Blue Plaque to Commemorate History of Freemasonry within Cardiff

A Blue Plaque has been unveiled on Cardiff Masonic Hall in Guildford Crescent to commemorate 263 years of Freemasonry within Cardiff.

Brian Langley (pictured left) is the Chairman of Cardiff Masonic Hall and was invited to join the Provincial Grand Master Gareth Jones OBE (pictured right) in the task of unveiling the Blue Plaque.

The plaque now sits secured proudly above the front doors of Cardiff Masonic Hall for all to see. It has been proudly shown to all those who have recently visited the Hall as part of the CADW Open Doors Heritage Initiative during September.

Original records show Corinthian Lodge No.226, the first Cardiff Lodge, was warranted in August 1754.

Lodges met at the Cardiff Arms Hotel until 1855, when moved to its own premises at 4 Church Street. Again, with the growth in membership, new lodge premises were established in Working Street on 12 January 1877.

In 1893, the United Methodist Church determined to sell their building in Guildford Street and relocate. The premises were originally built in 1863 for the United Methodist Church at an initial cost of £1600 and boasted seating for 800 parishioners.

The architect Mr John Hartland was well known at the time and other Cardiff examples of his work still in existence are Capel Tabernacle Welsh Baptists Church in the Hayes and Bethany Baptists Church in Wharton Street, now incorporated into Howells department store.

Three Masonic Lodges; Glamorgan Lodge 36, Bute Lodge 960 and Tennant Lodge 1992 were at that time meeting above a potato store in Wharton Street, made an offer of £4500 which was accepted. In 1894 The Cardiff Masonic Hall Company was incorporated funded by member’s subscriptions raising the necessary sum plus a further £2300 for alterations and furnishings.

The premises were finally opened to Freemasonry on 26th September 1895 by the Provincial Grand Master Lord Llangattock who presided over its first meeting assisted by officers of Provincial Grand Lodge and distinguished brethren totalling some five hundred.

Our building is based in design on Regency Classical coupled with the ancient Doric architecture of Greece.

In 1904 the building was fitted with Electric Lighting at the expense of the Master of Duke of York Lodge. A suitable illuminated scroll was presented to him in recognition of his gift.

In 1918 and in the following eight years, the directors acquired the cottages to the north of the building. These acquisitions enabled the building of a new temple which was named after the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of that time, Edgar Rutter.

The contribution to the community during those 263 years is immeasurable, and represents a social history of the life and times of an emerging European Capital City from its’ beginnings. The building is available for private hire functions, TV film locations, and regularly holds Open Days for the public to see the wonderful architecture and artefacts.

South Wales Freemasons are celebrating the Tercentenary 300 years of Freemasonry within the United Grand Lodge of England, and are affixing Blue Plaques to many of its’ Masonic Halls across South Wales.