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Freemasonry in Liverpool

For over one hundred years the City of Liverpool has had citizens actively involved in Freemasonry, and many Masonic and non-Masonic charities have benefited from donations made by the brethren of the lodges.  Passing Hope Street Masonic Hall recently I realised that whilst writing about the many buildings we all know in the city I had omitted to mention, Liverpool Masonic Hall. Much more detail can be found on the links to Masonic websites, posted below this article, my intention here is to give but a brief overview.  Please do click on the links as I feel sure that you will find the information therin to be of interest.

So what is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies, it is emphatically not a religion. Membership of the brotherhood requires a belief in God and its principles are common to many of the world's great religions.  From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been involved in charitable activities, and since its inception it has provided support for many widows and orphans of Freemasons as well as others in the community. All monies raised for charity are drawn from amongst Freemasons, their families and friends. Freemasonry is not a secret society. members are perfectly free to acknowledge their membership and will do so in answer to any reasonable enquiry. There is no secret about the aims and principles of the Order.

The Masonic Hall Hope Street Liverpool

One Hundred years ago the Lodges of Liverpool met in various locations around Liverpool, the Masonic leaders at the time realised that a central meeting place for Liverpool freemasons needed to be established and thus the Masonic Hall in hope street came into being. Various locations were looked at including premises in Colquitt Street and Seel Street as well as the site of the Newington Chapel in Renshaw Street.

Liverpool’s Masonic Hall is in the Province of West Lancashire, the province is not only the largest of the Provinces ranged under the banner of the United Grand Lodge of England, it also has claims to be the birthplace of English Freemasonry. The initiation of Elias Ashmole in Warrington in Lancashire on 16th October 1646 is the earliest recorded initiation into English Freemasonry. Liverpool is the headquarters of the Province and the greatest concentration of lodges.
The House in the Garden

The building in Hope Street, referred to as  “The house in the garden” was purchased on the 27th April 1857. It was April 23rd 1858 that the committee met for the first time to discuss the possibility of converting the property for the purposes of Freemasonry. As a result on October 8th 1858 to the delight of the membership, the Hall was declared open.

Etching of the new Masonic Hall 

It was not until 1872 that plans were submitted to demolish the house and replace it with a Masonic Hall, thus on 2nd November 1872 the Cornerstone was laid in full Masonic honours by the Right Hon, Lord Skelmersdale, Past Grand Warden of England and Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Western Division of Lancashire. The work on the building was completed by 1874, by which time Freemasonry had become so popular that the decision was made to extend the building. A strip of land adjoining the hall was purchased and the hall was extended with the old entrance being bricked up and a new entrance formed. Due to delays caused by the Great War it was not until 1932 that the building we know today was completed. The building celebrated its Centenary in 1958 and its 150 year celebration in 2008.

The Masonic Hall Hope Street

The vast majority of the lodges meet at the Masonic Hall in Hope Street (the administrative centre of Freemasonry in the Province of West Lancashire). But other Groups have met at such diverse venues as the Britannia Adelphi Hotel, the Liverpool Racquet Club and Staff House at the University of Liverpool Between them, these Liverpool Groups comprised a cosmopolitan array of different lodges with much fascinating heritage, reflecting the history and development of the city. Some lodges are very old; there are several over two hundred years of age and one over two hundred and fifty, but many were founded since the second world war, the most recent in 1979. Most lodges meet in the evening during the week but there is one lodge which met at lunch time and a few met on Saturdays.

For more information about Freemasonry in Liverpool click on the links below.
 Liverpool Picturebook Home


Liverpool Central Library
Liverpool Records Office Archives
United Grand Lodge id England

By Robert F Edwards
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