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Exhibition – The Hall in the Garden: A History of Freemasons’ Hall
July 13, 2006 - October 20, 2006
The history of one of the most recognisable and intriguing buildings in the centre of London and its links and associations with its local area will be revealed by a new exhibition opening in July 2006. The Hall in the Garden exhibition at the Library and Museum will trace the 230-year history of the Freemasons’ Hall site. As part of the exhibition, the Library and Museum will run free, behind-the-scenes tours, taking visitors into rarely seen areas of the remarkable building.
The exhibition examines the involvement of architects such as Sir John Soane, the original selection of the Covent Garden site, the different halls which have occupied the site, the fire which destroyed the Hall in 1883 and the current Art Deco masterpiece.
Freemasons’ Hall has been the centre of English Freemasonry for 230 years. It is the meeting place for over 1000 Masonic lodges and is the headquarters of the United Grand of Lodge of England, the oldest Grand Lodge in the world. From its earliest history, the Hall was used as a meeting place for other, non-masonic, organisations including the anti-slavery movement, numerous charities and musical groups. The Hall is now known to greater audiences than ever as a location for television and film productions, most recently playing the part of MI5 headquarters in BBC TV’s ‘Spooks’.
In the 1860s the Freemasons’ Hall site was extensively redeveloped by Frederick Pepys Cockerell as shown here in an illustration from The Builder in 1866 to distinguish between the masonic areas of the building and the Freemasons’ Tavern.