The exact origins of the Freemasons are lost to history. Although the organization was first formalized in England in 1717 when the members of four Lodges met at Goose & Gridiron Tavern in London and founded the first Grand Lodge of London. Today the United Grand Lodge of England is considered to be the descent of this Masonic grand lodge.

Visiting the Freemason's Hall in London should be part of anyone's essential itinerary for London (there is a seemingly endless number of things to see and do in London!). It is arguably one of the things one should be doing in London on a first-time visit.

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Who Are The Freemasons?

Who are the Freemasons? While they are a secretive organization and much is unknown, according to the Masons of California they are the world's first and largest fraternal organization. They are guided by the belief that everyone has a responsibility to make the world a better place.

They claim to be one of the oldest secular social and charitable organizations in the world. They trace their origins back to the medieval stonemasons that built the castles and cathedrals of Europe.

There are four important values that guide the Freemasons:

Integrity

Friendship

Respect

Charity

Membership: Open To All Men Over The Age of 18 (Of any Background)

Donated: £51.1 Million ($70 million) In 2020 In England

Today there are over 3 million Freemasons in the world (of which some 1.1 million live in North America). According to the Freemasons of Ohio:

"Freemasonry unites men of good character who, though of different religious, ethnic or social backgrounds, share a belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind."

The United Grand Lodge Of England

The Grand Lodge here is the governing Masonic lodge for the majority of the Freemasons in England and Wales. Together with the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, they are called the "home Grand Lodges" or the "Home Constitutions."

Funding: 24 June 1717 (Of The First Grand Lodge)

Oldest: The Oldest Masonic Grand Lodge In The World (By Descent From The One Formed in 1717)

United Grand Lodge of England: The Home of Freemasonry in England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man

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Freemasons' Hall In London

The headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of English is the Freemasons' Hall in London. It is located on Great Queen Street between Holborn and Covent Garden and has been a Masonic place of meeting since 1775.

Today parts of the building are open to the public daily and is often used as a film and television location.

The building seen there today is the third on the site and was built between 1927 and 1933 in the art deco style. It was also built as a memorial to the 3,225 Freemasons who died in World War 1.

Built: Between 1927 and 1933

Original Name: Masonic Peace Memorial (Changed With the Outbreak of World War in 1939)

Today it is one of the few original Art Deco masterpieces still used for its original intended purpose. The hall is even open for hire if one would like to use it!

There is even a museum about Freemasonry there established in 1838 - and located at the Freemason's Hall since 1933. The museum exhibits an extraordinary array of artifacts - many almost 300 years old.

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Freemason's Hall Tours

For those who are curious about what lies behind the doors of the most iconic Freemason's Hall, they can find out! The Freemason's Hall is open to the public from Monday to Saturday with guided tours. The tours include the Freemason's Hall, the Museum of Freemasonry, and the Grand Temple.

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During the tour one will learn about the history of Freemasonry from its more obscure beginning to up to the first Grand Lodge in 1717.

The guide will take one through the corridors and ceremonial areas of the Freemason's Hall all the way to the Grand Temple. In the Grand Temple, visitors can see the lavish gilt thrones, the brightly colored mosaic ceiling, the large bronze doors, and the stunning pipe organ.

Bronze Doors: Each Measures 12 Feet by 4 Feet and Weighs 1.25 Tonnes

When: Public Tours Resume In the Spring of 2022

Group Tours: Available On Request and can Be booked via email

As of the time of writing, there are no schedules or pricing for public tours available on their website.

Group Tours:

The cost for groups of up to 25 people is £250 or £300 if the tour is to be held outside of normal work hours. For groups of up to 50 people, the tour costs £500 or £550 if outside of normal working hours.

Normal Working Hours: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Cost For Up To 25 People: £300 ($406) - Within Working Hours

Cost For Up To 50 People: £500 ($678) - Within Working Hours

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