TALKS BEYOND TIME AND PLACE – EPISODE SIX: HARRY HICKMORE (WILTON’S MUSIC HALL)
Wilton’s Music Hall can be found in Grace’s Alley off Cable Street in Tower Hamlets and is believed to be the oldest surviving grand music hall in Europe. It was built in the 1740s as an alehouse. In 1839, a concert room was built behind the bar that was greatly enlarged by the new owner John Wilton, who opened it in 1859 as “Wilton’s Music Hall”. Here, all the great Victorian artists like Arthur Lloyd, George Ware and ‘Champagne Charlie’ George Leybourne performed.
Harry Hickmore – Head of Development and Communications at Wilton’s Music Hall
Harry is Head of Development and Communications at Wilton’s Music Hall. In “Talks beyond time and place”, we chat about the building’s history, the importance of the music halls for London, Cockney Sing-a-longs, memorable performances at Wilton’s and modern-day admirers and supporters like Cate Blanchett and Sir David Suchet.
00:00 London beyond time and place Intro
03:08 How long have you been part of the team at Wilton’s?
03:59 What drew you to Wilton’s Music Hall?
06:37 Who was John Wilton?
10:14 The history of the building in Grace’s Alley
16:18 Which original features are still there from the nineteenth century?
18:07 What was the first performance at Wilton’s?
20:13 Why did it become a Methodist Mission in the 1880s?
22:16 A memorable performance: Deborah Warner’s and Fiona Shaw’s “The Waste Land” in 1997
26:12 How culturally important were and are the music halls for London and London’s history?
30:30 Do you still play the old music hall tunes?
32:00 How did a visit to Wilton’s look like in the 1850s? What does it look like today? What is similar, what is different?
34:30 What was the audience like back then? What is it like today?
36:33 You still keep up the music hall character, but there is a variety of productions from plays to opera, there are musicals, classical concerts, rock shows – how do you plan your own productions?
38:50 Wilton’s as location for films and music videos (like Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax”)
42:37 What is the strangest story about Wilton’s? Are there any ghosts in the building?
46:04 What is the current situation at Wilton’s?
47:46 What can our viewers and listeners do to support Wilton’s right now?
50:09 Wilton’s next projects after the pandemic
Audio and video
Tom Carradine: “Carradine’s Cockney Sing-a-long”
Cate Blanchett on The Beautiful Word campaign
TALKS BEYOND TIME AND PLACE
“Talks beyond time and place” is a series of online conversations by author Philipp Röttgers of “London beyond time and place“. Philipp and his guests chat about how London influences their lives. In every episode, they cover certain topics, depending on the individual guest. Among his guests are scholars, historians, tour guides and more and the atmosphere feels like a conversation in a pub.
Music by Bryan Kolarczyk