- The Andaz Temple -

Along from Liverpool Street Station, stands the grand Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel. It is a hotel with a few secrets.

Before a facelift and rebrand, this hotel was formerly known as the Great Eastern Hotel and housed rich Victorian travellers. Abraham Van Helsing stays there in Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. Prior to that, the site used to house the notorious Bethlehem Royal Hospital, otherwise known as Bedlam.

Now a 5-star boutique hotel, Andaz retains a most unusual chamber from its past. Uncovered during a refurb in the 1990s, a Marble and gilt Masonic Temple, designed in a Grecian style, had remained hidden for years behind a false wall.

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Beyond the Grand Doors, lies a chequerboard floor and rows of Mahogany seats, leading up to the carved Throne and an Organ with golden pipes. Above there is a round turquoise and gold ceiling decoration with a star-shaped light in the centre.

Other interesting features include a bust of Arthur, Duke of Connaught, who was the chair of the temple, and the inscriptions ‘To God and His Service’ and ‘Avdi veda tace’, which translates as ‘Hear See Be Silent’

12 different types of marble make up the elaborate decorations within the temple. It is estimated that if the temple were built today, it would cost £4 million. It is clear that no expense was spared here. There is also a smaller, but no less opulent, Egyptian temple within the same Hotel.

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The hotel now uses the temple as a hireable space for parties, meals, film screenings, corporate events, music performances and even for wedding receptions.

The Temple is a stunning reminder of things which are often hidden from view. If you’re seeking a one-of-a-kind venue, or if you’re lucky enough to get an invitation, you can’t turn down a visit to the Temple.