Visit London Blog » east end Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Visiting the Past: Wilton’s Music Hall Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:30:04 +0000 Wilton’s Music Hall is one of the oldest surviving music halls in the world, and offers a glimpse of a bygone age of popular entertainment.

When John Wilton unveiled his “magnificent new music hall” in 1859, it was the newest venue in a thriving scene. During the late 19th and early 20th century, East London had more music hall theatres than any other part of the country. Music hall entertainment was raucous and rapid-fire; its acts often quirky and outrageous and its audiences legendarily bawdy and restless.

Many acts on the Wilton’s stage performed comic songs in character. An enchanted 1872 reviewer described the performance of impressionist Annie Delemont:

“Miss Delemont, who has a beautiful voice and is a superior vocalist, sang serial comic ditties in a way which charmed all who listened to her.”

Upon John Wilton’s death in 1880, Wilton’s was taken over by the East End Mission of the Methodist Church who were determined to help relieve the notorious poverty in the area. They used the building as a soup kitchen and as a refuge for people whose homes had been

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bombed during World War II.

The Grade II listing building then fell into disrepair until 10 years ago, when it began to be used as a music and events venue.

Museum of LondonWilton’s Music Hall has just re-opened its auditorium after completing the first phase of a grand refurbishment. It is hosting a production of The Great Gatsby until 23 March 2013. Find out more about the history of the building or catch a show.

Guest post by the Museum of London as part of our Visiting the Past series. More London history next week

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Watch World Cup Brazil vs North Korea in London Tonight Tue, 15 Jun 2010 16:36:56 +0000

Excitement is building in anticipation of tonight’s World Cup match between Brazil and North Korea.

Join the fun with a Brazilian carnival parade through central London! At 6pm tonight the Brazilian School of Samba musicians accompanied by carnival dancers in full costume will parade from Oxford Circus to Tiger Tiger near Piccadilly Circus, where the Brazil match will be shown.

It’s free entry to Tiger Tiger to watch the game.

Or, if you’re in the East End, head to Favela Chic to see the match on the big screen and be entertained by samba rock with Adriano Trinidade before and after.

Read our guide for more places to watch the World Cup in London.

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East: Portico Quartet at Barbican Tue, 09 Mar 2010 16:00:45 +0000 Last night, I saw the fantastic electro-jazz band Portico Quartet at the Barbican.

I’d heard lots of good things about the Barbican as a concert venue so I had high hopes for my first gig there and wasn’t disappointed.

Portico Quartet mesmerised the audience for an hour and a half playing mostly from their second and more experimental album, Isla. I felt hypnotised by their strange and wonderful sound, and my mind wandered into all sorts of bizarre territory during their set.

The gig was also notable for having the most polite and well-behaved audience I’ve ever seen! Everyone in the auditorium sat in complete silence, and barely moved, when a man coughed on the other side of the room, everyone in our row noticed. Was it the quality of the music, or is this just usual Barbican etiquette?

Portico Quartet’s gig was part of East festival, which encourages you to get out and explore the East of London. The Barbican is certainly not in my neck of the (London) woods and I think I earned my East credentials last night: a tube, a cancelled train, two more tubes and an overground train later, I was finally home!

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Three Weeks to East Mon, 15 Feb 2010 15:59:49 +0000

Excitement is bubbling at VL towers over the fact that East Festival is just three weeks away. And it’s not just us, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is looking forward to it too:

“I’m delighted to see the return of the East Festival. This year promises to be a real box of delights with a range of world class artists, exciting performances and activities that range from building your own home to bicycle polo in a festival that showcases East London’s brightly burning creative spirit.”

This year’s East has four major themes: Architecture, Minimalism, Travel and Asian Subcontinent. Highlights of East 2010 include:

  • More than 100 specially curated artist-led events
  • Cycle East‘s free music – by bike – including Soweto Kinch and Sweet Billy Pilgrim
  • East London’s very own Commonwealth Games
  • St Ethelburga’s Delhi Dharbar: a programme of events exploring Delhi’s religious diversity through music, stories, architecture and food
  • Moonfleece: Philip Ridley’s new play, set in an East London tower block
  • Ron Arad: As part of the Barbican’s Ron Arad season, a series of specially created events around the East Festival
  • Céleste Boursier-Mougenot: Installation by French artist in the Curve gallery at the Barbican takes the form of a walk-through aviary inhabited by 40 zebra finches

Go to for the full East festival programme.

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Looking Forward to East Festival 2010 Thu, 24 Dec 2009 13:35:24 +0000 East Festial 2010 will be held 4-9 March

East, one of London’s most exciting, quirky and cool festivals, is just around the corner!

East is an annual festival that celebrates the cultural and creative life of East London. Next year it will be held from 4-9 March and, while we can’t reveal too much at this stage, we can tell you that it’s going to be just as interesting and diverse as ever.

East 2010 will explore four key themes:

  1. Architecture
  2. Asian Subcontinent
  3. Travel
  4. Minimalism

The six-day festival features around 80 events held at East London venues ranging from The Barbican to Brick Lane, Whitechapel Gallery to Spitalfields Market.

Previous East festivals have seen innovative new collaborations, work from world-class artists and performers, and record audiences. This is one London festival you really don’t want to miss.

In fact, why wait for March? The Christmas break is an ideal time to get out and about in East London. For inspiration, check out the East London Walks page, our Only in London East Itinerary and the DIY East guide. That way, when the festival rolls around, you’ll be fully prepared to enjoy East!

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