A THREATENED city hall championed by Prince Charles could have been secretly based on the ancient design of Solomon’s Temple - sacred to the world’s Freemasons, according to startling new research by a Scots academic.
Perth City Hall, where Mrs Thatcher gave her first public speech as Prime Minister, has been under threat of demolition since 2005, when it was made redundant by the opening of a new public concert venue nearby.
Now, however, Richard Batchelor, honorary research fellow in the department of earth and environmental sciences at St Andrews University, says he has found “startling” evidence that the proportions of the Edwardian hall “mirror almost exactly” the dimensions of Solomon’s Temple.
The Temple, a central symbol of Freemasonry, which was built around 960 BC in ancient Jerusalem before its destruction by King Nebuchadnezzar II around 420 BC after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BC.
Mr Batchelor, an expert on megalithic mathematics, said that as a regular visitor to Perth he had become “intrigued” by the City Hall, and the way it dominates its environment and “overshadows” the medieval St John’s Kirk next door.
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He said: “The overall shape reminded me of Solomon’s Temple, I found plans for both Solomon’s Temple and Perth City Hall and proceeded to take some measurements.
“Given the different scales of the plans, I used ratios of measurements in order to compare like with like.”
This revealed that the proportions for length and width, small hall and large hall and the outer walkway of Perth City Hall are almost exactly the same as those of the lost Holy Temple on Mount Zion.
Mr Batchelor, 67, said: “This suggests to me that the architect had knowledge of what has been termed sacred geometry, a knowledge which is embedded in Freemasonry.
“Solomon’s Temple is a central symbol of Freemasonry. This implies that the architect was probably a Freemason so I delved a bit deeper.”
The architects for Perth City Hall were H. E. Clifford and Thomas Lunan of Glasgow.
Mr Batchelor found that Clifford was engaged in at least three projects which involved Masonic symbols - 646 Argyle Street, Glasgow (panel with Masonic insignia, five busts and a deer’s head, 1869); 70 Glencairn Drive, Pollokshields, Glasgow (Masonic symbols and a pair of lions, 1888-1890); 98 West Regent Street, Glasgow (statues of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist on former Masonic halls, 1896). Freemasons traditionally celebrate the feasts of both St Johns.
Mr Batchelor said: “I conclude Perth City Hall was designed by an architect who was a member of the Freemasons and who used the geometries of Solomon’s Temple.”
Mr Batchelor added that his interest in city hall was purely personal, but his discovery may add weight to the argument of those fighting to save the threatened listed building.
One Perthshire resident joked: “Nebuchadnezzar went insane after his destruction of the Temple. According to the Bible, he lived in the wild like an animal for seven years. One wouldn’t want anything like that to happen to our city leaders if they go ahead with plans to pull down Perth City Hall.”
Members of SNP-controlled Perth and Kinross Council voted to bulldoze the City Hall in December 2013, as part of plans to give the so-called “Fair City” a European-style central square.
The proposal, which would come at a cost of £4m, met fierce opposition from all over the country, and a proposal to covert the iconic building into a food hall emerged as the front-runner among many schemes to save it.
However, the plan was thrown out by councillors -- at a behind-closed-doors meeting from which Press and public were excluded.
Various other options have been suggested over the years ranging from a luxury hotel to student accommodation.
In February, the council’s depute chief executive Jim Valentine was charged with exploring “all options” for the hall-- including demolition -- and will report back in the summer.
Heritage quango Historic Scotland -- now known as Historic Environment Scotland -- has previously turned down an application for permission to demolish the hall, calling for better evidence that there was no viable use for it.
The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, one of 19 charities founded by the Prince of Wales made representations to Historic Scotland, made clear in January 2012 that Prince Charles was against the plans to tear down the “much loved” building.