After two failed lottery bids, Wilton’s music hall, one of London’s last surviving music halls, has succeeded in raising enough money to begin a complete restoration.
Wilton’s Music Hall, near Tower Bridge, was built in 1858 and needs an estimated £4m of structural repair works.
Two failed bids for lottery funding, the most recent in May, had meant the 153-year-old hall could be forced to close this autumn as it was in dire need of fundamental repairs after years of neglect.
Now, a campaign fronted by Poirot actor David Suchet, has raised £500,00 in just two months from public donations, which means work on the collapsing bar floor, drains and roof can start in mid-September.
Over the years Wilton’s has played an important part in the community. It has served as a home to missionaries, been a shelter during WW2 and after standing derelict for a number of years, was reopened in 1999. In 2007 the World Monuments Fund listed it as one of 100 locations of cultural importance which were under threat.
The Grade II listed hall currently to stages theatre productions and gigs and is often used as a location for film and television shoots, including Guy Ritchie’s upcoming Sherlock Holmes sequel.
Artistic director Frances Mayhew said: “We are overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of our audiences and the public at large. We wouldn’t be here without them and their support in helping us keep Wilton’s stable and alive is much appreciated.”
Architect Tim Ronalds, who specialises in arts, education and public projects and played a major part in restoring the Hackney Empire, will lead the work. Most of the building is expected to remain open while the repairs are carried out.
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