The Queen’s Hall was a concert hall in Langham Place, London, opened in 1893. Designed by the architect Thomas 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.