Wilton's theater in London is the world’s oldest surviving grand music hall - and it's currently undergoing a renovation that will return the space to its former glory. Tucked away in the East London district of Tower Hill, Wiltons remains remarkably beautiful despite many years of neglect. It began its life as a music hall when John Wilton converted a row of five terraced houses on a quiet alley in 1858, and it continues to be a platform for unique talent today. A series of dimly lit, cavernous rooms and hallways lead into an extraordinary hall - read on for a look inside!
After twenty-two years as an event space, Wilton’s was handed from landlord to landlord until performances ceased in 1880. At that point it was taken over by a Methodist Mission for 80 years – the missionaries used the hall to provide shelter for evacuees during the Second World War. After its reinvention as a rag house and two wars, Wilton’s has finally returned to its original form as a music hall.
Although the building has not been fully restored to its true brilliance, a faded elegance is visible beneath the crumbling walls, adding to the hall’s atmospheric charm. Wilton’s volunteers are working to pack the venues schedule with literary evenings, theatrical art events, and fun ping pong tournaments, and they are appealing for support to help preserve this unique space.
Images courtesy of Wilton’s Music Hall