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Events & Reunions > Recent Events > Masonic Lodge

Alumni explore the hidden world of Bath’s Masonic Lodge
Saturday 10 October 2009

Guests listening to Malcolm in the Masonic TempleA group of University of Bath alumni enjoyed a special private tour of the Masonic Lodge at 12 Orchard Street, a beautiful listed building tucked away in Bath’s historic centre.

The tour was arranged by the Alumni Relations office as part of a programme of special events for alumni in the local area.  

Behind the door opening onto what is now one of Bath’s quietest cobbled backstreets, the group of twenty alumni were given a fascinating insight into a unique history that has, over 260 years, seen it become the first Theatre Royal outside of London, then a Catholic Chapel where bishops were ordained and, since 1865, the home of one of England’s oldest provincial Masonic Lodges.

Alumni had the chance to stand on the very stage where Sarah Siddons, considered by many to be the finest Tragic Actress of all time, received the adulation of her audiences, then go back stage to see the original scenery loft.

We visited the Chapel where Bishop Baines would prepare before delivering his fiery sermons in the nineteenth century, then entered the vaults below where exiled French nobility were once buried.

Finally, we experienced the ambience of one of the grandest Masonic Halls in the country and viewed possibly one of the finest collections of rare Masonic artefacts in the world.

The tour was led by David Hogg, Chairman of the Masonic Lodge, Trevor Quartermaine and Malcolm Toogood, who together gave an enthralling account of the building’s history and answered many questions from the group.

It was a captivating tour, enjoyed by all, and special thanks must go to all those from the Masonic Lodge who made it possible. Photos from the event can be found at our Flickr gallery pages Thanks also to Andrew Symons (PhD Pharmacology 1971), who has kindly shared his photos from the event.

If you would like further information on the Masonic Lodge and its fascinating history, or you would like to find out more about Freemasonry, please see the links below.  - The history of the old Theatre Royal  - The Bath Freemasonry Website  - For a pdf of the Tour Leaflet

There will be another special behind the scenes tour arranged for alumni next spring/ summer. Anyone interested should keep an eye on the Forthcoming Events pages on our website.