FOWKE, Francis
(b. 1823, Ballysillan, d. 1865, London)

Exterior view

opened 1871
Royal Albert Hall, London

The Great Exhibition, organised by Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, was held in 1851 in Hyde Park, London. The Exhibition was a success and led Prince Albert to propose the creation of a group of permanent facilities for the public benefit, which came to be known as Albertopolis.

The proposal was approved, and the Hall was designed by civil engineers Captain Francis Fowke and Major-General Henry Y. D. Scott of the Royal Engineers and built by Lucas Brothers. The designers were heavily influenced by ancient amphitheatres but had also been exposed to the ideas of Gottfried Semper while he was working at the South Kensington Museum. The Hall was constructed mainly of Fareham Red brick, with terracotta block decoration. The dome (designed by Rowland Mason Ordish) was made of wrought iron and glazed. The Hall was scheduled to be completed by Christmas Day 1870, the official opening ceremony of the Hall was on 29 March 1871.