The Watch

Wilton's Music Hall

London, United Kingdom

2008 World Monuments Watch

Located in the Tower Hamlets borough of London, Wilton's Music Hall is thought to be the last remaining example of a mid-Victorian London music hall. Such halls were built behind pubs, and offered musical entertainment for patrons. Wilton's consists of four connected Georgian terraced houses with a double-height auditorium running behind them. Although the majority of the original historic finishes have been lost, this unique collection of buildings retains its historic core, some remarkable Georgian features, and distinct character. Wilton's dates from a time when Britain and London were at their economic peak; it is the last remnant of an urban cultural landscape that has either been destroyed as a result of World War II or by slum clearances during the 1960s. In addition to being used as a theater from 1858 to 1884, the site was used as a Methodist hall (1885-1956) and rag warehouse (1956-1960s) before falling into disrepair. The two major threats to the site are the structural integrity of the lower levels and water ingress due to faulty roof repairs completed during the 1980s. The Wilton Music Hall Trust currently occupies an office in the building in order to enhance site security, deter vandalism, and prevent fire. If the site becomes unsafe and the trust is forced to vacate, it is likely that the building will be under immediate threat from deliberate or accidental damage. Immediate action must be taken to save this rare and remarkable monument to working-class leisure in nineteenth-century London. Last update: 2008

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