From sumo tournaments to Alfred Hitchcock: Top 10 facts about the Royal Albert Hall

1. The Royal Albert Hall (RAH) was built from 1867-71 “to promote art and science”. 

2. Originally its proposed name was “Central Hall of Arts and Sciences” but Queen Victoria proposed naming it after Prince Albert who had died in 1861. 

3. During the First World War, the height of the roof of the building allowed its use for experiments on dropping propaganda leaflets. 

4. The world’s first indoor marathon was run at the RAH in 1909, 524 times around the hall. 

5. From 1871-1918, boxing was banned at the RAH after George V objected to “professional pugilists”. 

6. Since then, the RAH has staged boxing, sumo wrestling, basketball, tennis and numerous other sports including chess boxing and gut-barging. 

7. The sumo tournament at the RAH in 1991 was the first ever held outside Japan. 

8. Alfred Hitchcock attributed a scene in his film Vertigo to his getting very drunk at a party at RAH and feeling the ground giving way beneath him.

9. There are 9,999 pipes in the RAH organ. 

10. Yoko Ono’s Film No.4, consisting of close-ups of 365 bottoms, was banned at the RAH in 1967.