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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As London's oldest surviving music hall, Wilton's really is a hidden treasure. From regular events including concerts and vintage fairs to the wonderful bars inside, this is a truly unique venue. Well worth a visit.
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.