On a dry chilly day, members of Middlesex Light Blues Club met up in the Freemasons Hall Cafe\Bar at about 9.30 am. After fuelling up on tea and coffee, we proceeded upstairs to the entrance of the new exhibition which is part of the Museum of Freemasonry. Our guide gave us a broad introduction to how the union of Grand Lodges where founded and a variety of masonic workings and regalia that exist around the world today.
We then moved onto the vestibule outside of the Grand Temple, where the history of the current building was talked about.
The current building, the third on the site, was built between 1927-1933 in the Art Deco style, as a memorial to the 3,225 Freemasons who died in World War I. It is a Grade II* listed building, both internally and externally.
Many of the Light Blues members who joined the tour found their Hall Stone Lodge names inscribed on the walls and parchments which was a wonderful reminder of how many Middlesex Lodges are Hall Stone Lodges. The War Memorial with the names of Freemasons killed in World War I and World War II is a very special part of the tour.
Standing outside the main doors of the Grand Temple, members were awestruck by a pair of bronze doors. Twelve feet high, four feet wide and illustrated with reliefs depicting the life of King Solomon and the building of the Temple.
Each door weighs a staggering one and a quarter tons, but they are balanced so finely you can push them open with a single finger – something our members tried.
These incredible doors open onto the crowning glory, the Grand Temple: a spectacular chamber 123 feet long, 90 feet wide, 62 feet high and capable of seating over 1,700.
On entering the Grand Temple, the members were struck by the centrepiece of Freemasons Hall. The ceiling cove is of Mosaic work and in addition to figures and symbols from Masonic ritual includes, in the corner, figures representing the four cardinal virtues – Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice – and the Arms of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (second youngest son of Queen Victoria) Grand Master 1901–1939, at whose suggestion the Masonic Peace Memorial was built.
A large pipe organ, built by leading organ builders Henry Willis & Sons, was installed in 1933. Some 80 years later it was restored by Harrison and Harrison of Durham. There are over 2200 pipes in this organ making it one of the more special in existence.
All members thoroughly enjoyed themselves, finding the tour most informative and worthwhile. Among the members, we have candidates waiting to be initiated, Fellowcrafts, Master Masons, Worshipful Masters, and Provincial Ranked members of Middlesex, including wives and family of members.