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Masonic Hall, (17) Corn Exchange Street

History of the Masonic Hall, Corn Exchange Street

1861: (17)

Thomas Southwick, 47, baker, b Whittlesea

The purchase of this site for a hall for the University Freemason’s lodge was approved in 1883 and the foundation stone laid in 1892. The hall was not only used by the Isaac Newton University lodge, but also by the Alma Mater lodge which had moved to Cambridge circa 1885.

More about the Isaac Newton University masonic lodge can be found here:

During WWI the hall was taken over by the military and not returned to civilian use until 1920.

Masonic Hall in 1968 just before its demolition (Cambs Collection)


Cambridge Daily News 3.5.1920

‘Islam Cannot Die!’ Dinner in honour of Indian Khalifat Delegation

Torch-bearers of civilisation

“Islam is important; it cannot die! … To carve up Turkey would be to carve our hearts.” Such was the refrain running though all the speeches which followed the Cambridge Muslim Association’s dinner on Saturday night.

The dinner, which was held at the Masonic Hall, was in honour of the Indian Khalifat [Khilafat or Caliphate] Delegation, and for the first time several Muslim women were among the guests. The president of the Association, Mr S J Imam, was in the chair; he was supported by the Khalifat delegation – Mr Mohammed Ali [Jauhar], Mr Synd Hossain and Maulana Suleiman Nadvi, with their secretary, Mr Hayat. Among those also present were: Mr H I Rahim (vice-president of the Association), Dr Hamid (secretary), Prof. E G Browne (Professor of Arabic), Mrs Sarojini Naidu, Miss [Helena] Normanton (editor of the “India’), Mr [Benjamin Guy] Horniman (late editor of the “Bombay Chronicle” who was deported from India), Mr George Gordon Coulton (St Johns), Mr J C Lawson (Pembroke), Mr Harris Rackham [husband of Clara Rackham] and Mr Manning. The menu was a follows:

Consomme a la princesse, Filet de Sole au gratin, Cotelettes d’Agneau, Pomme Sauti, Asperges, Canetons roti, Petits Pois, Macedoine de Fruits a la Crreme, Curried Prawns en Croute, Dessert and Coffee.

[article continues with summaries of the speeches]

In 1939 the military again requisitioned the hall although freemasons were allowed to meet there six times a year.

In the 1960s the Masonic Hall was a popular venue for private parties. It was also used for music concerts and in 1964/5 the group Those Without, including Syd Barrett (later Pink Floyd), performed there. For more information on this period visit the website:

Corn Exchange Street (?Maths Lab)(MoC35/69)

This may show the Masonic Hall as well.

In 1910 the doctor Harold Delf Gillies was initiated into the Alma Mater lodge. A New Zealander, he was an otolaryngologist who is widely considered the father of modern plastic surgery.




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