Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wilton's Music Hall



I found this gem of a building in an Alley in Wapping close to the River Thames. I have walked around here many times and never come across it before but Open House drew my attention to the building.  For those of you who know London it is about 5 mins walk from St Katherine's Dock.

Through this door is Wilton's Music Hall and  is the oldest of its kind in the world,being the only survivor of the Grand(giant pub) Music Hall.





Originally it was 4 terraced houses built in the 1690s which had various alterations over the years, but have remained more or less unchanged since Wilton built a music hall across the backyards of the houses making them into one building in 1858. He installed the Hall with the best lighting, heating and ventilation systems available.



                                       There are twelve barley sugar columns that hold up the balcony







Seating at the back of the auditorium.











In 1888 the building was bought by the local Wesleyan Mission and used by them until the 1950s. The mission fed 2000 people a day during the docker's strike of 1889, housed the first Ethiopian working men's club in the 1920s and offered shelter during two world wars for the people of the East London.



When the Methodists left, Wilton's became a rag warehouse and was eventually left empty, falling derelict from 1956 onwards. It was saved from the slum clearance schemes of the 1960s and became a Grade II listed building. A trust was formed in 2004 to bring the building back to life.  Due to successful fundraising between 2012 and 2015 enough money was raised to sensitively repair Wilton's and from last week is now fully open with a full programme of plays and events.




The staircase takes you up to a number of small rooms which now look as though they might be used as rehearsal or meeting rooms













In the auditorium you can still see the original painted plasterwork.







 The renovation has not added any modern features and looking down on the stage and auditorium from the balcony you get a real feel for those Victorian evenings spent in this Music Hall














The building has been used in  films and this poster was part of the film set for 'Death Defying Acts' starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Guy Pearce. I look forward to seeing a production here in the future.

16 comments:

  1. Lets hope it does get used again how it should be

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a nice place to visit, it all looks to well preserved. Must be magical to see an performance there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it it wonderful that they have been able to save it. Sounds like the structure has been put to good use over it's many years.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's great that it was preserved and restored. It's a treasure. In the US it would have been torn down and something very inferior built to take its place. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. the history oozing from every crack is amazing

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a discovery! It's a gem of a building.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a beautiful place! My first thought when I saw the seats was: uncomfortable! But it is beautifully done! Well done for finding the place.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You find the most interesting places. I'll look forward to reading about a performance you attend there.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The interior immediately reminded me of the tv show The Good Old Days, but after checking, it was filmed in Leeds. At times buildings like this are best appreciated when they are maintained rather than restored.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am happy that it was saved ! Looks really worthwhile to visit !

    ReplyDelete
  11. So glad this was saved .... So glad you found and shared it. Would be lovely to see a play re, you will feel as if you are in a period production yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a great old hall. Sometimes the hardest thing about saving these halls is meeting modern safety codes - there was an old music hall with fantastic acoustic where I went to college and there were always threats to close it over the fire risk.

    ReplyDelete
  13. How wonderful it was restored. Your photos capture the Victorian feel.

    ReplyDelete

Thank-you for reading my blog. I would love to read your comments.