|Mahala at work|
Then Blackwell opened its branch attached to the Wellcome Collection, which we eagerly dove into. We truly were in seventh heaven, exploring common and obscure links between the art and science of medicine and clinical practice through the ages.
|Wellcome Collection museum and library building facade.|
Thus does an avaricious trivia collector and book lover transform into a story seller and events programmer. We have developed an outstanding range and varied expertise from this incredible well of knowledge we are exposed to and immersed in.
|Freemasons Hall, London|
Paid well for our work, we have our other perks too - aside from private pre-event tours and screenings, we get to be up close and personal with icons and idols at hundreds of signings, talks, and readings every year.
All that and we get invited and included to the Wellcome's exhibits and parties. This year we got to cap 2016 off with a year end shindig at a venue as spectacular and renowned as the Wellcome Collection's.
Their 2016 holiday party was held at the Freemasons' Hall in Great Queen Street between Holborn and Covent Garden in Central London. It has been a Masonic meeting place since 1775.
Freemasons Hall, London
In its current incarnation, an imposing classic Art Deco architecture finished in 1933, celebrates three centuries of English Freemasonry.
|Red "eye" at the entrance hall|
|Entrance hall stained glass window|
Access remains restricted although parts of the building are now open to the public for daily tours and its regular use as a film and television location have made it a favoured visitor destination.
|Entrance gate to main hall|
|Different rooms designating the Deadly Sins|
In addition to Masonic uses, Sandby’s Hall was to be an important centre during the ‘London Season’, hosting concerts, balls, play readings, literary evenings and meetings of many learned and philanthropic societies, including the Anti-Slavery Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society.
|Stained glass windows depicting the Virtues|
|Ceiling outside the main hall|
The Memorial Shrine commemorates the 3,225 Masons who died on active service in the First World War and in whose memory the building was raised. The theme of the stained glass memorial window is the attainment of Peace through Sacrifice, with the Angel of Peace carrying a model of the tower of the building.
|Main Hall ceiling|
|Detail of ceiling mosaics & gilding|
Central to the present building is the Grand Temple, meeting place for Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter and the annual meetings of a number of Provincial Grand Lodges. Masonic bronze doors, each weighing one and a quarter tonnes, open on to the imposing main chamber.
Central to the present building is the Grand Temple, meeting place for Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter and the annual meetings of a number of Provincial Grand Lodges. Masonic bronze doors, each weighing one and a quarter tonnes, open on to a Chamber.
|Masonic bronze doors|
|It's us partying it up!|
The ceiling cove is of mosaic and in addition to figures and symbols from Masonic ritual includes corner figures representing the four cardinal virtues – Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice – and the Arms of HRH Arthur, Duke of Connaught.
|Mosaic of Freemasons Compass|
|Library inspired cloakroom|
Like Sandby’s Grand Hall, the Grand Temple is increasingly being used for concerts and musical theatre – having an almost perfect acoustic and clear sight-lines.
The main temple was more like a parliament hall than a ballroom - rows of chairs on either side surrounding a speaker's podium and open floor - reminiscent of the Roman Senate.
|The Grand Temple|
|Grand Temple Ceiling|
Biggest WOW of our night was no ladies' rooms! A temporary sign posted ['Ladies'] was propped in front of one of the mens' toilets, with attendant antique urinals and sinks.
That was it for our personal experience of the Freemasons Hall - Happy Holidays!