Tower Hamlets Guides : Walking Tours in the East End

Spitalfields Music Venues

Spitalfields Music Venues

Spitalfields Music has been staging music festivals in East London for four decades. Highly respected in the music world, it has sought to engage the local community through participation and learning. Part of this has been through using non-traditional venues – they don’t do formal concert halls – including some of East London’s many interesting buildings and institutions. We’re delighted that this year’s festival in December includes the walk Footprints of East London by our guide Daniella King, exploring the rich history of Bethnal Green and taking in several of the festival’s venues.

IMG_4903 (2).JPG

It all began in 1976 with a concert staged to help save Christ Church, Spitalfields from demolition. Hawksmoor’s masterpiece was then in a near-ruined state, but the organisers saw that it was wonderful place in which to hear music!

From there the festival expanded into a range of venues with early and new music. A schools and learning programme followed in 1989. Spitalfields Music is now a registered charity working to bring together diverse communities in Tower Hamlets.

This year the events are being staged between 1 and 9 December. Daniella’s walks take place on Sunday 2 December and Saturday 8 December, both starting at 10.30 a.m. You can buy tickets by clicking here:

Tickets for Daniella’s Walk on Sunday 2 December

Tickets for Daniella’s Walk on Saturday 8 December

This year’s events continue the tradition of bringing music – traditional and modern -- to spaces where you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find it.

DSCN4134 (2).JPG

A symphony orchestra will play 20th century works in York Hall, one of Britain’s best-known boxing venues.

So a venue also used for professional wrestling will see artists from the BBC Proms performing work by Stravinsky!


Hoxton Hall, the spectacular Grade II listed Victorian music hall has in its life been used as a Quaker meeting house and a temperance hall.

In December, its beautiful, original interior will be the setting for a show interweaving Purcell with The Smiths.


The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood was founded in 1872 in a building incorporating a prefabricated iron structure -- which had originally housed part of the 1851 Great Exhibition in Brompton in West London -- clad in red brick in a German style.

It has mosaic panels representing the works of man in art, sciences and industry. In December it will stage music created in collaboration between festival artists and young people from the borough including a collective bringing together disabled and non-disabled musicians aged 16 – 25.


And St John on Bethnal Green – the church by the underground station designed by the Sir John Soane – he of the Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the beautiful classical walls around the Bank of England – will be the venue for chamber music inspired by NASA’s 93 million mile estimate of the distance between the sun and the earth!

You can find the whole programme of Spitalfields Music events in December here:

Spitalfields Music 2018 Festival

London's Only Lighthouse

London's Only Lighthouse

The Lunch that Launched Canary Wharf

The Lunch that Launched Canary Wharf