London Unveiled

great places to visit off the beaten path.

Freemasons Hall ~ an Art Deco masterpiece in central London

Freemasons Hall Exterior LondonLocated in central London, Freemasons’ Hall is arguably one of the best examples or Art Deco architecture in England.  The Freemasons’ Hall is Grade II listed – both for its internal and external features and visiting it is certainly worthwhile for those who enjoy architectural gems.  With prior members who included Winston Churchill and Edward VII, the museum and collections include items with even broader appeal.

History:  In 1775 the Freemasons built their first Grand Lodge at this location.  Since then has been the centre of English Freemasonry.  As headquarters of the English United Grand Lodge it is the oldest Grand Lodge in the world.  The current building is the third at this location.  Today it is also the primary meeting place for over 1,000 Masonic Lodge groups.

‘The current building was built in 1927–1932 and was built in honour of Freemasons who died in World War I.

Temples:  Designed by architects Ashley & Newman, this art deco building containsFreemasons Hall Grand Temple interior a ‘Grand Temple’ room (seats 1700), and over 20 other Temples (meeting rooms), as well as a library and a museum.  All Temples are ornately decorated, but the Grand Temple is the highlight -with huge bronze doors, a mosaic ceiling, a pipe organ and masonic symbols – include figures representing the four ‘cardinal virtues’.

Freemasons Hall Grand Temple ceilingThe Library:  Located on the 1st floor, the library is a public resource on all aspects of Freemasonry – including its influence on music, literature and poetry.  Its collection include books from the 1700s onwards.

The Museum: With a collection focused on items that include masonic references, the museum contains photographs, prints, pottery, porcelain, jewellery, glassware, silver, furniture and clocks.  The collection includes items previously owned by notable Freemasons including the aforementioned Winston Churchill and King Edward VII.

With the broad popularity of books such as the “Da Vinci Code” most visitors will Freemasons Hall interior mosaicalso enjoy the exhibits explaining the symbolism of masonry.

Exhibitions:  Ending this Friday (15-2-13) is the current exhibition which focuses on the sporting achievements of Freemasons in sport.  New exhibits are opened throughout the year.

Shop: There is a small shop that sells relevant gifts, books and masonic regalia.

The Hall in Television and Films:  Given its architectural uniqueness, the Hall has been used in many film and TV productions.  One of my favourite TV shows – ‘Spooks’ (MI-5 in other parts of the world) – uses the exterior as a stand-in for their Thames House headquarters.  Other TV filmed here includes ‘Poirot’, ‘Jeeves and Wooster’, ‘Churchill: The Gathering Storm’, and ‘Shakleton’ among many others.

Films shot here include ‘Wings of a Dove’, ‘Cody Banks 2′, ‘Johnny English’, ‘The Saint’, ‘The Life and Death of Peter Sellers’, ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, ‘Basic Instinct II: Risk Addiction’ and ‘Penelope’.  

Tours:  While the facility is open to the public throughout the day, free tours are generally available on Mon-Fri on the hour, from 11am – 4pm which gives you access to more of the building beyond the library and museum, including the main hall.

Located: 60 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ

Closest Tube: Holborn or Covent Garden

7 comments on “Freemasons Hall ~ an Art Deco masterpiece in central London

  1. blue starr
    February 14, 2013

    Really wanted to have a tour but missed the last tour 2pm one day and the next day no tours, should have asked when we were there to check. So seems best to call as the tours aren’t always as on info.

    Did go in the museum and saw the sport exhibition, interesting to see.

    Will try to visit next time we’re in London

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      February 14, 2013

      I believe if they have masonic functions going on the tour schedule will be altered, so you raise an excellent point that its always best to check re: tours.

  2. Pingback: Photo of the day: Freemasons Hall | The Ineffable and Unutterable Musings Of A Mad Man

  3. The Rambling Man (aka The Night Hawk Photographer)
    February 14, 2013

    I wandered past here back in autumn and got a great photo of the exterior against a really blue sky, you can see here (and feel free to use if you like!) http://wp.me/p36Fnk-8i

    • The Rambling Man (aka The Night Hawk Photographer)
      February 14, 2013

      Also forgot to say – thanks for the inside shots and the history!

  4. philandre
    March 3, 2013

    Magnificent. What a remarkable building, and in such brilliant condition with everything from its early days looking so intact. This is a website I shall return to. Glad you like “In search of unusual destinations”, by the way.

  5. Pingback: Secrets of Freemasons Revealed… | Hidden Agendas

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