The History of Freemasons’ Hall in London, England
Situated in the city of Westminster in London, England, Freemasons’ Hall is perhaps the most significant Masonic landmark found anywhere in the United Kingdom. After all, Freemasonry originated in the UK, and whether you believe it was in Scotland or England, the beautiful art décor hall standing proudly at the center of London is a sight every Freemason is surely proud of.
But what’s the history of Freemasons’ Hall, and how did it develop into the impressive structure that attracts thousands of visitors every year? Let’s dive in and take a look at the history of this iconic Masonic building.
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The History of Freemasons’ Hall in London
In 1769, the premier Grand Lodge in the United Kingdom laid plans to construct a central hall, which would serve as a venue for brothers to meet, and also to attract new members to the fraternity. As soon as plans were announced, officers of the lodge reached out to Masons for funds to begin construction.
Five years later, the Grand Lodge acquired premises in Queen Street, London. On the site stood a tavern and garden, the latter of which would become the site on which architect Thomas Sandby would build the hall.
After two years of construction, Freemasons’ Hall was dedicated on May 23rd, 1776. As well as the center of Freemasonry in England, it served as an important social venue for various concerts, balls, and literary evenings, given its prominent location at the bustling center of London.
During the 1820s, the hall underwent significant remodeling under the stewardship of Sir John Soane. It remained in this way until the end of the nineteenth century, when it was significantly extended to include various rooms and chambers built in a classical style.
But the biggest renovations came following the conclusion of the First World War. By 1925, architects H.V. Ashley and Winton Newman had won a competition to remodel the Freemasons’ Hall, and fundraising then started in earnest.
Throughout the remainder of the 1920s, significant fundraising events were held by Masons, to generate enough money to complete the scheduled works. By 1933, the new hall was completed and dedicated to Masonic service by the Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Connaught, KG.
It wasn’t until 1985 that Freemasons’ Hall was opened to the general public and it became increasingly used for non-Masonic events.
Freemasons’ Hall today
Visitors from all around the world can visit Freemasons’ Hall in London and enjoy guided tours of the facility. Much of the art décor interior has been preserved, and you can also pay a visit to the center-piece of the whole hall, the impressive Grand Temple, that still hosts Masonic meetings and functions today.
If you’re visiting London in the near future, be sure to schedule a visit to the undisputed home of Freemasonry in the UK. For more information about visiting Freemasons’ Hall, head to the website of the United Grand Lodge of England.