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Afan Masonic Temple

A Grade II Listed Building in Port Talbot, Neath Port Talbot

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5963 / 51°35'46"N

Longitude: -3.7821 / 3°46'55"W

OS Eastings: 276660

OS Northings: 190109

OS Grid: SS766901

Mapcode National: GBR H3.BRDG

Mapcode Global: VH5H1.D4FM

Plus Code: 9C3RH6W9+G5

Entry Name: Afan Masonic Temple

Listing Date: 28 April 2000

Last Amended: 28 April 2000

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 23249

Building Class: Institutional

Location: The temple fronts Forge Road; Tabernacle chapel adjoins on right.

County: Neath Port Talbot

Town: Port Talbot

Community: Port Talbot

Community: Port Talbot

Built-Up Area: Port Talbot

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Port Talbot

History

The first lodge in Aberavon was held at the Walnut Tree Hotel in 1861. It was begun by Theodore Talbot of Margam Park who had previously joined a lodge in London. The temple was built in 1909 with money provided by Emily Charlotte Talbot, sister of Theodore. The builder is thought to have been Morgan Cox, a master of the lodge in 1902 and 1917.

Exterior

Classical-style temple. Two-storey range with tall narrow gable end facade, entrance to W side and late C20 additions to E side. The facade is 3-bay with a triangular pediment and is constructed of red brick with pronounced pale stone dressings. The lower storey has wide rusticated quoins and pilasters rising from a dressed plinth. Moulded string course between storeys, supporting 4 tapering Ionic pilasters dividing the bays and supporting an entablature. Each bay contains an oculus in a moulded stone surround, with keystones above and below. The latter are set within panels with foliate decoration and ears. Underneath each oculus is a square stone tablet in a frame, with moulded cornice and 2 dentilled corbels. The triangular pediment is heavily moulded and dentilled. Within it is a large stone masonic emblem, circular with scrolls and bearing the square and compass motif. Attached beneath are 3 foliate bands with stylised writing, reading 'Afan / Masonic / Temple'.

The sides of the temple are roughcast. To the upper storey are 5 oculi within red brick surrounds, and vertical and horizontal glazing bars. Beneath the oculi to the S side are tall windows with segmental heads and red brick surrounds containing UPVC glazing. At the L end, in place of a window, is a small porch with late C20 door facing S with an overlight and high segmental head. UPVC window above. The N side is partly obscured by late C20 additions, most of which have flat roofs. The rear is roughcast with similar windows, 3 to the lower storey and 2 above. Late C20 gabled range adjoining to N. One window to rear side of entrance bay.

Interior

The porch leads to a round arched doorway into the W side of the building. This has a half-lit panelled door, matching side lights and a high overlight, all with Art Nouveau glass. Inside is a stairhall with dog-leg stairs in the SE corner, with flat openwork balusters and tapering square-section newel posts with recessed panels. The newels are decorated with square and compass motifs and have domed heads. From the stairhall, the dining hall is to the R, 2 small rooms to the L and service areas straight ahead. The dining hall is 5-bay with flat moulded cross beams and ceiling roses with reeded mouldings. Dado rail, picture rail and panelled doors throughout.

Upstairs, the temple is above the dining hall. Large round-arched recess to N end with pilasters, moulded arch and scrolled keystone. The recess contains a pipe organ fronted by flat timber balustrading. The organ is raised and reached by curved stairs to the E side. In front of the organ is a wood panelled pedestal in front of a seat. At the opposite (S) end is a similar pedestal in front of the Master's chair. Between the pedestals, towards the N end are 2 round tapering columns of brown marble with fluted bowl capitals with beading. These support globes. The walls are half panelled, to door shoulder height. Deep moulded coving with decorative frieze; plaster moulding to ceiling decorated with flowers and saltire crosses. Blocked wooden fireplaces to each side of temple in classical style. Towards the S end are opposing round-arched recesses at a high level containing busts. Stained glass to oculi bearing small masonic motifs.

Further rooms lead R from the landing, including a committee room with half-lit door and overlight with Art Nouveau glass, and moulded coving. The coffee room has a large black and green marble fireplace to the E, supporting a wooden canopy with scrolls in relief flanked by costumed soldiers.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its fine late classical facade and unaltered interior, a rare building type in Wales.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Tabernacle Chapel
    A narrow forecourt in front of the chapel faces the road and is bounded by stone gate piers and iron gates and railings.
  • II Bethany Chapel
    In a prominent position in the centre of Port Talbot. The square is at the junction of Station Road and Forge Road.
  • II Aberavon Bridge (partly in Aberavon community)
    The bridge crosses the River Afan and serves as the physical link between the shopping centres of Aberavon and Port Talbot, the former a development of the 1990s. The roadway is now pedestrianised.
  • II* Ebenezer Chapel
    In a prominent position in the square between the shopping centre and the Civic Centre, and backing onto the River Afan.
  • II Aberavon Bridge
    The bridge crosses the River Afan and serves as the physical link between the shopping centres of Aberavon and Port Talbot, the former a development of the 1990s. The roadway is now pedestrianised.
  • II Forecourt Walls, Railings and Gates to Ebenezer Chapel
    Bounding the forecourt to Ebenezer Chapel and facing W.
  • II Velindre Bridge
    Located at the SW corner of the settlement of Velindre and now carrying a path which runs parallel with Cwmavon Road.
  • II Church of St Mary
    Located in a quadrangular churchyard, encircled by the high-level A48. Just to the S of Aberavon shopping centre.

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