Wilton’s Music Hall is a fascinating step back in time and a captivating place to visit.
The last of London’s Music Halls Wilton’s probably looks and feels like it always has in parts. The front was originally an alehouse in a row of terraced cottages dating back to the mid 1700’s or earlier whilst the music hall at the back is from a slightly later period.
John Wilton bought the pub and music hall in 1850 and opened his ‘Magnificent new music hall’ in 1859. It operated as a music hall for about 30 years before being destroyed by fire in 1877, an eight year rebuild was commenced and the property was then bought by the Methodist Church.
It was open as a mission for 70 years until the Church ceased and it spent a time as a warehouse. The building was due to be demolished after a compulsory purchase as part of slum clearances in the 60’s but a campaign that was supported by the likes of Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers saw it saved.
Having once more operated as a concert hall since the mid 90’s a renovation was begun in earnest in 2003, the building was in a terrible state but through grants and fund raising millions of pounds has been spent to get it back to where it is today.
If you visit today you will see an auditorium that is much as it has been for decades and decades, it is quite atmospheric and a real throw back in time. There are productions on most weeks, either drama or music and the two bars found in the warren of rooms outside the auditorium are cosy and relaxed.
Situated within comfortable walking distance of Tower Bridge, Wilton’s Music Hall is well worth a visit for anybody who has an interest in theatre or loves looking round historical buildings. You could imagine having a very similar experience if visiting London in the 1870’s as you will get now.
For those that are interested click here to visit the official website which will include current production listings. You don’t need to be attending a show to visit, you are welcome to just enjoy a drink.