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Wilton’s Music Hall
The East End Mission aka
The Old Mahogany Bar

Once a notorious sailors’ pub, later Wilton’s became “…the most striking instance of a theatre that became a church” (Murray, 1934). Wilton’s Music Hall is now undergoing a programme of conservative restoration, preserving the historic fabric while making the building safe and more accessible to the public.

In 1885 in response to increased industrialisation and a dramatic rise in poverty, overcrowding and crime in the East End, the Wesleyan Methodists opened their first inner-city mission in Cable Street, and in 1888 purchased this former music hall (that they had previously prayed might be closed down!), renaming it ‘The Mahogany Bar Mission’.

During the Great Dock Strike of 1889, the Revd Peter Thompson, the first superintendent, set up a soup kitchen to feed the starving dockers’ families, and allowed union meetings.

The Mission remained open for nearly 70 years, through some of the most testing periods in East End history including the 1936 Mosley March and the London blitz. Throughout that time the Methodists variously held meetings and Sunday Schools, campaigned against exploitation and promoted temperance, and gave invaluable support to the local community, particularly the needy children of the area.

Additional visitor information
Guided tours – available most Monday evenings at 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays).
Until autumn 2015, some of the small rooms will be inaccessible due to renovation works. The main bar will remain open and regular performances will continue – see website and/or contact the Box Office for more details.
Wheelchair users are very welcome but access is restricted to the ground floor, which means the bar, library room, foyer and auditorium (please state that you are a wheelchair user when booking tickets for a show).
Wheelchair access will be extended to other parts of the building once our capital works are complete.
Very limited on-street car parking with a permit scheme in some streets by day, but this does not operate after 5.30pm on weekdays or at weekends. Car park on the corner of Mansell Street and Shorter Street.
Shop – souvenirs and bespoke jewellery and artwork inspired by Wilton’s atmosphere: Mon – Fri 12 noon – 6pm; Sat 5pm – 8pm.

Also nearby
Wilton’s is situated on the edge of the City of London between Wapping and Whitechapel, close to the historic Tower of London and St Katherine Docks.


     

1 Graces Alley (off Ensign Street),
London
E1 8JB

Opening
Box Office: Mon – Fri 12 noon – 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays), and at least one hour before shows to collect tickets.
The Mahogany Bar: Mon – Fri 12 noon – 11pm (excluding Bank Holidays); Sat 5pm–11pm.
The Auditorium: NB Only accessible with a ticket to an event or one of our guided tours.

Getting there
OS: TQ342808
Wilton’s sits between Cable Street and The Highway, hidden half-way down the pedestrianised Graces Alley.
Car: A one-way system operates in the area and it is not possible to turn into Ensign Street from Cable Street. Cars can only travel up Ensign Street from the southern end at The Highway north to Cable Street. Taxis can stop at either end of Graces Alley in Ensign or Fletcher Street, which is a little closer.
Train/Tube: Nearest stations are: Shadwell (13 mins) on the Overground Line and DLR or Aldgate East (10 mins) or Tower Hill (11 mins) – see the website for map & detailed directions.


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Photos © James Perry and Mike Twigg

 

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