Friday, March 3, 2023

‘Huge investment preserves venerable Masonic hall’

Historic England photo
The southeast of the lodge room of Phoenix Hall, Sunderland.

In England, a massive cash infusion preserves a Masonic hall that has been in use almost 240 years.

Sunderland Echo reported last Friday on the success to keep one of that city’s two oldest buildings intact and operational for today and tomorrow thanks to a preservation grant. Click here for the story and to see a video montage of the dazzling interior.

Historic England photo
Facade of the building on Queen Street East.

This isn’t any old lodge building. Constructed in 1784-85, Phoenix Hall, on Queen Street East, actually is England’s oldest building made for, and still in, Masonic use. It is home to Phoenix Lodge 94 and a few other groups (and not to be confused with Wearside Masonic Temple, also in Sunderland).

While I’ve never been there, I have followed news of the hall for nearly twenty years, ever since I first met Trevor Stewart on his Prestonian Lecture tour of 2004. He presented me this framed rendering of Phoenix Hall:

If I remember right, Trevor was raising funds to help save the historic site.

Click here for a BBC story from last April. And here for some background from Historic England. 

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