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Chapter History
Centenary Jewel

Iron Bridge


Freemasonry - Michael Scarth
Freemasonry - John George Lambton
Freemasonry - George Garbutt
Freemasonry - Dr. Tipping Brown
Freemasonry - Dr. William Reid Clanny
Freemasonry - Sir Hedworth Williamson
Freemasonry - Sir Ralph Milbanke
Freemasonry - Sir Cuthbert Sharp

Freemasonry - Sunderland Parish
Freemasonry - Sunderland Orphanage
Freemasonry - Exchange Building
Freemasonry - Pemberton Main

Freemasonry - United Grand Lodge of England - Coat of Arms
Approved by the
United Grand Lodge of England

Last Update
6th February 2008








The Exchange
High Street, Sunderland

The war with France had necessarily led to great demand for the building and use of shipping and other products from the expanding Port of Sunderland and consequently its wealth and stature had grown considerably.

It had been felt for some time that an Exchange Building would be essential for the future prosperity of the expanding township and the idea soon materialised into firm planning with the slum area of the Half Moon estate being the preferred site.

A prospectus was published showing that the building was to have brokers’ offices a news room, a post office etc.

Shares at £50 each were quickly taken up for the building, which was to cost c. £8000.

The first stone was laid on 10th August 1812 by Sir Henry VaneTempest with full Masonic honours and procession and was completed and opened to the public on 10th May 1814.

The grandfather of inventor Joseph Swan, a George Cameron, was the builder of the Exchange Building.


Many famous men, such as those listed below, will have met here over the years to discuss the topics of the day or possibly some aspect of their business or professional lives:-

  • Rowland Burdon - The Iron Bridge
  • Dr W R Clanny – the miners’ lamp and early work on cholera
  • Joseph Swan, born in sunderland and the inventor of possibly one of the world’s greatest inventions - The electric light bulb. (He also invented the photographic dry plate and a process for making silk etc.)
  • Richard Fothergill a Sunderland man – inventor of a world first wire rope process which revolutionised the industry. This did not need the traditional long rope walk to spin the rope. Developed by Webster at his rope works in Deptford by the riverside at the end of Alexandra Bridge.

Not to mention...

  • Sir Cuthbert Sharp - The Historian
  • Robert Surtees - The Historian
  • George Garbutt - The Historian



After a multi - million pound refurbishment and named the Quayside Exchange, the old exchange building now functions as a conference / banqueting centre and restaurant.

Fig 2

The Quayside Exchange, High Street East, Sunderland
14th December 2004


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