I refer to the article in the AJ dated 21.3.02 and the letter published 17.4.02 describing the refurbishment of the Royal Albert Hall.
I can confirm that the shaft was indeed sunk by two men, and the arisings therefrom were transported through the bowels of the Albert Hall to the outside in wheelbarrows!
The programme requirement for the shaft to be completed before the Promenade season started meant that this was the only way.
The musicians, not unreasonably, felt that the noises associated with this kind of work (pneumatic picks etc) did not complement their more mellifluous sounds particularly well. Personally, having heard some Stockhausen in the same season, I reserve my judgement.
The tunnel was excavated in the same manner, but the arisings were removed with a rail system.
For any further information please contact me at the address below.
Matthew Warren, e-mail mwarren@ josephgallagher.