Programmes from the Royal Albert Hall go online

A selection of programme covers from the Royal Albert Hall Archive in London have been made available online via VADS for free use in learning, teaching and research at:

The Barker Royal Albert Hall Ball - Kensington Argyll Amateur Athletic Association, 1931
The Barker Royal Albert Hall Ball – Kensington Argyll Amateur Athletic Association, 1931

The Royal Albert Hall has been host to some of the most famous names in history – from The Beatles to the Rolling Stones, and from Einstein to the Suffragettes. The Archive is the guardian of the Hall’s collective memory and is responsible for managing collections, which include posters, handbills, posters, photographs, plans, prints, art works, administrative records, and ephemeral items such as tickets, leaflets and merchandising. Last year, the Royal Albert Hall had its most successful year yet with 390 performances and 1.7 million visitors – the Hall’s incredible timelapse film reveals its busiest and most successful year ever. Click here to watch it now on YouTube.

The Royal Albert Hall Programme Collection consists of over 40,000 Programmes, from the very first Programme of the Opening ceremony in front of Queen Victoria in March 1871 to last night’s event! It covers a huge range of events, including not only the most obvious classical music concerts but sporting events, political rallies, trade shows, dance events and balls.

The Chelsea Arts Club Annual Ball, 1920
The Chelsea Arts Club Annual Ball, 1920

The Royal Albert Hall is currently cataloguing its archive collections to make them publicly available for the first time later this year, and further images will be added to the VADS image collection in due course.

VADS has been hosted online for over 15 years by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), a specialist art and design university in the south of England. VADS provides online access to a growing collection of over 120,000 art and design images contributed by universities, libraries, museums and archives from across the UK, which can be used freely for educational purposes. To explore all the VADS collections, visit:

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