Over 1,000 Prommers have signed a petition following the removal of the traditional fountain from the middle of the Royal Albert Hall arena.
The small fountain and pool surrounded by artificial flowers and plants has been present each Proms season since 1927, when the BBC took over the classical music festival. But this year it had been removed to increase capacity.
Originally, the fountain was designed to regulate the temperature of the Queen’s Hall in Langham Place (the original location of the Proms) but in recent times the seats which surrounded the water-feature had proved useful as a small seating area, particularly for elderly Prommers. Last year, in the July issue of BBC Music Magazine, we ourselves included the fountain in our feature on 15 Things We Love About The Proms.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Prommer Lesley Melliard said: ‘It provided a calm atmosphere but also acted like a lung and cooled the hall down. There have certainly been more people fainting this year, despite the cooler weather. But the BBC would obviously rather get those extra 25 people in.’
Roger Wright, director of the Proms and controller of Radio 3, wrote on his blog: ‘Promenaders will no doubt miss the chance to float an often surreal mix of inflatable creatures on the circular pond’. But he added that the fountain’s removal would help increase capacity and also save on water.