I have been to … the Grecian Masonic Temple in the former Great Eastern Hotel, London

Last weekend Sue and I were able to visit the Grecian Masonic Temple in the former Great Eastern Hotel, London, thanks to the OPEN HOUSE LONDON event. This temple was built in 1912 and cost £50,000 … which is the equivalent of £4,000,000 in today’s money! This high cost was no doubt due to the use of twelve different types of marble to create the floor, the columns, and to line walls.

The Great Eastern Hotel flourished during the age of steam railways, but over the years it gradually became run down and the temple was taken out of use. It is reputed to have been ‘re-discovered’ when the old hotel was bought by designer Terence Conran for conversion into a boutique hotel. During the restoration the building engineers are supposed to have noticed several discrepancies when they compared the architectural plans of the original hotel and the rooms that they could enter. When they removed a wall that was not on the original plans they discovered a wood-panelled antechamber containing a studded double door … and when they opened the door they ‘discovered’ this Masonic temple.

It is a great story, but there are some doubts about its accuracy.


The Worshipful Master’s, the Senior Warden’s, and the Junior Warden’s chairs


Details from the wall frieze


The ceiling, with its plasterwork representations of the Square and Compasses and its marble lampshades


The central light with its five-pointed star and ladder going up to Heaven


The temple is no longer used for Masonic meetings, but is available for hire for functions.
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4 Comments on “I have been to … the Grecian Masonic Temple in the former Great Eastern Hotel, London”

  1. guy says:

    What a fantastic Temple and it cries out to be used again for regular meetings. V pleasing to see that it is open to the public so dispelling the secrecy and conspiracy theorists.

    My lodge is fortunate to meet in the Windsor masonic hall. The building dates from 1725 and it was reputedly designed by Christopher Wren as a school. It was converted into a masonic hall in 1862. It is I think one of the most attractive in Berkshire and it is also regularly open to the public. Regretfully not quite so opulent as your photos.

    regards,
    Guy

  2. Guy,

    I doubt that this temple will ever return to Masonic use as I understand that the fee to hire it is £1500 … per hour!

    The venue that your lodge uses sounds wonderful … and at least it is being used for the purpose for which it was bought. My lodge meets in a Masonic centre that began life as a late Victorian residential building, but most of the original features were removed back in the 1970s. As a result it is reasonably functional but not very pretty.

    All the best,

    Bob

  3. I have attended two meetings there in the past.

    Whilst the temple is impressive I can also state that I had the worst two masonic meals there that I have ever been served in 31 years in the Craft.

    I dread to think of the cost of the meals there now after reading the hire charge!

    I don't buy the Conran discovey story at all. Everyone knew it was there.

    Regards,

    Tone

  4. Robertpeel999 (Tone),

    Isn't it always like that. A magnificent venue … followed by poor food!

    As far as I know the Temple is no longer used for Masonic meetings, and there was no evidence that it is likely to be in the future. The Egyptian Temple is now used as a gym and the Grecian Temple has been used for weddings and receptions.

    The 'story' about the whole thing being 'lost' seems to me to be the sort of thing that a PR man would think up … and I have met quite a few people who have attended meetings there during the time it was supposed to have been 'lost'.

    All the best,

    Bob


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