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de Goede Hoop Temple – an Introductory Tour

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Lodge de Goede Hoop

The Temple of the Lodge de Goede Hoop in Bouquet Street, Cape Town, stands in its own grounds, some few metres to the left of Tuinhuis, the President of South Africa’s chambers. The whole complex, even including the huge tree alongside the fountain, has been declared a National Monument.

The Temple is approached through a splendid arch, designed by the architect Louis Thibault, and stands at the head of a large courtyard. Originally, this courtyard was a garden, but it is now a parking area used by Parliamentary staff during the day and by the Brethren in the evenings and over weekends. In the courtyard’s centre is the historic Fountain of Hope, dating back to the 1800s.

The de Goede Hoop Temple was designed by Louis Thibault and built by Hermann Schutte, while Anton Anreith sculpted the original statues. The Temple is long and narrow, being based on the exact dimensions of the inner sanctum of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.

The Foundation stone was laid in February 1801 and the completed Temple was consecrated on Sunday 3 July 1803. There are 2 more recent additions, on each side of and set back from the main building. The Refectory is to the left, while on the right is the Graham Botha Centre, named in honour of the 1st Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Africa (consecrated in 1961). On the ground floor of the Centre is the office of the Provincial Grand Secretary and the PGL Board Room, while the Phiroze Gorvalla Temple is to be found upstairs.

When you enter Lodge de Goede Hoop itself, it is into a small foyer. In front of you are double doors, some 12 feet high, leading into the Temple Robing Room.

To your left is the Preparator’s Room, with stairs leading to the organ loft. If you continue further left, you enter the Chamber of Meditation, containing a statue of “Hiram Abiff” by Anton Anreith. Leading out of the Chamber of Meditation, through a heavy wooden door, is a sloping passageway to the Middle Chamber. In the East of this Chamber is a statue of “Grief”, also by Anreith.

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Silence

On the Foyer’s right there is a small area where the Brethren keep their cases, and from this area are doors to the Master’s Robing Room and the Chamber of Silence. In the Chamber is a statue of “Silence” by Anreith.

All of the Anreith statues date back to the time of the original creation of the Temple around 1803 and his contribution is acknowledged on the National Monument Plate found at the front door. Sadly, several other Anreith statues were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892.

Entrance to the Temple itself is gained by passing through the Temple Robing Room, through another double 12 foot door and up 6 steps. Looking down the inside of the temple from the East, and back toward the entrance, we observe the organ loft overhead. Immediately at the top of the entrance steps are the Chairs of the 2 Wardens and in front of them Chairs for the 1st and 2nd Preparator. If you face the East you will see the Master’s Chair at the centre back. The Chair for the Master of Ceremonies is in the North East, below the Balustrade, and in the South East, is the Chair for the Orator. The Ambassador, who’s Staff of Office is the Halberd, sits next to the Orator. In the East, immediately above the Balustrade on the Northern side sits the Lodge Secretary and in the South East the Lodge Treasurer. The curtains on the left and right at the back lead to a small area behind the Master’s throne where Lodge charters are stored.

Standing just inside the entrance and looking right, you may observe a wire rope extending from the ceiling. This is to activate the Thunder Run, a Shakespearean innovation which simulates the sound of thunder. This is, to our knowledge, one of only 2 examples of this feature still operational worldwide.

Temple-Looking_EastThere are 4 magnificent statues in the North East, South East, North West and South West of the Temple. These are respectively :- “Wisdom” - a copy of the Giustiniani Minerva the original of which is in the Vatican; “Strength”- the Lansdowne Hercules; “Beauty” - a copy of the tinted Venus by Gibson, the Welsh Sculptor; and “Hope” – which was a local creation. These statues were put in place in the late 1890s, in memory of Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr.

There are numerous other interesting features found within the Temple complex, including the several magnificent paintings of respected Freemasons from days gone by and a wide variety of interesting, historical items related to the Temple itself and the development of Freemasonry in the Western Cape.

Wor Bro Mike Darwin