In my day as a child it was called 'The Old Mahogany Bar' and us girls would pay 1d every Monday night to go there to listen to a Mr Hanson. I can see him now standing in the middle of the aisle telling us such fantastic stories about the sailors at sea and their poor wives... such lovely stories, we would sit up in the gallery enthralled' Mrs K. Howell, 2003.
Generations of children loved coming to The Mahogany Bar to hear stories not just from the Bible, but from Wilton's wild and dangerous past. A recurrent theme was of sailors, plied with drink, robbed and dropped through trap-doors to tunnels leading to Ratcliffe Highway and the Thames. The tales were based on the history of smuggling, press-gangs and other crime in the area but were equally inspired and explained by the passageways, cellars, ancient well (or Victorian cesspit), abandoned orchestra pit and hidden opening to the outside world lyinhg beneath the trapdoors in Wilton's hall floor.
'My husband discovered the opening into the passage which lead to the Thames. Drunken saioors, robbed of their cash, in those olden days and pushed to their death. He had to go down!' Mrs Irene Sutton, wife of John Sutton, Pastor at the mission from 1946, writing to Wilton's in 2011.