Albert Halls

Designed by Stirling architect William Simpson (senior) and opened in 1833, the Albert Halls were built by public subscription as the growing population of Stirling wanted a large concert hall.

Until the Albert Halls were built, the people of Stirling had been using The Smith Institute’s (now known as The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum) main gallery as a concert hall, but the growing population of the town required a larger space and the curator was keen to protect the art on the walls from harm.

The Albert Halls were originally called the New Public Halls and they were built and paid for by the residents of Stirling, allowing the people of Stirlingshire to enjoy larger scale lectures, concerts, and performances. The Halls opened on 5th October 1883, with the Stirling Choral Society putting on a performance of Handel’s ‘The Messiah’. This was followed a few weeks later by a lecture from Oscar Wilde.

Not everyone was happy with the new venue though, with one local resident writing to the Stirling Observer to complain that the ‘large placards, six feet in length, with life-size comical figures thereon, were placed against the railings in front and at the side of these halls, attracting crowds of people to look at them when the churches were going in and during the day, thereby destroying the respectability and amenity of the whole neighbourhood’.

Today you can still attend cultural events at the Albert Halls and enjoy the space in the same way that the people of Stirling did 140 years ago.


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