Wilton's archive is a rich resource, however like any collection there are holes. We are very pleased then that one of our leading stakeholders, John Earl has donated his papers to Wilton's.
John first saw Wilton's on a walk with his wife through the East End in the 1950s, however it was not until the 1960s when it was threatened with demolition that he was able to step inside. John was one of the first, along with Colin Sorensen, to recognise and object to plans for demolition. His papers document this key moment in our history which had, until now, been missing from the archive.
To read the London County Council's reply is astounding in its determination to destroy Wilton's. Common sense and a lot of hard work pulled it through but it has a tragic parallel to much contemporary rhetoric on large scale redevelopment.
John's archive is full of documents that throw new light on major events in Wilton's past, such as his briefing for John Betjeman ahead of the fated council meeting which stopped the wrecker's ball.
John later joined the GLC and moved to the other side of the fight, continuing to push for Wilton's restoration. He has been active throughout the different periods and managements, and was very much a part of the final repair and restoration.
We are grateful to be able to expand and enhance the depth of Wilton's archive with this latest acquisition.