Soane was commissioned by Sir John Stuart, 4th Baronet,of Allanbank to design additional wings fo his House at Allanbank. However, these plans were never carried out. The plans can be found in the archives at the Soane Museum. A more modest plan was implemented by the Adam Brothers.


Soane was born at a particularly turbulent time for the country, only seven years after the Battle of Culloden, and then died when the country was undergoing the process of industrialisation and the demand for political reform.

On 10 September 1753,Soane was born near Reading, Berkshire. His initial training in the profession which was to make him famous was carried out under the guidance of George Dance the Younger and then Henry Holland.Such was his ability even at this early age that he was accepted for the Royal Academy of Art when he was 18 years of age in 1771; he won the Silver Medal in 1772 and the Gold Medal in 1776. The patronage of Sir William Chambers, a well respected architect, provided an introduction to George III.

Now Royal Patronage followed - sponsorship of Soane’s education at the Royal Academy by the King, funds provided by the King for Soane to experience from the Grand Tour the architectural and artistic works of Europe. After his return to England in 1780, Soane had established his own architectural practice and his career was further enhanced with his appointment as Architect to the Bank of England, which turned out to be a lifetime appointment.In 1791,he was appointed Clerk of Works to St James’s Palace and six years later Deputy Surveyor to His Majesty’s Woods and Forests.

Clearly even before reaching the age of 30 years, Soane had reached heights of professional esteem and recognition, enjoyed by very few others. However, his reputation opened more prestigious doors of opportunity- he was elected to the Royal Academy and appointed to the Professorship of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1806, again another appointment held until his death.

His Royal Highness, The Duke of Sussex, who must already have been aware of Soane’s talents, requested the Grand Treasurer to invite Soane to survey and value the properties adjacent to Freemasons’ Hall in 1812. Thus began Soane’s Masonic journey. His sponsors were James Perry, Past Deputy Grand Master Thomas Harper, Deputy Grand Master of the Antient or Atholl Grand Lodge. It was perhaps a Lodge whose membership included “the Great and the Good” of society - the Grand Master’s Lodge No 1. Soane received all three degrees at the same Meeting on 25 November 1813. On 1 December 1813, he attended the Meeting at which His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex joined the Antient Grand Lodge. Thereafter Sussex’s brother, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent became Grand Master. Kent was, of course, the future Queen Victoria’s father. It is suggested that when Sussex met Soane in August of 1813, there may have been some discussion about the possibility of Soane joining Freemasonry. Thomas Sandby, Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, and one of Soane’s mentors, and also a Freemason, may have encouraged Soane to join the Craft.

In December of 1813, Soane’s appointment as Grand Superintendant of Works was officially proclaimed by HRH the Duke of Sussex, now the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, reappointed in 1816. Further promotions within the Craft took place rapidly - President of the Board of Works, a Member of the Board of Finance and the Board of General Purposes.

To commemorate the Union of the two Grand Lodges, Soane was commissioned to design and build The Ark of the Masonic Covenant, which he personally financed. It was destroyed in a fire on 5 May 1883.

Soane was involved in the purchase of two properties adjacent to Freemasons’ Hall out of his own finds and unfortunately had to wait several years for reimbursement.

His house at 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields was donated to the nation by Soane in his Will and therein is located The Soane Museum

Soane was knighted in 1831.

Pin It

Add comment

Security code