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Wilton's Music Hall

Spirit of London

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Wilton's Music Hall - Spirit of London

Were it not for the music we might never have discovered some very unexpected yet beautiful concert venues. One of these hidden gems can be found nestled in a narrow alley within Whitechapel, East London: Wilton’s Music Hall, the last remaining relic of Britain’s renowned music hall era.

British Music Halls hold a significant place in the history of British entertainment. Emerging from the pub song and supper rooms of the 1830s, they gained official recognition with the 1843 Theatres Act, setting them apart from theatre, ballet, and opera.

In the early days, these halls were predominantly a male space, and essentially as described: music halls attached to pubs. However, by 1852, they had evolved into purpose-built venues accommodating 700-1,500 people each night.

This marked a significant shift in entertainment, especially for the working classes, in the heart of London. In a world that was very much orientated along class and gender lines, these halls, fitted out with opulent decor, chandeliers and more, drew in men and women, old and young, from all walks of life.

By the latter half of the nineteenth century, London alone boasted over 300 licensed music halls, with more cropping up in other cities across the country.

 Wilton's Music Hall © Paul Marc Mitchell
Wilton's Music Hall © Paul Marc Mitchell

Wilton’s Music Hall was originally constructed in 1859 by John Wilton and restored in 2015. The venue has, however, preserved its weathered exterior and ageing plaster. Some might call it ‘shabby chic’, we would describe it as proudly-worn patina.

Proof that the spirit of London can be encapsulated in bricks and mortar - Time Out

Whether experiencing a spectacle in the main concert hall or joining a more intimate performance in the upstairs bar, the atmosphere at this iconic hall is a special one and will definitely take you back in time.

Find out more about this unique London venue here and learn how a Victorian sailors' pub went from music hall to Methodist Mission, and was then forgotten, before becoming the venue it is today, on one of Wilton's history tours. And we will be sure to let you know about early music concerts in this special venue on our What's On page.

Should you know of any hidden gems you would like to see featured here, please get in touch via the Contact form.

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