A BELFAST MASONIC HALL:
The Masonic Hall illustrated above, situated at Park Road, of the Ormeau Road, Belfast, will replace a small hall in Rosetta Avenue, which has been used by Freemasons of the district for many years. The new hall is of course a great advance in every way on the old, and is much more suited to the purposes of the order and to its membership in this part of the city. In order to build it, the Rosetta Masonic Hall Co Ltd, was formed, and today, when the hall will be dedicated, will mark the completion of the major part of their scheme.
The company appointed as architects Messrs Ferguson & M’Ilveen, of Scottish Provident Buildings, Belfast, and the have planned a very compact and comfortable building. One of the features of this building is its good value, as the cost was kept to between £5,000 and £6,000. The front is a simple one, carried out in brick with terra- cotta dressings in the quoins and windows. Character is lent to the building by the fine portico over the front entrance. This has been carried out with terra- cotta columns, frieze, and cornice, and there is a dental course supporting the cornice. The space below the portico is laid with large black and white Durus tiles. The entrance door of pitch pine, is flanked by windows of leaded glass, with a leaded fanlight above. Over the portico a Masonic emblem has been set on the wall.
The main doorway opens directly to an entrance hall measuring 16 ft by 15 ft. Opposite the doorway is a centre stairway of pitch pine leading to a first landing, with a large window of stained glass in the rear wall. This staircase is a fine feature of the hall, and not only looks well, but is very conveniently and usefully situated. It is flanked in the entrance hall by two columns, and there are pilasters to correspond on the walls at the side.
The entrance hall is also laid with Durus black and white tiles, which give a very clean and fresh appearance and also help to add the air of spaciousness and to the prevailing brightness. The hall has a dado of pitch pine varnished, and this wood is used throughout the building.
To the left is the large dining room, a fine apartment measuring 21 feet by 44 feet. It runs from front to back of the building, and is splendidly lighted by six large windows, and there are inlet and extract ventilators to assist the ventilation. The floor is laid with composition wood blocks that are of nice appearance and make for silent walking. At the rear end of the dining room is a service doorway with a short passage leading from the kitchen.
To the right of the entrance hall is the doorway of the cloakroom and lavatory accommodation. On the same side of the building is a smaller dinning room, 21 ft. by 18 ft. a very comfortable and well-lighted apartment. It adjoins the kitchen, which continues the building to the rear. The kitchen is laid with Durus tiles and measures 14ft. by 21 ft. It is equipped with cupboards, gas cookers, sink, and geyser and there is plenty of light and air. A doorway leads to the back of the hall, and close to it are a staff lavatory and the central heating chamber. Another door leading to the rear of the building, on the dining room side, will give access to club premises which it is hoped to build in future on the vacant ground behind the hall.
Off the first landing is additional lavatory accommodation. On this landing the staircase divides in two to approach the main landing, off which is a large anteroom, fitted with lockers, leading to a large hall or lodge room. This is above the dinning room, and is the same size 21 by 44 feet. A fixed seat in pitch pine runs round the wall, and a feature is the fine pitch pine panelled ceiling in which are set ventilators. The walls have a dado of the same wood, and are finished with patent plaster above. On the other side of the hall, above the smaller dining room is a smaller lodge room, with anteroom. The lodge room measures 35 feet by 21 feet, and it is carried out in same style as the larger lodge room. On the same side of the building, to the front, is a committee room, 21 feet by 12 feet.
Some idea of the compact and convenient arrangement of the rooms may be gained from this brief description. There are no dark corners, and no waste space anywhere in the building, and everywhere there is an abundant light and good ventilation, this satisfying the modern demand for light and air in buildings of all kinds. All rooms are of course electrically lighted and heated by hot water radiators. In the lodge rooms the radiators are placed underneath the fixed benches, a space being left between the back of the bench and the wall so that the heated air can rise easily into the room.
The building is set back some distance from the sidewalk, and the site is enclosed by a wrought iron railing. To the front, along Park Road, the railing, which is of handsome design, is erected on a low wall. At each end is an entrance gate, both wide enough to admit motorcars. Artificial stone has been used in the gate piers and the wall. The semi circular walk leading from one entrance gate to the other, past the portico is laid in tar macadam and the space between it and the railings will be sown with grass.
The whole of the constructional work has been carried out by Messrs C & W McQuoid Ltd, Roden Street, Belfast, under the personal supervision of Mr W.J. McQuoid, and the contract has been completed in a thoroughly satisfactory manor. This is not Messrs McQuoid’s first experience in the erection of a building of the kind, as they built the Newtownards Road Masonic Hall, which serves the east end of the city. The work on this job reflects credit on the firm and on the workmen engaged, all having given of their best. All cupboards, lockers &c., were prepared in the firm’s shops as all the other woodwork, and also the artificial stone used in the gate piers and the wall bounding Park Road.
The bricks used in the construction building were supplied by the well-known local firm, the Lagonvale Estate Brick and Terra-Cotta Co, Ltd, whose works are at Stranmillis. A glance at the new hall shows what a fine appearance good brickwork can have when the bricks are of good quality. As for wear, little need be said, for Lagonvale bricks have proved their worth years ago, and are proving it to-day in buildings in every part of Belfast and up and down Ulster.
Among the contractors is another local firm Durabello Ltd of Grovenor Place who make a speciality of tiles and are developing a useful industry. It is always pleasant to record the success of a home firm that is helping to keep going Belfast’s trade and industry. Durabello make a speciality of tiling, terrazo mosaic, composition flooring, & c., and the Durus tiles used in the new hall were manufactured and supplied by them. These tiles in black and white provide a very effective flooring in the decorative sense, and they have the merit of looking clean and of being easily kept in that condition. They contribute very much to the atmosphere of freshness and brightness in the building. Durabello- who use British materials- have supplied tiling to new Ulster police barracks, Corporation houses at the Seaview site, and houses built by the Irish Soldiers and Sailors Land Trust.
Another local contractor who has contributed to the work is Mr. Henry Austin, 112 Cullingtree Road, who supplied the wrought iron railings surrounding the site. The railings bounding Park Road, as has already been said, is of a pleasing ornamental design, and has been worked with great care, the finished job reflecting every credit on the contractor.