Royal Festival Hall

I became aware of a movement to transform the Royal Festival Hall when I was given a heart shaped button with the words “Love the Festival Hall” on it.

It doesn’t seem possible that it is over fifty years ago since the Festival Hall opened its doors. In London at that time the main concert venue had been the Royal Albert Hall, which is really a huge arena really only suitable for boxing matches, circuses, etc. Toscanini refused to conduct in it. Also, I remember in the winter of 1946 when I was a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra we had to play in the Albert Hall dressed in our overcoats!

It was unfortunate that the Queen’s Hall was destroyed during WW II.  I remember going to a concert there in 1936.  It was a lovely hall with a wonderful ambiance and acoustics and it boasted of a fountain playing in the auditorium during the Proms season.  It is sad to note that many musicians lost their instruments there in the bombing.

The Royal Festival Hall was desperately needed.


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