by Katy Wheeler, Sunderland Echo, 16th Feb 2023
Phoenix Hall in Sunderland’s East End, built in 1784-5, is the oldest surviving purpose-built masonic lodge still in use by the Freemasons in England.
It has undergone major restoration work as part of the Historic High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative. The hall is a Grade I-listed building and a testament to the rich history of the East End, a time when the town was growing in wealth due to trade in coal, timber and shipbuilding.
The hall’s original structure and interior have remained remarkably intact, and it still hosts its original Lodge and three others monthly. The Freemasons played a significant role in Sunderland’s development in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The Temple, or lodge room, is steeped in symbolism, and the room’s harmonious proportions are based on the golden ratio, a concept well known in Freemasonry. Visitors can see the hall themselves on Heritage Open Days and by making an appointment for group tours with the Queen Street Heritage Trust.