Wilton’s Music Hall
Wilton’s Music Hall weekly history tours
A Grade-2 listed building, Wilton’s is now the only intact survivor of the early Grand (giant pub) Music Hall era. Wilton’s has led a colourful life, from the heady days of music hall to the local political passion of the Battle of Cable Street and what is left has a very special atmosphere.
The tour takes visitors from the bar into the hall describing the various lives the building has lived and the people who frequented it.
Duration: 1 hour
How to book: Weekly History Tours can be book directly on the website or by phoning the Box Office on +44(0)207 702 2789. For groups or for specialised private tours visitors should phone the Box Office to check availability.
Tour dates: Every Monday at 6pm and Saturday at 11am
How to get there
Wilton’s Music Hall is located within walking distance of the Tower of London. The nearest London Underground stations are Aldgate East, Tower Hill or Shadwell.
For further information on finding Wilton’s Music Hall please see their website.
With over 48 theatres in the West End alone, London provides visitors with a wealth of diverse theatre architecture both new and old, from major playhouses to small music halls.
The following London theatres currently offer tours:
Royal Opera House
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Theatre Royal Haymarket
Wilton's Music Hall was built in 1858 at the back of the Prince of Denmark Public House. The bar itself had been the public entrance to an earlier, smaller music hall (1850) and the new hall was built across the backs of a terrace of four early 18th Century houses. This was common practice at the time, as 'street frontage' for music halls was very expensive.
The hall was rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1877 by J. Buckley Wilson of Swansea, who introduced a raked auditorium floor and proscenium arch but otherwise kept the 1858 design. The interior of the music hall contains a single gallery, supported by barley sugar cast iron pillars, rising above a large rectangular hall and a high stage with a proscenium arch. The original theatre contained a sun-burner chandelier of 300 gas jets and 27,000 cut crystals which illuminated the mirrored hall. The hall had space for supper tables, a benched area, and promenades around the outside for standing customers
The building was used as a Methodists mission for 70 years and survived fire, flood and The Blitz, but emerged from the War intact but virtually derelict. By 1963 the music hall had become a rag sorting depot. After a campaign in 1964 climaxing in an appearance from Sir John Betjeman at a public meeting to save it from demolition, the hall was finally purchased by the Greater London Council in 1966, given Grade 2* listed status in 1971 and transferred to the Music Hall Trust.
Today Wilton’s Music Hall is the oldest surviving example of an unrestored grand music hall and is now a theatre, concert hall and public bar.
See The Theatres Trust Theatres Database ID 2011 Wilton’s Music Hall