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.
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).
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.
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),
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.
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.