The premier Grand Lodge announces plans to build a central Hall and begins registering all of its members to raise funds.
A site is acquired in Great Queen Street, London, consisting of a tavern house fronting the street with a garden behind leading to a second house. Thomas Sandby, RA, wins the architect’s competition for the Hall. His Grand Hall is built over the garden, linking the two houses.
The new Freemasons’ Hall is dedicated on 23 May. In addition to Masonic events, it becomes an important venue in London social life for concerts, balls, literary evenings and meetings of learned and charitable societies.
Sir John Soane becomes Grand Superintendent of Works, responsible for the Hall. In the 1820s he carries out extensive remodelling of the Hall, including the kitchens and a meeting room, all sadly now lost.
1862 – 1869
Sandby’s original Hall is greatly extended to the east to designs by Frederick Pepys Cockerell, in a severely classical style. Part of this façade still exists, now fronting the Connaught Rooms.
The Masonic Million Memorial Fund is set up to rebuild Freemasons’ Hall as a memorial to the 3,000 members who died on active service in the Great War.
An international architect’s competition is held. The winning design by the partnership of H. V. Ashley and Winton Newman is based on a massive steel framework.
On 8 August some 7,250 Brethren had lunch with the Most Worshipful The Grand Master at Olympia, still the largest ever catered meal served in Europe. At the end of lunch it is announced that more than £825,000 has been raised for the building fund.
On 14 July over 6,000 Brethren at the Royal Albert Hall watch the Grand Master lay the foundation stone for the new building by means of an electrical relay, whilst a dummy stone is laid at the meeting the real stone is lowered into place on the corner of Great Queen Street.
1927 – 1933
Work progresses on the new building, starting with the tower at the west end and gradually spreading westwards with the gradual demolition of the old Hall.
On 19 July 5,353 Brethren fill the new Freemasons’ Hall and the building is dedicated to Masonic service by the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Connaught, KG.
The Hall becomes fully open to the public and sees a return to the original ethos of being both a Masonic centre and available for non-Masonic events. In a new departure, it becomes a popular location for feature film and television dramas.
The storage and filing areas of the lower ground floor are converted into modern offices in which the four national Masonic Charities are co-located.