mainly of Fareham Red brick, with terra cotta block decoration made by Gibbs and Canning Limited of Tamworth. The dome (designed by Rowland Mason Ordish) on top was made of wrought iron and glazed. When the time came for the supporting structure to be removed from the dome after re-assembly in situ, only volunteers remained on site in case the structure dropped. It did drop - but only by five-eighths of an inch. The Hall was scheduled to be completed by Christmas Day 1870 and the Queen visited a few days beforehand to inspect. She was reported as saying "It looks like the British Constitution".
After a welcoming speech by Edward, the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria was too overcome to speak, so the Prince had to announce that "The Queen declares this Hall is now open". A concert followed, when the Hall's acoustic problems became immediately apparent. These were not properly tackled until 1969 when a series of large fibreglass acoustic diffusing discs (commonly referred to as "mushrooms" or "flying saucers") were installed in the roof to cut down the notorious echo.
Now the exterior of the building is largely unchanged, the south steps leading down to Prince Consort Road were demolished to allow reconstruction of the original underground vehicle access to take modern vehicles
The Proms is a popular eight-week summer season of daily classical music concerts and other events held annually at the Albert Hall since moving from the Queens Hall in 1941. The event was founded in 1895, and now each season consists of over 70 concerts in the Albert Hall, in addition to a series of events at other venues across the United Kingdom on the last night. In 2009 the total number of concerts reached 100 for the first time. In the context of classical music festivals, Jiri Belohlavek has described The Proms as "the world's largest and most democratic musical festival".
Proms is short for promenade concerts, a term which arose from the original practice of audience members promenading, or strolling, in some areas of the concert hall during the concert. Proms concertgoers, particularly those who stand, are sometimes described as "Promenaders", but are most commonly referred to as "Prommers".
The Albert Memorial
The Albert Memorial is situated in Kensington Gardens, London, England, directly to the north of the Royal Albert Hall. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband, Prince Albert who died of typhoid in 1861. The memorial was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style. Opened in July 1872 by Queen Victoria, with the statue of Albert ceremonially "seated" in 1875, the memorial consists of an ornate canopy or pavilion containing a statue of the prince facing south. The memorial is 176 feet (54 m) tall, took over ten years to complete, and cost ?120,000 (the equivalent of about ?10,000,000 in 2010).
When Prince Albert died on 14 December 1861, at the age of 42, the thoughts of those in government and public life turned to the form and shape of a suitable memorial, with several possibilities, such as establishing a university or international scholarships, being mentioned. Queen Victoria, however, soon made it clear that she desired a memorial 'in the common sense of the word'. The initiative was taken by the Lord Mayor of London, William Cubitt, who, at a meeting on 14 January 1862, appointed a committee to raise funds for a design to be approved by the Queen. Two months later, after lengthy deliberations and negotiations with the government over the costs of the memorial, Scott's design was formally approved in April 1863. The statue faces to the south, towards the Royal Albert Hall. Albert is holding a catalogue of The Great Exhibition, and is robed as a Knight of the Garter.
The central part of the memorial is surrounded by the elaborate sculptural Frieze of Parnassus (named after Mount Parnassus, the favorite resting place for the Greek muses), which depicts 169 individual composers, architects, poets, painters, and sculptors. Musicians and poets were placed on the south side, with painters on the east side, sculptors on the west side, and architects on the north side. Henry Hugh Armstead carved the figures on the south and east side, the painters, musicians and poets (80 in total), and grouped them by national schools. John Birnie Philip carved the figures on the west and north side, the sculptors and architects, and arranged them in chronological order.
At the corners of the central area, and at the corners of the outer area, there are two allegorical sculpture programs: four groups depicting Victorian industrial arts and sciences (agriculture, commerce, engineering and manufacturing), and four more groups representing Europe, Asia, Africa and The Americas at the four corners, each continent-group including several ethnographic figures and a large animal. (A camel for Africa, a buffalo for the Americas, an elephant for Asia and a bull for Europe.) The memorial's canopy features several mosaics as external and internal decorative artworks. Each of the four external mosaics show a central allegorical figure of the four arts (poetry, painting, architecture and sculpture), supported by two historical figures either side. The historical figures are: King David and Homer (POESIS - poetry), Apelles and Raphael (painting), Solomon and Ictinus (architecture), and Phidias and Michelangelo (sculpture). Materials used in the mosaics include enamel, polished stone, agate, onyx, jasper, cornelian, crystal, marble, and granite. Around the canopy, below its cornice, is a dedicatory legend split into four parts, one for each side. The legend reads: Queen Victoria And Her People * To The Memory Of Albert Prince Consort * As A Tribute Of Their Gratitude * For A Life Devoted To The Public Good.
The pillars and niches of the canopy feature eight statues representing the practical arts and sciences: Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry, Geometry (on the four pillars) and Rhetoric, Medicine, Philosophy and Physiology (in the four niches).
Near the top of the canopy's tower are eight statues of the moral and Christian virtues, including the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues. The virtues are: Faith, Hope, Charity and Humility, and Fortitude, Prudence, Justice and Temperance. Humility is considered to be annexed to the virtue of temperance. Above these, towards the top of tower, are gilded angels raising their arms heavenwards. At the very top of the tower is a gold cross.
ArchitectsThe memorial was planned by a committee of architects led by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The other architects, some of whom died during the course of the project, or were replaced, included Carlo Marochetti, Thomas Leverton Donaldson, William Tite, Sydney Smirke, James Pennethorne, Matthew Digby Wyatt, Philip C. Hardwick, William Burn and Edward Middleton Barry.
Years later, a similar memorial to Queen Victoria was placed at the top of The Mall, outside Buckingham Palace.
The Albert Memorial was not the first revivalist design for a canopied statue in a Gothic style - the Scott Monument in Edinburgh had been designed by George Meikle Kemp over twenty years earlier, and may itself have influenced Worthington's designs for Manchester
victoria buckingham trafalgar london
Trafalgar Square is a square in central London, in England. With its position in the heart of London, it is a tourist attraction, and one of the most famous squares in the United Kingdom and the world. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. Statues and sculptures are on display in the square, including a fourth plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art. The square is also used as a location for political demonstrations and community gatherings, such as the celebration of New Year's Eve in London.
The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars. The original name was to have been "King William the Fourth's Square", but George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name "Trafalgar Square". Trafalgar Square is owned by the Queen in Right of the Crown, and managed by the Greater London Authority.
Nelson's Column is in the centre of the square, surrounded by fountains designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1939 (replacing two earlier fountains of Peterhead granite, now at the Wascana Centre and Confederation Park in Canada) and four huge bronze lions sculpted by Sir Edwin Landseer. Cast by the Morris Singer Foundry, the metal used is said to have been recycled from the cannon of the French fleet. The column is topped by a statue of Horatio Nelson, the vice admiral who commanded the British Fleet at Trafalgar. On the north side of the square is the National Gallery and to its east St Martin-in-the-Fields church. The square adjoins The Mall via Admiralty Arch to the southwest. On the lawn in front of the National Gallery are two statues, James II to the west of the entrance portico and George Washington to the east. The square has become a social and political location for visitors and Londoners alike, developing over its history from "an esplanade peopled with figures of national heroes, into the country's foremost place politique", as historian Rodney Mace has written.
When the square was first built in 1845, the fountains' primary purpose was not aesthetics, but rather to reduce the open space available and the risk of riotous assembly. They were originally fed by a steam engine behind the National Gallery from an artesian well underground. However, the engine was generally considered to be underpowered, so in the late 1930s the decision was made to replace them with stone basins and a new pump. At a cost of almost ?50,000, the fountains were replaced with a design by Sir Edwin Lutyens and the old fountains were sold to donors and became gifts to Canada, eventually installed in Ottawa and Regina, where they are still in use today. The Lutyens design is now listed Grade II.
The square is famous for its feral pigeons, and feeding them is a popular activity of Londoners and tourists. The National Portrait Gallery displays a 1948 photograph of Elizabeth Taylor posing there with bird seed so as to be mobbed by birds. The desirability of the birds' presence has long been contentious: their droppings look ugly on buildings and damage the stonework, and the flock, estimated at its peak to be 35,000, was considered to be a health hazard. In 2005, the sale of bird seed in the square was controversially terminated and other measures were introduced to discourage the pigeons, including the use of trained falcons. Supporters of the birds - including Save the Trafalgar Square Pigeons - as well as some tourists continued to feed the birds, but in 2003 the then-Mayor, Ken Livingstone, enacted byelaws to ban the feeding of pigeons within the square. Due to frequent circumvention of these byelaws, on 10 September 2007 further byelaws were passed by the Westminster City Council to ban the feeding of birds on the square's pedestrianised North Terrace, the entire perimeter of the square, the area around St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, the space directly in front of the National Gallery, Canada House, South Africa House and parts of The Mall, Charing Cross Road and The Strand. There are now few birds in Trafalgar Square and it is used for festivals and hired out to film companies in a way that was not feasible in the 1990s.
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