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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 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’.

During 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.

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                                                                             

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

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

Contact (Box office and bar enquiries) 

Tel: 020 7702 2789; Email: info@wiltons.org.uk and bar@wiltons.org.uk                                        Website: www.wiltons.org.uk

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.

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.


View Methodist heritage sites in a larger map

Photos James Perry and Mike Twigg

 

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The Methodist Church Registered Charity no. 1132208