Remembering when Milton Keynes was a venue for UK's most famous bands in the 1960s

Top names such as the Rolling Stones and the Hollies came her to perform

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 1:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 1:16 pm

An ordinary building in a quiet backwater of Bletchley in embedded in the memories of music lovers in the 1960s.

Wilton Hall was the unlikely venue for many of the country's top rock and roll acts, attracting audiences of thousands of local teenagers.

Adam Faith, Gene Vincent, The Hollies the Animals, Chris Farlowe, Joe Cocker, Marty Wilde, Rolf Harris, and Johnny Kidd were just a some of the names that drew the crowds locally. All were chart-topping bands at the time.

Crowds prepare for a jazz night at Wilton Hall. Photo: Living Archive

But the most memorable event was in March 1964, when The Rolling Stones performed there just a few weeks before they shot to number one in the charts for the first time.

Ironically the song was called It’s All Over Now.

One member of the Wilton Hall audience recalls: “When the Stones came down, part of the wall fell down at the front....the girls came screaming out...we just walked in and the band started playing.”

Wilton Hall was built in the 1940s and was part of the famous Bletchley Park. It was used as an assembly hall and party venue for the codebreakers and other staff during the Second World War.

Old posters from the glory days at Wilton Hall

The council then ran it for years as a music venue and, between the famous name appearances, regular discos and jazz nights were held there.

Wilton Hall was built in the 1940s and was part of the famous Bletchley Park. It was used as an assembly hall and party venue for the codebreakers and other staff during the Second World War.

MK Council then ran it for years as a music venue that attracted top bands.

Businessman Toni Manni bought it from the council more than 20 years ago and ran it successfully as a community venue, hiring it out for wedding and private functions as well as staging their own events.

The Tremeloes at Wilton Hall. Photo: Living Archive

But in 2018 a planning application was lodged by developers to demolish the building and build six detached houses on the site.

It will be sad, but everything must change,” said Mr Manni at the time. “I’m 71 years old and I can’t run this place for ever. The planning application is just a feasibility study and we do not know what will happen."

Councillors voted against the demolition, saying the building was a valuable community facility that is remembered nostalgically by thousands.

However, MK Council went on to refuse a later move by West Bletchley town council to get Wilton Hall listed as an asset of community value. Currently the site is vacant.

Wilton Hall