Freemasons' Hall in London is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England, as well as a meeting place for many Masonic Lodges in the London area. In 1775 the premier Grand Lodge purchased a house fronting the street, behind which was a garden and a second house. A competition was held for the design of a Grand Hall to link the two houses. The front house was the Freemasons' Tavern, the back house was to become offices and meeting rooms. The winning design was by Thomas Sandby. Central to the present building is the Grand Temple, meeting place for Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter and the annual meetings of a number of the Home Counties Provincial Grand Lodges, and occasionally for other Masonic degrees and orders and indeed non-Masonic organisations. Bronze doors, each weighing one and a quarter tonnes, open on to a Chamber 123 feet (37 m) long, 90 feet (27 m) wide and 62 feet (19 m) high capable of seating 1,700. The ceiling cove is of Mosaic work and in addition to figures and symbols from Masonic ritual includes, in the corner, figures representing the four cardinal virtues – Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice – and the Arms of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (second youngest son of Queen Victoria) Grand Master 1901–1939, at whose suggestion the Masonic Peace memorial was built. A large pipe organ is installed, built by the leading British organ builders Henry Willis & Sons. In addition to the Grand Temple, there are a further 23 masonic temples, or meeting rooms, within the building, used by Lodges and Chapters of Freemasons. All are highly ornate in their various art deco styles, and no two are identical.
The Museum contains an extensive collection of objects with Masonic decoration including pottery and porcelain, glassware, silver, furniture and clocks, jewels and regalia. Items belonging to famous and Royal Freemasons including Winston Churchill and Edward VII are on display together with examples from the Museum’s extensive collection of prints and engravings, photographs and ephemera. The collection explores the different ranks, offices and branches of freemasonry. It explains some of the symbolism used, the charities set up, masonic dining habits as well as freemasonry abroad and during wartime. There is also a large collection of items relating to non-Masonic fraternal societies such as the Oddfellows and the Sons of the Phoenix. The Library is open for reference use. It contains a comprehensive collection of printed books and manuscripts on every facet of Freemasonry in England as well as material on Freemasonry elsewhere in the world and on subjects associated with Freemasonry or with mystical and esoteric traditions. The collections include Masonic music, poetry and literature. There are a number of notable examples of fine eighteenth and nineteenth century bindings.
Location : Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ
Transport: Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line). London Buses routes 1, 59, 68, 91, 168, 171, 188 and 243 stop nearby.
Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10:00 to 17:00.
Tours are on the hour (11:00, 12:00 etc.).
Tickets : Free
Tel: 020 7395 9257