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Great Queen Street is a street in the West End of central London in England. It is a continuation of Long Acre from Drury Lane to Kingsway. It runs from 1 to 44 along the north side, east to west, and 45 to about 80 along the south side, west to east. The street straddles and connects the Covent Garden and Holborn districts and is in the London Borough of Camden. It is numbered B402.
The West End of London refers to a distinct region of Central London, west of the City of London and north of the River Thames, in which many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues, including West End theatres, are concentrated.
Central London is the innermost part of London, in the United Kingdom, spanning several boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of central London for statistics, urban planning and local government. Its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally, nationally and internationally significant organisations and facilities.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
The street was called "Queen Street" from around 1605–9, and "Great Queen Street" from around 1670.
In 1646 William Newton was given permission to build fourteen large houses, each with a forty-foot frontage, on the south side of the street. Although he did not build all the houses himself, selling on some the plots, they were constructed to a uniform design, in a classical style, with Ionic pilasters rising through two storeys from the first floor to the eaves.The regular design of the houses proved influential. According to John Summerson they "laid down the canon which put an end to gabled individualism, and provided a discipline for London's streets which was to endure for two hundred years."
The Ionic order forms one of the three classical orders of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian. There are two lesser orders: the Tuscan, and the rich variant of Corinthian called the composite order, both added by 16th-century Italian architectural writers, based on Roman practice. Of the three canonic orders, the Ionic order has the narrowest columns.
A pilaster is an architectural element in classical architecture used to give the appearance of a supporting column and to articulate an extent of wall, with only an ornamental function. It consists of a flat surface raised from the main wall surface, usually treated as though it were a column, with a capital at the top, plinth (base) at the bottom, and the various other column elements. In contrast to a pilaster, an engaged column or buttress can support the structure of a wall and roof above.
Sir John Newenham Summerson was one of the leading British architectural historians of the 20th century.
In 1710, the Great Queen Street Academy was founded here with Godfrey Kneller as its first governor.
Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1st Baronet, was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was court painter to English and British monarchs from Charles II to George I. His major works include The Chinese Convert ; a series of four portraits of Isaac Newton painted at various junctures of the latter's life; a series of ten reigning European monarchs, including King Louis XIV of France; over 40 "kit-cat portraits" of members of the Kit-Cat Club; and ten "beauties" of the court of William III, to match a similar series of ten of Charles II's mistresses painted by Kneller's predecessor as court painter, Sir Peter Lely.
Roughly half of the south side is occupied by Freemasons' Hall, the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England. The first English Grand Lodge was founded in 1717, which explains the dates on the top of the current building. Their first buildings on this site were replaced in 1860 by the architect Frederick Pepys Cockerell. However, this is the third Freemasons' Hall, which was built by international subscriptions in 1927–33 as a Masonic Peace Memorial after the Great War. It is a grade II listed building, and the only Art Deco building in London that is unaltered and still used for its original purpose. There are 29 meeting rooms and the 1,000 seat Grand Temple, which, with the Library and Museum are open to the public with hourly guided tours.
Freemasons' Hall in London is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England, as well as being a meeting place for many Masonic Lodges in the London area. It is located in Great Queen Street between Holborn and Covent Garden and has been a Masonic meeting place since 1775. There have been three Masonic buildings on the site, with the current incarnation being opened in 1933..
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing Masonic lodge for the majority of freemasons in England, Wales and the Commonwealth of Nations. Claiming descent from the Masonic grand lodge formed 24 June 1717 at the Goose & Gridiron Tavern in London, it is considered to be the oldest Masonic Grand Lodge in the world. Together with the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, they are often referred to by their members as "the home Grand Lodges" or "the Home Constitutions".
Frederick Pepys Cockerell was a British architect. He was the second son of Charles Robert Cockerell, also an architect, whose favour for French architecture and sculpture in architecture was a major influence on Frederick.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is also located in Freemasons' Hall. The MCF comprises four former charities: The Freemasons' Grand Charity, a grant-making charity, the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI), which operated 17 care homes for Freemasons and their dependents, the Royal Masonic Trust for Boys and Girls, which provided education for the children of Freemasons; and the Masonic Samaritan Fund, providing medical care and support. The MCF took over the activities of the four charities in 2016.
In 1775 the Freemasons' Tavern stood at 61–65, now the hotel and "New Connaught Rooms". Like the original Tavern, the hotel is used by the public as well as by Freemasons for their receptions and dinners: the "New Connaught Rooms" are frequently used for exhibitions, business meetings and award ceremonies. There are conflicting stories about the founding in 1863 of the Football Association to set down the rules of the game. The existing pub "The Freemasons Arms" on Long Acre is sometimes said to be the site of this event, but other sources say it was the "Freemason’s Tavern" where the New Connaught Rooms now stand.
The Freemasons' Tavern was established in 1775 at 61-65 Great Queen Street in the West End of London. It served as a meeting place for a variety of notable organisations from the eighteenth century until it was demolished to make way for the Connaught Hotel in 1909.
The Football Association (FA) is the governing body of association football in England and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.
There is a pub called "The Prince of Wales" at 45 Great Queen Street, presumably named after the future George IV who was the Grand Master of the Freemasons in 1809.
The north side of the road is also partly occupied by Masonic regalia shops, Masonic charities and administrative offices. At numbers 19–21 is the premises of the regalia manufacturer Toye, Kenning & Spencer, which has been located at this address since acquiring the rival manufacturer George Kenning in 1956. At 23 is another shop where Masonic regalia is sold. At 30–31 is the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, a charity that provides for the education of orphaned children of Masons.
At 72 is the Kingsway Hall Hotel.
At 31 Great Queen Street lived James Basire, a member of the Society of Antiquaries who took on William Blake as an apprentice in 1772. Between 1837 and 1840, the painter Richard Dadd lived in Great Queen Street while studying at the Royal Academy. Shanks and Co. ran their well-known coachbuilding business at 70–71 Great Queen Street from the 1850s, becoming F & R Shanks in 1860. The business moved out of Great Queen Street around 1905. The Shanks coachworks was located in 'New Yard'; this land was sold to the Freemasons around 1920 to build the Freemasons' Hall.
From 1882 to 1959 the Novelty Theatre (later renamed the Great Queen Street Theatre and the Kingsway Theatre) was on Great Queen Street.
At 56–58 lived James Boswell, lawyer, diarist and author.
Opposite Freemason's Hall was one of the "feature sites" for the Camden bench when it was first introduced.
Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow, and Master Mason. The candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The degrees are part allegorical morality play and part lecture. Three degrees are offered by Craft Freemasonry, and members of any of these degrees are known as Freemasons or Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are usually administered by their own bodies.
A Masonic lodge, often termed a private lodge or constituent lodge, is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. It is also commonly used as a term for a building in which such a unit meets. Every new lodge must be warranted or chartered by a Grand Lodge, but is subject to its direction only in enforcing the published constitution of the jurisdiction. By exception the three surviving lodges that formed the world's first known grand lodge in London have the unique privilege to operate as time immemorial, i.e., without such warrant; only one other lodge operates without a warrant – the Grand Stewards' Lodge in London, although it is not also entitled to the "time immemorial" title. A Freemason is generally entitled to visit any lodge in any jurisdiction in amity with his own. In some jurisdictions this privilege is restricted to Master Masons. He is first usually required to check, and certify, the regularity of the relationship of the Lodge – and be able to satisfy that Lodge of his regularity of membership. Freemasons gather together as a Lodge to work the three basic Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason.
Covent Garden is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St Martin's Lane and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit-and-vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and with the Royal Opera House, which itself may be referred to as "Covent Garden". The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal's Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the historical buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the London Transport Museum and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
William Preston was a Scottish author, editor and lecturer, born in Edinburgh. After attending school and college he became secretary to the linguist Thomas Ruddiman, who became his guardian on the death of his father. On the death of Thomas, Preston became a printer for Walter Ruddiman, Thomas' brother. In 1760 he moved to London and started a distinguished career with the printer William Strahan. He became a Freemason, instituting a system of lectures of instruction, and publishing Illustrations of Masonry, which ran to several editions. It was under Preston that the Lodge of Antiquity seceded from the Moderns Grand Lodge to become "The Grand Lodge of All England South of the River Trent" for ten years. He died on 1 April 1818, after a long illness, and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.
William Wilkins was an English architect, classical scholar and archaeologist. He designed the National Gallery and University College London, and buildings for several Cambridge colleges.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland is the second most senior Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the world, and the oldest in continuous existence. Since no specific record of its foundation exists, 1725 is the year celebrated in Grand Lodge anniversaries, as the oldest reference to Grand Lodge of Ireland comes from the Dublin Weekly Journal of 26 June 1725. This describes a meeting of the Grand Lodge to install the new Grand Master, The 1st Earl of Rosse, on 24 June. The Grand Lodge has regular Masonic jurisdiction over 13 Provincial Grand Lodges covering all the Freemasons of the island of Ireland, and another 11 provinces worldwide.
The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, officially the The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania and Masonic Jurisdictions Thereunto Belonging, is the premier masonic organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Grand Lodge claims to be the oldest in the United States, and the third oldest in the world after England and Ireland, having been originally established as the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1731. This claim is disputed by both the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
The Royal Masonic School for Boys was an independent school for boys in England.
Phoenix Lodge No. 94 is a Craft Lodge in Freemasonry under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England. Members of Phoenix Lodge built the Freemasons' Hall in Queen Street East, Sunderland, in 1785; it is considered to be the oldest purpose-built Masonic Temple in the world that has been in continuous use from its foundation and is still used as such today. The Hall is a Grade I listed building. Phoenix is also the oldest Lodge in the city of Sunderland and the second oldest in the Province of Durham.
The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) cares for older Freemasons and their families as well as some people in the community. Founded in 1842 and they provide a home for over 1,000 people across England and Wales, while also providing non-residential support services.
A Masonic Temple or Masonic Hall is, within Freemasonry, the room or edifice where a Masonic Lodge meets. Masonic Temple may also refer to an abstract spiritual goal and the conceptual ritualistic space of a meeting.
The current Indianapolis Masonic Temple, also known as Indiana Freemasons Hall, is a historic Masonic Temple located at Indianapolis, Indiana. Construction was begun in 1908, and the building was dedicated in May 1909. It is an eight-story, Classical Revival style cubic form building faced in Indiana limestone. The building features rows of engaged Ionic order columns. It was jointly financed by the Indianapolis Masonic Temple Association and the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Indiana, and was designed by the distinguished Indianapolis architectural firm of Rubush and Hunter.
The Kent Museum of Freemasonry, is a museum in St Peters Place, Canterbury, Kent with a rare collection of masonic exhibits of national and international importance.
Freemasonry in Scotland in Lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland comprises the Scottish Masonic Constitution as regular Masonic jurisdiction for the majority of freemasons in Scotland. There are also Lodges operating under the Scottish Masonic Constitution in countries outside of Scotland. Many of these are countries linked to Scotland and the United Kingdom through the Commonwealth of Nations and prior colonies and other settlements of the British Empire although there are several lodges in countries such as Lebanon, Belgium, Chile and Peru, which do not have such connections.
Mark Masons' Hall in London is the headquarters of The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England and Wales, which also controls the Royal Ark Mariner degree. It is located in 86 St James's Street in the central London district of St James's, opposite St James's Palace. While Freemasons' Hall is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England, Mark Masons' Hall is the home of several other important appendant orders of Freemasonry in England and Wales.
Museum of Freemasonry, based at Freemasons’ Hall, London, is a fully accredited museum since 2014, with a designated outstanding collection of national importance since 2007 and registered charitable trust since 1996. The facility encompasses a museum, library, and archive.