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The first night of the Proms

If you'd been in the vicinity of the old Queen's Hall (destroyed by a bomb in World War Two) in Langham Place 112 years ago today, chances are you'd have been going to the First Night of the Proms. The very first night. Because it was on the 10th August 1895 that the first ever Promenade Concert took place, under the baton of Sir Henry Wood.

They were the brainchild of impresario Robert Newman, whose declared aim was to 'educate the public by easy stages' - popular pieces first then slowly introducing more challenging repertoire as the public (who were allowed to eat, drink, smoke as well as 'promenade' as the music played) grew accustomed to the concerts. A sort of 'Classic FM' if you like. But live. And without the ads.

They proved hugely popular and there can't be many people in the country unaware of the fact that they're still going. Going strong, in fact. As the BBC Proms the current season is now approaching the half-way point of its …

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