A blue plaque has been unveiled on Cardiff Masonic Hall in Guildford Crescent to commemorate 263 years of Freemasonry within Cardiff
Brian Langley, the Chairman of Cardiff Masonic Hall, was invited to join the Provincial Grand Master for South Wales Gareth Jones OBE 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 was also proudly shown to all those who recently visited the Hall as part of the CADW Open Doors Heritage Initiative during September 2017.
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 was 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 Baptist Church in the Hayes and Bethany Baptist Church in Wharton Street, now incorporated into Howells department store.
Three Masonic Lodges, Glamorgan Lodge No. 36, Bute Lodge No. 960 and Tennant Lodge No. 1992, who were at that time meeting above a potato store in Wharton Street, made an offer of £4,500 which was accepted. In 1894, the Cardiff Masonic Hall Company was incorporated, funded by member's subscriptions raising the necessary sum plus a further £2,300 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 around 500.
The 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 capital city from its beginnings.
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.