Wilton?s Music Hall in London?s east end has been added to a list of the most endangered sites of cultural significance in the world. The World Monuments Fund (WMF), based in New York, brings out a bi-annual list of the sites most at risk in the world, which currently includes Machu Picchu in Peru, the hurricane-ravaged New Orleans and ancient relics damaged by the war in Iraq. It revealed yesterday that Wilton?s is one of the newest additions.
Dr Jonathan Foyle, Chief Executive of WMF in Britain said: ?The Watch panel immediately recognised the immense cultural value of Wilton?s. As an early Victorian Music Hall, it?s a unique survival, it speaks for the common person, and it?s still used for its original purpose as a place of public entertainment. Once one of many such theatres, the rest have fallen away to leave Wilton?s as an evocative testament to the lives of our common ancestors.
?Now threatened by major structural problems, its inclusion on the Watch List marks the start of an urgent campaign to save this wonderful and precious building for everyone to enjoy.?
Although still able to function as a venue, the building requires an urgent £4 million to perform structural repairs and guarantee it can keep its performing licence, and those looking to conserve it hope that this inclusion on the WMF list will help to raise the profile of the building, and help to preserve it for the future.
Other UK sites to be added to the list this year are Mavisbank House, Midlothian, Scotland; Richhill House, Armagh City, Northern Ireland; St Peter’s College, Cardross, Scotland; Vernon Mount, Cork; and Tara Hill, County Meath, Ireland.
WMF spokesman Will Black says they expect enough progress to be made over the next two years for 75% of the sites to be moved off the Watch List, which now includes sites under threat for more political and environmental reasons, including Herschel Island in the Canadian Artic which is threatened by rising sea levels, eroding coastlines and melting permafrost caused by global warming.