History of URBAN LODGE -St. John's Gate

The history of the Urban Lodge opens at St. John's Gate, where the Lodge was consecrated. St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, as it is known today, was originally the entrance gate to the Priory of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

After the Order had been disbanded in 1540 by King Henry VIII, the premises were used as a Hunting Lodge, an Armoury, a storehouse and for similar uses, at one time sheltering such scenery as Shakespeare used for his plays, until, in 1731, it became the headquarters of the " Gentleman'sMagazine."

In 1781, the Magazine shifted its headquarters to Fleet Street, and subsequently the Gate House became " The Old Jerusalem Tavern," to continue as such until, in 1887, the Order of St. John resumed occupation of the premises, which today are the Chancery of the Order.

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Operating under the pen-name of " Sylvanus Urban," various editors made the " Gentleman's Magazine " a force of some consequence. Dr. Johnson contributed to it, and David Garrick produced "The Mad Doctor" under its auspices.

When in 1781 the Magazine changed its headquarters to Fleet Street, it did not completely sever its connection with the Gate.

The vogue for Literary Debating Clubs resulted in the reigning " Sylvanus Urban " founding the " Urban Club," which used the Old Jerusalem Tavern as a rendezvous.

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