About Wilton's

About Wilton's

Wilton’s is the oldest surviving Grand Music Hall in the world. It belongs to the first generation of public house music halls that appeared in London during the 1850s and which, only fifty years later, had all but disappeared. Now owned by the Wilton's Music Hall Trust and run by a very small and dedicated team of people, it produces imaginative, distinctive work that combines all art forms and spotlights new talent.

Part of a plate found during the London Museum's archeological dig at Wilton's during the 1980's. It bares the stamp of the Wesleyan Methodist Mahogany Bar Mission.

Originally 5 terraced houses, John Wilton opened Wilton's Music Hall in 1858. Since then it has been home to the missionaries, survived two world wars, been a rag warehouse and unfortunately become derelict. Wilton’s heyday as a music hall was short-lived: just twenty-two years. Several landlords followed after John Wilton and, in 1880, performances ceased when his final successor was unable to renew the licence due to new fire regulations. It was taken over by a Methodist Mission, which continued to occupy the building until 1956. The Methodists served 2000 meals a day during the first ever Docker’s strike of 1889 and allowed Wilton’s to be used as a safe house during the 1936 Battle of Cable Street. During the war it provided shelter for those bombed out of their homes and, in the 1950s it became a sorting place for rags. In one way or another, Wilton’s has always been at the centre of its community.

Years of dereliction and neglect have taken their toll on the building and its fabric. The whole of the second floor is boarded up and unsafe for public use. The bar floor is supported by acro-props and is subject to weight restrictions; the roof (what is left of it) leaks and timber floorboards and joists need to be reinforced and, in some cases, replaced. Local repairs need to be carried out to failing brick work and mortar in order to prevent further fabric loss. The Trust does not want, however, to tamper with or eradicate the extraordinary atmosphere, which undeniably stems from its crumbling state. Funds are being raised to meet the cost of a sympathetic repair project. More information can be read on our Save Wilton's page.

To find out more about the history of Wilton's Music Hall come to one of our regular guided tours, see the What's On section above or call the Box Office on 0207 702 2789 for upcoming dates.

There are lots of ways to support Wilton's. You can become a friend, be a patron, donate online (no amount is too small) or just come along to our shows and our bar and have a drink for charity! For more information see Support Wilton's.

Support Wilton's Music Hall    Donation Online button

Who We Are

Wilton's Music Hall is run by a small and dedicated team of people under the leadership of Frances Mayhew. Wilton’s is a producing house and does not accept unsolicited proposals. It does however work closely with a selection of Associate Artists.

Wilton's Team :
Artistic Director Frances Mayhew
Development Director Kate Mitchell
Technical Director Filippo De Capitani
Building Manager Jon Freeman
Marketing Manager Oona Patterson
Administrator Becky Ruffell
Theatre Technician John Quigley
Researcher and Tour Guide Carole Zeidman
Volunteer Friend's Administrator Stephanie Riley

The Board of Trustees:
Chairman David Pennock
Financial Advisor Barry Suttcliffe
Trustees Jonathan Kitchen, Abdus Shukur, Dr John Gayner, Jeremy Friedlander, Cllr Denise Jones, George Marsh, Frank Kelsall, Andy Williams

Registered Charity No: 1003041

Opportunities at Wilton's

Graphic Designer (Volunteer)

Wilton's is a beautiful building and committed to making its publicity reflect that. After a recent re-brand, the Marketing Manager is looking for an assistant to help produce in-house posters, flyers and programmes. This project will focus on a specific event, making the publicity for Wilton's Cable Street Stories in early October this year. This is an exciting opportunity to work with a live brief that, even with the new branding restrictions, will allow for the creativity of the designer to come through. All work will be properly credited and hours are negotiable. A working knowledge of InDesign and Photoshop is essential. This is the perfect opportunity for a young designer or student to build on their portfolio. If you would like to apply send your C.V plus a link to your website/portfolio to o.patterson@wiltons.org.uk.