London Freemasonry

The Arms of Metropolitan Grand Lodge

Freemasons’ Lodges have been meeting in London since, at least, the late 1600s. In fact Elias Ashmole (who had recorded his own Initiation on the 6th Oct 1646) recorded in his diary the receipt of a summons on the 10th Mar 1682 for a meeting to take place on the 11th, which he duly attended at Masons Hall London this was followed by a meal at the Halfe Moone Taverne in Cheapeside .

On 24th June 1717, four of these London Lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron alehouse in St Paul’s Churchyard and took the decision to form the Grand Lodge of the Cities of London and Westminster, thereby establishing the first Masonic Grand Lodge.

 Initially, the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge was solely limited to Lodges meeting in the London area, specifically an area within 10 miles of Charing Cross. Within a few years, Lodges outside London were also acknowledging the authority of Grand Lodge. However, it was the members of London Lodges who, attending Grand Lodge meetings in greatest numbers, played such a prominent role in its affairs.

 Freemasonry expanded across England and Wales and developed an administrative structure through Provinces (essentially the historic county shires). London Freemasonry remained outside the Provincial structure and was administered by the Grand Secretary’s office. Between 1851 and 1911 the population within the 10-mile radius increased from 2.5 million to over 7 million and Freemasonry had to deal with this rapid growth. Many new London Lodges were formed. A larger building was required and the modern Freemasons’ Hall was built in Great Queen Street as a memorial to those who Freemasons who had died in the First World War. It is the home of Freemasonry in England and Wales (see www.ugle.org.uk). In 1971 the 10-mile radius was reduced to five miles; Lodges in the band between five and 10 miles opted either to remain a London Lodge or transfer to the relevant Province.

In 1767-8 a plan to establish a Province of London was considered but rejected after objections were raised by London Lodges and a review in 1913-14 included the proposal to create 10 Metropolitan Grand Lodges: that plan was shelved when war broke out in 1914. Despite subsequent discussions about the administration of London Lodges by the Grand Secretary’s office it was only in the late 1990s that the Grand Master (HRH Duke of Kent) set up a formal review.

 The outcome was the formation of Metropolitan Grand Lodge (MetGL) on 1 October 2003, as an independent administrative body under a Metropolitan Grand Master. It supports Freemasonry in London in a similar way that the various Provincial Grand Lodges support Lodges elsewhere in England and Wales. Metropolitan Grand Lodge has over 1,400 constituent Lodges comprising nearly 40,000 members; the offices are situated in Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London which is also the home of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Further information about Freemasonry in London can be found on the MetGL website, it is listed on our Links page.

6 thoughts on “London Freemasonry

  1. George Soultatos Jr. 32

    Dear Bro. I am going on my 30th year as a Mason…25th as a 32nd & Shriner. I will be visiting England for my first time Dec15-23. The 15 & 16 I will be in Bristol and on 17-23 I will in London at the Holiday Inn, May Fair Hotel, Berkley St. I will be on a tight schedule…Phantom of the Opera & other musicals; Stonehenge and others. It would be a blessing if I got to meet a Brother. Ive came across others in Germany, Russia, Israel, etc. I’m really looking forward to my trip. I love to study philosophy. Mainly, Dostoevsky. I also enjoy Wm. Golding: Locke, Hobbes, Orwell etc. God Bless, George Soultatos Jr. 32

    Reply
    1. Mike Martin Post author

      Dear George,

      If you can try to schedule in a visit to Freemasons’ Hall, you won’t be disappointed and I would be happy to greet you, say hello and take you to the Library & Museum where you will also be able to join a tour.

      The address is Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ.

      Reply
  2. Margaret Carter

    I am a single part time working mum with 2 children aged 17 and 12 years old, My dad died August 2014, just got out of an abuse relationship and things have not been the same there is so much sadness in this house. I was wondering if i can go on your charity list if there are any free holidays cause right now i can not afford anything. I just want us to be happy. Thank you Margaret Carter

    Reply
    1. Mike Martin Post author

      Hi there.
      I am afraid that you actually need a link to a Freemason to be able to request assistance on a personal level. Otherwise our charitable giving is actually to registered charities or of our own time to the charities that we volunteer for.

      Reply
  3. Moe Abugabal

    Considering Masonry

    Greetings,

    for years i’ve had interest in mansory i’m unaware of what credentials needed to join; from past research a brother of believe of a supreme being.

    Moe

    Reply
    1. Mike Martin Post author

      Hi Moe,
      It is detailed on our page “Do you Want to be a Mason” but in brief.

      The official minimum requirements are that you must be a man aged 21 or over who believes in God (by whatever name) and who is considered to be an upright, moral person. You must not be trying to join Freemasonry more mercenary reasons and you must be able to commit the time to attend meetings as well as being able to easily afford the costs of being a Freemason.

      If you meet those criteria you then need to find a Freemason who has known you for long enough to know that the above is true and who would be willing to Propose you to his Lodge.

      Reply

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