Ex-chief says: Don’t help the Royal Albert Hall

Ex-chief says: Don’t help the Royal Albert Hall


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2020

Richard Lyttleton, the former EMI Classics boss who was once president of the Royal Albert Hall, is unimpressed by its last-ditch appeal for public money to avert bankruptcy.

He tweets today:



  • Lowell Mayfield IV says:

    There are more important humanitarian matters that REQUIRE financial support.

    Too many business must remain closed leaving individuals and families with NO INCOME not to mention players and singers left to fend for THEMSELVES.

    Time to trim the government fat of useless buildings like RAH when there’s no work on to afford a ticket.

    Another commenter suggested a hedge fund firm buy them out or wait for bankruptcy, foreclosure etc. Sounds sensible as the government, sponsors or donors can’t afford to keep it up with no source of income in the form of a paying audience. Large places like this need someone with ample money and new management to run them. The Saudis and Chinese can afford what the locals can’t as well.

    Crying about the current circumstances and how they “have always run things” means NOTHING right now when they are BROKE!!

    Musicians and individuals need immediate priority with no work on and destroyed careers. Buildings can wait!

    • Elaine says:

      I would like to see the royal Albert Hall saved yes it is a building but it is a special building if I had enough money I would save it

    • V. Lind says:

      But if your solution to every problem that is not top of the urgency-meter is to turn them over to the Saudis or the Chinese, you’re going to wake up after Covid to brave new world indeed.

      And there is something in this tweet by Richard Lyttleton that smacks of spite.

      I wonder how many people would agree that the RAH is “useless.” It’s useless like statues are useless. Joining the “knock ’em down” brigade?

      • Deidre Edgewater says:

        You don’t seem to know who already services most of the world’s population through oil and manufactured products let alone already bought up major real estate.

        Also the “knock ‘em down” brigade is the uneducated black community. They’ve even destroyed black statues and businesses out of blind HATE so what’s a few more buildings created by white folks?

        Given their hypersensitivity and churlish nature, bearing the pattern they’ve been permitted to engage in via lack of law enforcement, NO EDIFICE IS SO SACROSANCT. Just give them the next opportunity for another (Black only of course) rapist/thief/junkie to be a “victim” of anything at the hands of (White only of course) law enforcement of any measure and they’ll gladly trash, loot and torch what you cherish as you just stand there.. And for WHAT? To merely entertain themselves and feel as if they are empowered through destruction like all other HATE GROUPS.

    • George says:

      Nationalise it.

  • Richard says:

    Whereas the Royal Albert Hall is a national treasure, it also allows its seat holders to make money on the resale of their seats. The profits are substantial as borne out by the reported £3 Million paid recently for a Grand Tier Box. So in the first instance, surely it’s right to expect the seat holders if they want to protect their investment to pump their own money to support the Hall and not expect the Government to bail them out. If Government money is eventually forthcoming by way of a loan, it should come with strict conditions attached, limiting the resale of seats by the “members” (the seat holders) to their face value and for such tickets to be only available via the Hall’s own box office. This would remove the distasteful way in which certain seat holders have been able to cream off huge profits which should now go to help Hall in its present predicament and not into their pockets.

    • Abigale Roe says:

      There’s no audience anymore due to government imposed restrictions.

      Besides, it’s only a building.

      Time to place people over profits with too many individuals in financial jeopardy if they aren’t already homeless by now.

    • SVM says:

      I suspect that the RAH would be powerless to impose new “strict conditions” on the “seat holders” (beyond the existing right to designate an event an “exclusive let”, which is not done often because it entails compensating the “seat holders”) — it is my understanding that they possess legally binding 999-year leases (starting from the time when the Hall was erected). Presumably, the lease contract would have made provision for what liabilities, if any, the “seat holders” would encounter in the event of the RAH going insolvent.

      The logical solution would be to try to sell leases (maybe 99 years rather than 999 years?) for seats that are not already leased. Or even try and sell extensions to the existing 999-year leases (if anybody would take up such an offer)?

      I must say I am intrigued by Lyttelton’s reference to a Royal Albert Hall Act of 1966 — is this an act of parliament (I know that there are many acts of parliament dedicated to specific institutions or places, but did not realise the RAH was one of them), and what does it entail?

  • Harold Clarkson says:

    I think its important to remember that the RAH current closure is causing major difficulties for performing artists that use the hall. The Royal Philharmonic which has less public subsidy than any other UK based full time orchestra uses the hall to make the money it needs to be able to balance its budget… loss of its profit making shows at the hall is causing serious trouble and distress for the very people we are all concerned about. Subsidy for the arts is in any case lower in the UK than in other European countries and organisations like the RPO have disciplined themselves very effectively to run as a well managed business… with excellent artistic quality . It is precisely these qualities of effective businesslike management that all those at the Arts Council and in government have applauded in the past that are now proving to make life much more difficult than for organisations that have more government subsidy…so lets consider the importance of the RAH to the people mentioned above…

  • Eduardo says:

    a bit of clarity and financial transparency would help the debate. Headlines alone will not do.