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Londonís Freemasonsí Hall is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and is the meeting place for Masonic Lodges in England and Whales, consisting of over 300,000 Freemasons. The building is located in Great Queen Street, running between Covent Garden and Kingsway. This massive art deco structure occupies an impressive two and a quarter acres. This iconic building has been featured in many films including The Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004), The Wings of the Dove (1997), and Johnny English (2003), as well as numerous TV series. It is simply a must see for any Mason traveling to England. If you desire to see the living history and rich tradition of the craft, you certainly wonít be disappointed with a pilgrimage to the beloved Freemasonsí Hall.
Inside Freemasonsí Hall
Construction and History
In 1769, the premier Grand Lodge decided to establish a central meeting place for itís membership. Five years later, after raising funds from the members, the Grand Lodge of England purchased a humble tavern house in Great Queen Street. Situated behind the house was a garden and a second, smaller house. A competition was soon held to find the best architectural design to repurpose the site. The winner was Thomas Sandby, RA, whoís design would link the two houses by a Grand Hall. In 1776, the construction was complete and the new Freemasonsí Hall was dedicated on May 23 that year. The Hall soon became an indispensable part of Londonís social life as it hosted balls, concerts and meeting places for various charitable and literary societies.
After the Union of the Ancients and Moderns Lodges, the Freemasonsí Hall Grand Superintendant of Works, Sir John Soane, initiated and oversaw extensive remodeling of the kitchens and meeting rooms. Nine years later, the hall which Sandby designed was extended Eastward over a seven year period by Frederick Cockerell. In 1919, The Masonic Million Memorial Fund is established to rebuild Freemasonís Hall. The fund and the hallís work was dedicated to the 3,225 British Freemasons who died in service of the First World War, and was named The Masonic Peace Memorial. The name would later revert to Freemasonsí Hall at the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
In 1925, another Architectís competition was held for a renovation and expansion of the site. The winning design was a culmination of the work of H.V. Ashley and Winton Newman, who based their plans on an unprecedented massive steel framework. On July 14, 1927 a well attended cornerstone ceremony commenced the construction which would continue to 1933 and cost the modern equivelant of £317m. On July 19, 1933 the new Freemasonsí Hall is filled with over 5,000 exited brethren as Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Connaught, KG dedicated the hall to Masonic service. By 1985, the hall was opened to the public and became available for non-Masonic events and once again became an invaluable institution of the London social scene.
60 Great Queen Street
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