Many many years ago as we were then living in London’s East End, Chris and I discovered Wilton’s Music Hall. At that time it was wide open and virtually derelict so we went in and, derelict or not, the atmosphere was incredible. Fortunately there were enthusiasts who made sure it didn’t stay entirely derelict and it has evidently been the venue for some terrific productions and concerts. Now it is highly possible that all that will become forgotten history.
We have received the following e-mail and I must admit I am very surprised that the Lottery Fund has seen fit to turn down the request to help save an historic building such as Wilton’s Music Hall, the only one of its kind left. I would imagine the request was turned down by a snooty bunch of philistines to whom music hall is common, vulgar, and of little historic importance whereas it was a major feature in nineteenth and early twentieth century British entertainment. Every major music hall performer appeared at Wiltons at some time in their career and to lose this wonderful old building now would be an act of vandalism and a disaster. According to the BBC Music Magazine it is acoustically perfect for chamber, classical music, and song. I can only hope Frances and her crew can raise the necessary though it does seem an enormous mount to get in so short a time or maybe that the decision makers at the Lottery Fund have a change of mind – and heart.
‘We are writing with frustrating news to say that our application for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to save the building has been rejected thus putting the future of Wilton’s in serious jeopardy.
The overall project cost is just under £3.8 million and we were looking to secure £2.25 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards these costs and then undertake a Capital Appeal to raise the remaining funds. We are sadly now in the position of needing to raise the full £3.8 million, a task that will be extremely difficult in the current financial climate, but one that has to be done. If we do nothing, by autumn this year we would be closed down. We won’t let this happen.
We remain absolutely confident that with the overwhelming public support we have we can win the war to safeguard the future of this vibrant, historic and important building. We are asking everyone to come forward now and donate in whatever way they can, large and small.
We are all taking a deep breath today and gathering our fight back as we will save Wilton’s!’
I think you might like to visit Wilton’s site at www.wiltons.org.uk Fascinating.