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Wilton’s Grand Music Hall on our Wapping doorstep

Wilton’s Grand Music Hall on our Wapping doorstep

Discover the world’s oldest and most beautiful surviving grand music hall in Graces Alley, just between Cable Street and The Highway.

Wapping residents Nicole and David tipped the 21st century music hall with a 19th century atmosphere last year, describing it as “a one off and a complete find”.

Despite a wall collapsing earlier this year, the grade 2* listed buildings were turned down for Heritage Lottery funding and the future of Wilton’s was as uncertain as the rain that brought the wall down.

“It has such a unique and diverse cultural programme” says Wilton’s Development Director Kate Mitchell, “where the local community can come together, enjoy it and at the same time help us to save Wilton’s”.

£0.5m has now been raised for emergency works but a further £2.5m is needed to begin the essential capital restoration project which aims to fully secure the structure and provide accessibility – but without changing the feel and atmosphere.

Wilton’s as a community centre

Wilton’s has been at the heart of the local community since John Wilton opened his visionary Grand Music Hall back in 1859.

In 1880, just twenty-two years after it opened, Wilton’s closed as a music hall and was taken over by the Methodist Mission who remained there until 1956. The Methodists served 2,000 meals a day during the first ever Docker’s strike of 1889 and allowed it to be used as a safe house during the Battle of Cable Street in 1936.

Wilton’s was a shelter for those bombed out of their houses during the war then in the 1950’s it became a sorting place for rags and is still Wapping’s local grand music hall today – aren’t we lucky!

Image Friends of St Katherine Docks on a tour of Wilton's

The Friends of St Katharine Docks in August 2011 touring Wilton's Music Hall


Feel and discover the atmosphere and history at Wilton’s for yourself on a guided tour every Monday from 6-7pm costing just £6.

Much more than a music hall

With free events and an absurdly diverse programme, Wilton’s is non-elitist with something for everyone – there are shows, concerts, live music, opera, talks and cinema to name just a few.

One of the more unusual events coming to Wilton’s this summer is a Ping Pong Tournament on 25th August following the smashing success of the first competition this July. 64 people including the UK number 2 champion will compete for the title on three tables on the auditorium floor.

The Wilton’s Advent Calendar in December 2011 is a Christmas present to look forward to and will bring 24 days of special events to raise funds for Wilton’s restoration project.

The Mahogany Bar

Originally built around 1725, The Mahogany Bar was elaborately refurbished in 1828 although the famous fixtures and fittings have been stripped away over the years.

In 2010 Wilton’s was a film location for Sherlock Holmes 2 and a replica bar was installed as part of the set and left behind afterwards.

Image The Mahogany Bar at Wiltons

The Mahogany Bar at Wilton's used on the Sherlock Holmes 2 film set


Beat the Monday blues with a drink in The Mahogany Bar from 5pm and hear new talent, vintage sounding bands and cabaret artists at 8pm.

It’s free and informal so visiting on a Monday is a great way to discover Wilton’s for the first time, but like us you’ll probably return again soon.

Save Wilton’s Grand Music Hall

Just having a drink helps to raise funds for the restoration project. The team there also use a huge amount of entrepreneurial spirit to generate additional income, including hire as a venue for weddings, filming and private events.

Become a friend or patron of Wilton’s with one of their new members packages and receive special benefits as you help to save the oldest surviving grand music hall in the world.

Image Kate Mitchell and Tim Ronalds at Wilton's

Wilton's restoration project architect Tim Ronalds and Development Director Kate Mitchell


You can also make a direct charitable donation online via the JustGiving link on Wilton’s website.

Wilton’s Music Hall

Find Wilton’s at Graces Alley, Ensign Street, London E1 8JB [view google map]

Visit www.Wiltons.org for more information, history and all the latest events at what The Telegraph describes quite simply a “pleasure palace”.


  • Frances Mayhew

    Thanks! Everyone is always welcome.