Walking down Graces Alley towards Wilton's Music Hall is a bit like stepping into another world – or rather back in time to the mid-19th century, when John Wilton opened his concert hall behind the Mahogany Bar pub. Thanks in part to the Methodist Church and John Betjeman, this lovely old building has survived the intervening century and a half more or less intact.
The exterior – cobbled together from five Victorian house fronts – is chicly shabby, with peeling paint in mismatched colours, and long-extinguished gas lamps hanging along the walls beside flower baskets (brimming in the summer). Step inside, and you'll find the bar, entrance hall and side-room known as the 'Study' are very much in the same condition: apart from the exposed brickwork (originally covered by plaster), there's not much here that would have been out of place in Wilton's day.
The gem here is the hall itself: church-like, with a high ceiling, a gallery on three sides and a proscenium arch stage on the fourth. It's been recently refurbished and strengthened thanks to a long-running fundraising campaign, and now has modern lighting, heating and ventilation, but most of the period features are still in place, albeit faded: the 'barley sugar' cast iron pillars, the sloping wooden floor, the carved balcony and the classical arches around the upper walls. One of the world's oldest surviving music halls and an architectural gem, it remains a choice hang-out for the post-work crowd and regularly hosts theatre, concerts and variety acts.
|Venue name:||Wilton's Music Hall||Contact:|
1-4 Graces Alley
off Ensign St
|Transport:||Tube: Tower Hill/Aldgate East|
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Britten In Brooklyn
In something of a coup, Wilton's Music Hall has lured Sadie Frost to East London to star in this period drama. Set in 1940s New York, 'Britten in Brooklyn' is a drama by Zoe Lewis that's inspired by life in the artsy digs inhabited by luminaries including...Drama Wednesday August 31 2016 - Saturday September 17 2016Read more
Pop-rock that dribbles gently down the middle of the road and into the mainstream.Pop Monday September 5 2016Read more
Music Of The Thames
Director and violinist Peter Fisher presents an evening of baroque, classical and folk music.Classical and opera Monday September 12 2016Read more
Balagan Cafe Band
Brazilian choro, tango nuevo, Gypsy jazz, Balkan folk and originals from this chamber string ensemble.Latin and world Monday September 19 2016 FreeRead more
'Floyd Collins' got its last outing with an acclaimed run at Southwark Playhouse in 2012. This fresh revival at Wilton's Music Hall, directed by Jonathan Butterell, is an atmospheric look at the life of a Kentucky-born cave explorer. As he's trapped underground,...Musicals Wednesday September 21 2016 - Saturday October 15 2016Read more
Black Is The Color Of My Voice & Soul Sessions Double Bill
A musical drama dedicated to the life of singer Nina Simone, followed by Apphia's cabaret session.Cabaret and burlesque Tuesday October 25 2016 - Saturday October 29 2016Read more
Oreste By Handel
Wilton's Music Hall builds on its growing reputation as a home of alternative opera with this contemporary production from the Royal Opera House. Handel's visceral story will be performed by singers from their Jette Parker Young Artist Programme.Musicals Tuesday November 8 2016 - Saturday November 19 2016Read more
The honktastic fairy story 'Mother Goose' is one of the less-staged pantos out there, perhaps because of its sprawling plot that's stuffed with a motley bunch of nursery rhyme characters. But Hackney's spectacular take on the story in 2014 showed how...Panto Friday December 2 2016 - Saturday December 31 2016Read more
Average User Rating
5 / 5
- 5 star:25
- 4 star:1
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There's something in the atmosphere here. Hardly a breathtaking venue - but the past permeates the building and creates a feeling of bonding with your fellow audience members. People come because they want to see the building as well as the performances. Always worth checking their website for the enormous variety of shows they put on - and they are usually great value. Only downside is the limited eating/drinking space, particularly when you can't use the outside space but looking forward to my next visit.
I went to Wilton's last night as a guest of Time Out who staged a Silent Disco in association with Sony Xperia. Having wound my way thorough the backstreets around Tower Bridge and The Royal Mint, Wilton's was a real discovery. It feels like the whole of London's history took place here and the building is showing the signs of age and action - but in a very good way. Gong from the bar into the main space decked out for the entertainment was simply AWESOME. Picture enclosed. The old and new met in one gloriously fun combination. I wonder what the Victorians would have made of it ? I know my verdict - Loved it !
We went on the WIltons Music Hall tour yesterday to learn more about the building and it's history. Fascinating! We really enjoyed our visit - the half derelict look really adds to it's character. We also made a video of our visit, http://youtu.be/Cr_yU2TgTwI
What an amazing place, a living museum in every way! One of the most exciting an vesatile entertainment venues I have ever visited. I often see Wiltons featuring in many films & tv shows - many millions of people have actually seen it without realising that this is no film set, but a real life venue. If in London you MUST visit this place, you will not be disappointed.
The most inspiring, soul energising, sensuous place that keeps you coming back for more because you can't quite get enough on one visit. I want to get married here so that I can share this mesmerising venue with everybody love. You can't describe it with words. It is justified only with a visit, it is true love at first sight, and should be shared with those who will appreciate it for it's full worth. Wiltons you are amazing! Keep Wiltons doing what it is great at. Bringing people together, to enjoy the moments that count, in a place that keeps every second sacred. Thank you Wiltons! Xx
This beautiful, special venue is one of the reasons I love London so much. The oldest surviving music hall, worthy of any backing and funding, literally oozes charm, history and atmosphere.
Amazing one off venue that is a hidden gem in London. History in every brick. Should be visited at least once if not many times :-))
An absolutely amazing place. So full of history that the walls practically ooze with character. If you go on a Monday you can have a great guided tour and learn even more about it. Go along and support Wilton's fund raising campaign by seeing a show, buying a drink or even wearing a t-shirt ! Because it's worth it !!!
This is a brilliant venue with great food and some amazing eclectic shows. Unfortunately funding is not forthcoming to save this historic building but if every Londoner contributed £1 Wilton's would be saved:)
A wonderful place - brilliant eclectic shows and a great bar. Go on a Monday and book in for a fantastic tour.
One of my favourite places, Wilton's is a magical building that makes you feel like you've stepped back in time. Great entertainment, great atmosphere, friendly staff and the best bar in town!
A true hidden gem of London! With its historie it is the perfect setting for that lunch meeting, the afterwork pint or just to go and experience one of their great shows in the great hall. The tour is a true experience for historie loving geeks!
There can't be many people left in London who haven't discovered the lovely Wilton's, the world's oldest music-hall and probably the most beautiful. You can see all sorts of amazing things at Wilton's, from grand opera to ping-pong - if you haven't been there yet, what are you waiting for? It's not difficult to get to, and it's not scary, whatever your auntie might think.
Absolutely my favourite place in London! Its an amazingly quirky and unique venue with a great bar, friendly staff and wonderfully off the wall events and shows. I would say everyone should visit but then I might not get my usual sofa in the bar
an absolutely magical venue hidden away in the heart of the east end. An absolute must visit, with a big variety of quirky events including everything from ping pong tournaments to cabaret to classical concerts to theatre. Definitely check it out!
I enjoyed a wonderful evening at Wilton's Mahogany Bar on a recent trip to London from the U.S. The bar is on the first floor of the building and is a nice spot for live music on nights when Wilton's is not offering a performance in its theater space. The bartenders were friendly and attentive, the beer was cold and the entertainment lively. You can also take advantage of some tables and benches set up outside outside on Graces Alley.