By Kieran Hadfield
Freemasons are throwing open the doors of their famous headquarters in London’s Covent Garden this Saturday as part of Open House London. Freemasons’ Hall is renowned as one of the finest Art Deco buildings in London and was built as a tribute to Freemasons who died in World War One.
For the first time at Freemasons’ Hall, visitors will be able to experience an immersion in WW1 with a camp scene, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and Scottish Horse Yeomanry. The public will be able to walk around medical, mess and officers tents and view a 1917 Royal Ruby motorcycle and Anglia Ambulance Service used during the Great War.
This year the visitors will find many new attractions to enjoy with their families and friends. Visitors can follow a children’s trail and identify beautiful architecture throughout the building, including pictures within stunning stained glass windows. Children also have the opportunity to take home Bright Brick figures of a dragon, throne and unicorn, as well as an ornate model of Freemasons’ Hall itself.
During the weekend, visitors will also find Freemasons in regalia in the magnificent Grand Temple to answer any questions the public have about Freemasonry and also watch an interesting short film about Freemasonry. The Order of Women Freemasons will also be there to talk to visitors about female Freemasonry in the stunning vestibules.
Last year, Freemasons’ Hall welcomed nearly 9,000 visitors into the venue, making it the second most popular attraction that weekend after the Foreign Office. This year, the building has been made Covid Safe with temperature checks and hand sanitizing units, Track and Trace QR codes and a one way system. There is no need to pre-book but visitors will be limited to no more than 30 per room over the weekend. Children will also get a free TLC teddy bear with every children’s face mask purchased.
Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive, said: “Freemasons’ Hall was built as a peace memorial to the 3,000 Freemasons who died in WW1, so this year we decided to make a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for their country.
“We are also excited to re-open the building for visitors but we are facing difficult times so we have made the building Covid Safe to protect our members and visitors to ensure that everyone will feel safe inside Freemasons’ Hall. Anyone who is unable to visit in person can view our new online tour film”.
The Museum of Freemasonry will be open, displaying one of the world’s largest collections associated with Freemasonry, including Winston Churchill’s apron and the large throne made for the future King George IV, who was Grand Master from 1790-1813.
Organ performances will also entertain the visitors during the weekend. They will have the chance to listen to organ performances on Saturday and Sunday with five different organists playing a variety of songs on our magnificent pipe organ. The organ was constructed by famed British organ builders Willis in 1933 and was lovingly restored in 2015.
For those who prefer stay at home, Freemasons’ Hall will have talks online for people to watch and will be able to view a new tour film and behind the scenes footage of our Lodge Rooms.
Days: 19 and 20 September
Hours: 10:00am – 5:30pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Local: Freemasons Hall
Address: 60 Great Queen St, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5AZ