The Wonder of Wondrous Wiltons – a poem

In 1828, when temperance was at its height

“The Prince of Denmark” in Graces Alley was hosting drunken nights

With sailors and sea harlots there

They caused such a terrible ‘mare 

In the palace of gin, and debauched nights of sin

Brought the neighbourhood to disrepair

The saloon of the Mahogany Bar  

Brought its clients from near and from far

Sea shanties were told, with secrets of old

Then John Wilton came in to get rid of the din

And a music hall built for the respectable folk

At the back of the buildings, right there

The sea-faring folk had since gone 

And Vaudeville was t’entertainment put on

The building renewed, and success soon ensued

In the “handsomest of pleasure rooms”

With barley twist column distinct, and stucco and gilding succinct 

The main part of the hall, didn’t change much at all

‘Twas Victorian glamour, in the east end of old London Town

Sailors, Mothers and Mermaids and all

Brought a livelier sort to the famed musical hall

Lancashire folk danced there in their clogs and Irish songs were brought from the bogs

Champagne Charlie topped bills and 

Marie Lloyd sang, with all her frills 

But fashions soon changed, and all music halls went to the dogs 


Wiltons still stands in sweet majesty 

Hosting acts of the day, for us all to go see

Its proved it can endure and its faded grandeur 

Brings crowds of the 21st Century 

To watch Vaudeville and Burlesque cheekily

And musicians and artists now celebrate its history 

Enjoying a new Wiltons, which is ever so dear to

Our hearts and our minds, this special old theatre

A unique hidden treasure to find, if you don’t know its there you’ll go blind

But when find it, you do, you’ll stick just like glue

As you step into history, the ultimate mystery

Of why you didn’t find it before

Your heart will now sing and your soul will now bring

Your footsteps will return, time and again

To the wonder of wondrous Wiltons!

Ange Chan ©2016


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