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Gay weddings plan for masonic centre

PUBLISHED: 14:47 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:19 22 July 2010

The Old Sessions House

The Old Sessions House

AN HISTORIC listed building which for decades has been a bastion of male-dominated freemasonry could soon be staging gay weddings.

AN HISTORIC listed building which for decades has been a bastion of male-dominated freemasonry could soon be staging gay weddings.

The grade II* listed Old Sessions House, in Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell, is run by the Central London Masonic Centre (CLMC) and has been the meeting place for over 300 Masonic lodges from across London since 1978.

The organisation already supplements its non-Masonic income by holding wedding receptions and business conferences in the 230-year-old building.

Now it has applied to Islington Council for permission to stage wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships.

Dorian Price, managing director of CLMC, said: "We're a Masonic centre first and foremost so the extra business is the icing on the cake. The Masonic season finishes in May or June so we have an empty building for most of the summer. Summertime is usually the traditional time for weddings and there's allsorts of opportunities for somebody wanting something a bit different."

Mr Price denied that staging civil partnerships in the historic building would anger some of its more traditional clientele.

"The building and everything we do, we distinguish between the two," he said.

"We do have some customers who might know about freemasonry but as soon as you walk in the building you could be in any grand building anywhere.

"There's no contradiction. One of the reasons we've applied is we've been approached by a number of people wanting civil partnerships here."

Mr Price added: "Islington is a fantastic area. It's the building and the company we're talking about - it lends itself to this fantastic, young and vibrant area and it fits in with that."

Wedding receptions in the Old Sessions House currently start from £35 a head and can seat 120 people.


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