ISSUE 1, April 2002

Editorial
MQ Interview: HRH the Duke of Kent
Grand Lodge: Quarterly Communication
Masonic Charities
Grand Lodge: General News
Architecture: Freemasons' Hall: Art Deco in the Shadow of Covent Garden
Gardener's Diary: Springing into Action
Book Reviews

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Adjacent to the Grand Temple is a treasure house within a treasure: the Library and Museum of Freemasonry. Started in 1837 as the Grand Lodge Library and Museum, by the time the present building was planned the collections and reputation of the Library and Museum were such that there was no question of not including purpose-built accommodation for them. Two large, galleried chambers were provided to house the book and museum collections, with a large reading room now converted into a permanent exhibition space.
      Grand Lodge, having been in Great Queen Street since 1775, has probably the most complete archives of any organisation in the UK. Add to that a library of 47,000 volumes and a museum collection covering not only historic Masonic regalia but glass, porcelain, plate, furniture and paintings - indeed anything that has had a Masonic use, or whose maker included Masonic symbols in its design - and you have a treasure trove that is a delight to both the eye and the mind.
      As the Masonic Peace Memorial - the name reverted to Freemasons' Hall at the outbreak of the Second World War - there was a determination that excellence and quality should be the key. That determination shines throughout the building, not least in the attention to small details in the less important rooms. The central courtyard provides light to the office areas. To maximise the natural light, the five-storey walls are covered in glazed white brick, broken by windows.
      To avoid a cold, stark outlook, each facade is articulated by bands of light-blue glazed bricks edged with dusk blue - a detail rarely seen by visitors to the building, but a measure of the thought and care that went into its design. Open a magnificent mahogany door and you would expect to enter a grand room, but in some cases you will find a narrow space holding an electrical switchboard, or simply an empty space, the door having been placed there to balance another feature in the area.

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