Phoenix Lodge No. 94 is a Craft Lodge in Freemasonry under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England. Members of Phoenix Lodge built the Freemasons' Hall in Queen Street East, Sunderland, in 1785; it is considered to be the oldest purpose-built Masonic Temple in the world that has been in continuous use from its foundation and is still used as such today. The Hall is a Grade I listed building. Phoenix is also the oldest Lodge in the city of Sunderland and the second oldest in the Province of Durham.HistoryThe Lodge was constituted on 7 October 1755 and is one of the 50 oldest craft lodges in the UK. Phoenix originally met in local inns and taverns before moving to the Masonic Hall in Vine Street, which was dedicated on 16 July 1778 but was destroyed by fire on 20 November 1783. It has met at its present Masonic Hall in Queen Street East since 1785. In April 1785, noting the celebrations for the dedication of this new hall, a local newspaper announced that Handel’s Messiah would be:"Performed by the whole Choir of Durham Cathedral, assisted by all the principal Musical Gentlemen of Durham, Newcastle, and Sunderland, under the Direction of Brother Ebdon, who will perform the full accompanyments on the Organ."The original Institution Warrant was lost, believed to be destroyed by the fire that destroyed the Masonic Temple in Vine Street. The Lodge still has the Confirmation Warrant, dated 29 September 1821. It received the Bi-Centenary Warrant on 5 October 1955 and celebrated its 250th Anniversary on 7 October 2005.
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