Wilton's Music Hall

Category: Performing Arts

Wilton’s is the world’s oldest surviving grand music hall. Here, in the 1850s and 60s, classical overtures, opera and operetta, choral, contemporary and folk songs were enormously popular, long before “old time music hall” evolved.

John Wilton built this theatre behind his public house, The Prince of Denmark in 1858, in Graces Alley, E1. The pub was locally famous as the first to use mahogany fittings. Wiltons was described as the “Handsomest Room in Town”. A sun-burner chandelier with 300 gas jets and 27,000 cut crystals dominated a mirrored hall where George Leybourne (Champagne Charlie) sang. Rumour has it that the first ever can-can was performed and promptly banned at Wiltons.


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