From 1867 Winchester and surrounding Masonic Orders met at the Masonic Hall on the first floor at the rear (North) of what is now WH Smiths in the High Street, the hall being accessed from St. George's Street. This was originally a Wesleyan chapel and was partly rebuilt in the late 20th Century.
This formal hall is now listed and you can still see the artwork on the walls and ceiling inside and the Masonic symbols on the outside.
Have a quick look next time you pop into Winchester High Street.
In the Spring of 1987 this premises was sold and the old St. Swithun's School Mistresses house in Alresford Road, which they called 'The Cottage' was purchased and transformed into a dedicated centre.
Planning permission was a challenge as Winchester City Council would not allow any upward extension to the premises in order to accommodate the temple and other facilities.
This obstacle was eventually overcome by not going up but extending downwards. Thus the new Winchester Masonic Centre was created.