Repair works planned to 'preserve future' of historic masonic temple Phoenix Hall in Sunderland's East End

Proposals for repair works to help safeguard the future of a historic masonic temple have been lodged with planning chiefs.

Saturday, 18th December 2021, 11:54 am

Earlier in December 2021, Sunderland City Council’s planning department received an application for the Grade I-listed building off Queen Street East, known as Phoenix Hall.

According to planning documents, the building dates back to around 1785 and has been used as a Freemasons meeting lodge for more than 230 years.

Following a condition inspection, a number of works were identified to preserve the building including repairs and “like-for-like replacement” works where possible.

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Phoenix Hall.

The works include repairs and maintenance to roof coverings, re-pointing of external areas and the renewal, repair and redecoration of windows and doors.

Internally, the works also cover the repair of cracks and redecoration of ceilings and walls, as well as the “renewal, re-fixing and repair” of the temple floor including the vinyl floor, floorboards and joists.

The listed building consent application was lodged by the Queens Street Heritage Trust, along with a heritage statement setting out the historic importance of the building.

This includes the site being “one of the earliest purpose-built masonic halls in England, that demonstrates the popularity and prominence of Freemasonry in north east England.”

Phoenix Hall.

It is also believed to be the “earliest surviving purpose-built masonic hall in Britain, which has also remained in continuous use for its original function.”

The heritage statement adds the proposed repairs would “ensure this historic building is preserved for future generations.”

It goes on to say:”There will be an aesthetically positive impact on the listed building due to the improved appearance of the repaired building.

“The chosen use of a material palette that is already found within the building and elsewhere on site alongside known historic construction methods of the area allows the building to retain its appearance within the existing setting of listed building.

“Where required, the repair of the historic fabric with new materials is justified as it minimises the loss of historic fabric which would otherwise require replacement.

“Where existing fabric is removed, this is in a state of disrepair and woulddeteriorate further without intervention.”

A decision on the planning application is expected by early February 2022.

For more information, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 21/02869/LBC

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