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 has undergone 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 a greater awareness of 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’.
the Great Dock Strike of 1889, the Revd Peter Thompson, the first
superintendent of the East End Mission allowed the Revd John Jameson,
who was in charge of the Mahogany Bar Mission from 1888 to 1889, set up
a soup kitchen to feed the starving dockers’ families, and allowed
union meetings in the Bar.
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.
The restoration project is
now complete and Wilton's Music Hall is now a thriving performing arts
venue with a diverse programme of live music and theatre. - Book for guided tours - available most Monday evenings at 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays). - Wheelchair accessible.
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. The John Wilton room hosts a display about the history of the venue, for more information visit www.wiltons.org.uk/heritage/history
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.
Visitor Opening Box Office: Mon – Fri 11am – 6pm
(excluding Bank Holidays), and at least one hour
before shows to collect tickets.
The Mahogany Bar: Mon – Fri 5pm – 11pm unless there is a private event
- please check website for up to date information.
The Auditorium: NB Only accessible with a ticket
to an event or one of our guided tours.
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.