Freemasons' Hall, London
From About Freemasons
Freemasons’ Hall in London is a stunning Art Deco building and is the current headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England. Freemasons’ Hall is open to the public and offers public tours, but it is also the main meeting place for London's Masonic Lodges (more than 1000 of them). The Freemasons’ Hall was built over a period between 1927 and 1932. It was designed to be a meeting place for lodges but also a memorial to those Freemasons who lost their lives in World War I. Today, Freemasons’ Hall consists of the Grand Temple, which seats up to 1700 people, as well as a Library, 21 Lodge rooms, a museum, administrative offices, and Board and Committee Rooms.
Freemasons’ Hall is available for hire, with reception facilities that can accommodate up to 1,200 guests, dinner facilities that can seat between 25 and 250, and conference facilities for up to 1000 attendees. Over the past ten years, Freemasons’ Hall has been hired for a number of special events and exhibitions. A number of television shows and films have been shot at Freemasons’ Hall, including Poirot, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Churchill: The Gathering Storm, Shackleton, The Saint, Spooks, Hustle, Wings of a Dove, Cody Banks 2, Johnny English, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and many others. The Freemasons’ Hall has also been hired out for film premieres, London Fashion Week, fashion shows, business launches, and more. Between 2003 and 2005, Freemasons’ Hall was nominated yearly as one of the best facilities to rent in London.
In addition to special events, Freemasons’ Hall is also available for tours, organized by the museum and the library of Freemasons’ Hall. The tours are a great chance to learn about H V Ashley and F Winton Newman, the architects of Freemasons’ Hall, and to see the lavishly decorated interior of the building. Tours are only available when the Grand Temple is not in use. Up to five tours are available daily between Monday and Friday, with some tours on Saturday.
The tours are also a great chance to learn about the fascinating history of Freemasons’ Hall. The history dates back to 1769, when the Grand Lodge started to raise money to build a central Hall. By 1774, the site on Great Queen Street in London had been secured. At the time, the area was a tavern with a garden in the rear and a second house beyond the garden. Architect Thomas Sandby created a linking the two buildings. By 1776, the new Freemasons’ Hall had been dedicated and had become a very popular destination for social London events. In the early 1800s and through the 1820s, extensive renovations were completed in Freemasons’ Hall, under the direction of Sir John Soane. Through 1869, Frederick Pepys Cockerill expanded the Freemasons’ Hall in a classical style. By 1919, funds were again being raise to rebuild Freemasons’ Hall as a memorial to those lost during the Great War. More than 3000 Freemasons from the area lost their lives World War I. During the rebuilding, much of the old Freemasons’ Hall was destroyed through demolition. By 1933, the building was completed. In 1985, Freemasons’ Hall became open to the public and available for special events. In 2007, new renovations were completed to convert storage areas into offices for Masonic Charities.