BBC Proms has been running for 118 years and is one of the most popular classical events on the British calendar.
The manager of Queen’s Hall, Robert Newman conceived the idea to offer classical music to all types of people. Henry Wood a renowned musical maestro in all aspects of musical composition, vocal teacher, conductor and more; discussed the idea of the Proms with Robert Newman in 1894. Robert Newman offered Henry Wood a permanent place at Queen’s Hall and of the first ever Proms.
The BBC Proms were first known as 'Mr Robert Newman's Promenade Concerts' and performances and lasted about 3 hours which cost 5p for one concert and a paltry £1.05 (equivalent) for a whole season of music.
A far more lax attitude was employed in the 19th century and people were able to drink, smoke and eat during performances.
In the olden days, Wagner was a staple on Monday nights and Beethoven on a Friday. Wood began expanding on the programmes available and introduced fresh talent into the system and introduced the likes of modern (in comparison) day composers such as Richard Strauss, Debussy, Rakhmaninov, Ravel and Vaughan Williams.
During the First World War when German references were frowned upon, Wood encouraged people to embrace German composers, but by this time the Proms were failing to make a profit and the BBC took over from publishers Chappell and Co (who had originally offered financial support) in the first instance.
With the BBC in hand, the message was: 'to inform, educate and entertain’. After the Luftwaffe bombed Queen’s Hall the Proms moved to the Royal Albert Hall in London 1941 and became the BBC Proms again.
Two anniversaries went by and Henry Wood passed away leaving a legacy behind him that would last for centuries to come.
In the late ‘50s with new BBC Controller Williams Glock, the BBC Proms continued to develop until the present day.