Freemason's Hall, Bristol

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Freemasons Hall, Bristol is a building on Park Street, Bristol. It is a grade II*[1] listed building initially built in 1821. It is now the home of Freemason's in Bristol and is the seat of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Bristol as well as a number of other organsiations and Masonic bodies including the Rite of Baldwyn. It is the home of 38 Craft Lodges, 14 Royal Arch Chapters, and 10 Mark Lodges and is one of the few masonic provinces which enjoy all lodges meeting in the same building.[2] The Bristol Masonic Society also meets there.


The building was initially built as The Philosophical Institution for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art, later becoming a museum.[3][2] The Philosophical Institution was in operation from 1823 to 1871 and during that time merged with the Bristol Library Society, eventually moving site multiple times and becoming what is now Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.[4] In 1871 it was purchased by the Freemasons of Bristol and converted for their use. It was Bristol Blitz during the Second World War and burnt extensively. It was rebuilt after the war and reopened in 1955.

The Building

Built from limestone with a copper-clad roof, Freemason's Hall is sited on the corner of Park Street and St Georges Road in Bristol. The main entrance to the building is elevated behind cast iron railings with a gate and bud finials and is surmounted by an interesting freize depicting a clasical Greek scene by Edward Hodges Baily.[5] This opens into a circular reception area which in turn leads to the lounge and main staircase of the building with access to all floors.

The building contains a members only bar[6], cloakrooms, meeting rooms, three dining rooms, a library and a number of temples and chapter rooms.

Traditionally a building which has been closed to non-members, more recently Freemason's Hall has been opened to the public as part of the Bristol Open Doors programme. This attracted new attention from the local press and was well recevied by curious locals.[7] As an attempt to modernise and attract new members, journalists have been given tours of the building during Open Doors events and the vists filmed along with question and answer style sessions.[8]


  1. "FREEMASONS' HALL AND ATTACHED CAST IRON RAILINGS, Non Civil Parish - 1282205 | Historic England". Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "A Province all of its own: Bristol's Library & Museum of Freemasonry". Freemasonry Today.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Gomme, Andor; Jenner, Michael (2011). An Architectural History of Bristol. Oblong Creative Ltd. p. 247. ISBN 978-0955657658.
  4. Neve, Michael Raymond (1984). Natural philosophy, medicine and the culture of science in provincial England: the cases of Bristol, 1790-1850 (PDF). London: University College London. pp. Chapters 4 and 5.
  5. Crick, Clare (1975). Victorian Buildings in Bristol. Bristol: Redcliffe Press Ltd. p. 1. ISBN 0905459091.
  6. "Freemasons' Hall, Bristol". Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  7. Maggs, Neil (2019-06-23). "What happens inside one of the oldest fraternities in the world". BristolLive. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  8. Maggs, Neil (2019-06-23). "We tried to join one of the most secretive societies in the world". BristolLive. Retrieved 2021-01-16.

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