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SUTTON COLDFIELD MASONIC HALL - A BRIEF HISTORY
Prior to the acquisition of the premises in Mill Street in 1903 - to become the first owned premises by the Warden Lodge No 794, jointly with Hertford Lodge No 3208 - the first and second Moot Halls stood at the top of Mill street where later there was a weighing machine, long since gone, but from the pictures of that building it is very unlikely that any Lodge Meeting could have been held there at that time.
The present Masonic Hall was known as the Town Hall before it was purchased by the Freemasons (at a cost of £4100) and, in a certified copy of the document inserted in the foundation stone it is referred to as the Moot Hall - the stone being laid on the 25th August, 1858. It is likely that the consecration of the Warden Lodge was delayed until the building was completed. The Architect was G. Bidlake and his practice was well known.
At the date of consecration (1859) no railway existed. Those who had business in Birmingham and lived in Sutton took eighty minutes at least if they went by coach, or drove into Birmingham in their own conveyances. The railway from Aston to Sutton started in 1860 and was not completed until 1863. The Town clustered at the top of the hill. The Moot Hall situated at the top of Mill Street was a two-storey building with a small covered market at one end. There were no buildings on the Park side between those on Mill Street and the Park.
The dam already existed but there were no shops and a series of pools led from Windley right away to Holland House.
The population of the town was 4,500 - and the area largely agricultural. It can be said of Sutton in those days that the town itself was charming, certainly insanitary, and the moral tone and sobriety not so good. In the present day certainly both the moral tone and sobriety have hardly improved for the better - as we all know!
The old workhouse (part of the site), and the gaol, where the cell still remains in the sub-basement, were renovated and turned into Municipal Offices. The Hall served variously as the Magistrates' Court; Sutton's first cinema, Rosella's, (there were adverts for Rosella's in the Sutton News in 1915); the Sutton Fire Station situated in the corner of the present car-park until December 1905. The engine was horse-drawn and the horses stabled with the engine - a rusting bracket up on the wall by the side of the doors was used to dry the hoses.
Part of the site was occupied by Almshouses and probably used for other purposes besides.
The Warden Lodge No 794 was consecrated in the Hall in October 1859 and meetings were held there until May 1865. After that time they were held in the New Hotel, re-named the Royal Hotel. In May 1866 the Lodge moved back to Moot Hall and then back to the Royal Hotel until 1895 when it returned to Moot Hall and Meetings were held in the Mayor's Parlour in one of the rooms in the present building.
Currently 19 Masonic Lodges and Orders hold their Meetings in these Masonic premises. In addition, incomes from five commercial Tenants contribute to the expensive up-keep of this Grade II Listed Building.
Access to individual Lodges can be made by clicking onto the appropriate website address listed below: