Phoenix Hall, Queen Street East, Sunderland: Historic building investigation and assessment of significance

Author(s): Tristan Wilson, Lucy Jessop

Sunderland’s Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) is a project running between April 2017 and 2020, led by Historic England (HE) and Sunderland City Council. It places the future of historic buildings at the heart of the city’s regeneration policy for Sunderland’s historic high streets and the surrounding conservation areas. The HAZ created an opportunity for HE and the owners of Phoenix Hall, the Queen Street Heritage Trust, to improve our understanding of this Grade I-listed masonic hall (NHLE 1279903) which now stands in isolation from its historical setting in the heart of the Old Sunderland conservation area. The hall is centred at NZ 40394 57228. Phoenix Hall is the oldest purpose-built masonic hall still in use by Freemasons anywhere in the country. The building was constructed in 1783-1785 by Phoenix Lodge, no. 94, to replace their previous hall. It was built by John Bonner, a member of the lodge, and consisted of a rectangular lodge room (or temple), with a small room to either side under a sloping roof (known as the east and west pents). The building has been extended and altered throughout its history, principally in phases carried out in 1890 and 1923. However, the lodge room has been little changed and it is a remarkable survival. The building continues to be used by the masons of Phoenix Lodge, and by a number of other masonic lodges. For the purposes of this report the building is referred to as Phoenix Hall, although it has a number of other names, such as the Queen Street Masonic Hall and Phoenix Lodge. The latter name is used here to refer to the group of Freemasons who commissioned and used the building, but in historic documents it is the most frequently used name for the hall.

Report Number:
Research Report
Building Recording Standing Building Standing Structure Assessment Architectural Investigation Heritage Action Zone


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