Aerial view of Phoenix Hall and three nearby tower blocks in Sunderland. The top left corner shows the shoreline and boats.
Now dwarfed by tower blocks, Phoenix Hall is a bridge to Sunderland’s past. © Historic England
Now dwarfed by tower blocks, Phoenix Hall is a bridge to Sunderland’s past. © Historic England

Sunderland MP Visits Newly Restored Grade I-Listed Masonic Lodge

Historic England and Sunderland City Council has been showing Julie Elliott MP how they have been working together to revitalise the Grade I-listed masonic lodge, Phoenix Hall.

Representatives of Historic England and the Council accompanied the Sunderland Central MP on a visit to the country’s oldest surviving purpose-built masonic lodge, which has recently undergone repair works thanks to a grant of more than £200,000 from Historic England.

Phoenix Hall in Queen Street East, has been in continuous use by Freemasons since it was built in 1784-5.

Now dwarfed by a trio of tower blocks, the Georgian building provides a link to Sunderland’s past – when the area now known as the East End lay at the heart of the city, and Wearside was growing in wealth thanks to the trade in coal, timber and shipbuilding. 

Whilst the hall has been extended and altered over the last two centuries, its original structure and interior have remained intact, with the original organ, ceremonial chairs and furnishings still in place. 

The injection of funding from Historic England has enabled the Queen Street Masonic Temple Ltd to carry out vital repairs to the roof, joinery and masonry, as well as the interior including the distinctive chequered floor. 

The repair work at Phoenix Hall forms part of Sunderland’s Historic High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) initiative. Led by Historic England, Sunderland City Council and partners the scheme has been reinvigorating historic buildings, sparking interest in the city’s fascinating history and acting as a catalyst for regeneration. 

It is so great to see one of Sunderland’s most important, historic buildings benefiting from the Heritage Action Zone. The partnership between Sunderland City Council and Historic England is an important one for the city, and I was proud to see the work that has gone into preserving, and future-proofing, the beautiful Phoenix Hall.

Julie Elliott MP Sunderland Central

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