As you travel on the train from East Croydon Station and look out of the window, on the right-hand side if travelling into London, have you ever wondered what that large Victorian building is?
On Saturday November 3, you will have a chance to find out, with a rare opportunity to tour the building, which has been described as “Croydon’s hidden gem”.
Built in 1850, it was first called the “Asylum for Aged, Worthy and Decayed Freemasons”. There has to be at least one oxymoron in there.
It has changed its name since, first to the Royal Masonic Asylum and from 1950 it has been known as Davidson Lodge. It used to be used by many masonic lodges from across south London, but has not staged any lodge meetings for more than 50 years, after the masons sold the building to Croydon Council.
But next month, you won’t have to be a mason to gain admission. On Saturday week, Davidson Lodge is opening its doors for two tours, which are sure to be in high demand, and which should explain the building’s connections to Thomas the Tank Engine as well as the White House in Washington DC.
The tours will begin at 10.30am and 2.30pm, and cost £5 per person, to include a “sumptuous” cream tea. The tours are being organised by Croydon Lions and their charity of the year, Croydon Neighbourhood Care, which has its office in the grand Central Hall at Davidson Lodge is.
If you would like to book a place on one of the tours, led by Sue Turnbull, a local author on Almshouses, who will compare the lives of those in Asylum for Aged, Worthy and Decayed Freemason’s and those living in the Almshouses elsewhere in Croydon, please contact Croydon Neighbourhood Care on 020 8662 1000, during office hours to book your place.
Places are expected to be in high demand, and the organisers request that people should book in advance.
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