Esoteric London

No. 497: Graces Alley, E1

Posted in Entertainment, Interiors, Theatrical London by esotericlondon on January 24, 2012

Wilton’s Music Hall , Graces Alley, London, E1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Life in the London Streets – Richard Rowe, 1881:

A music hall largely patronised by sailors is our next house of call. It is full of fog and tobacco-smoke, and fumes of steaming grog. Glasses are clattering, spoons clinking, tongues clacking. There is a hush for a moment or two whilst the trapeze performer, who is earning his bread by risking his neck, darts and swings in mid air. As soon as he has reached his perch, with patches of perspiration blotching his flesh-coloured tights, tables are thumped until tumblers and jingling spoons jump up in a staggering dance; the people in the lower part of the house thumping hardest, as if expressing their gratitude – not because the performer is safe, but because he has not missed his hold, and dropped on them and their “refreshments.”

[Wilton’s is the oldest surviving Grand Music Hall in the world being opened by John Wilton in 1858. To read more of the venues history, to see information about forthcoming events or to see how you can help support this unique building you can visit the website by clicking here. R.D.]