Local Freemasons meet in local Masonic Lodges in Masonic Halls within their community. Members of the approximately 9,000 Masonic lodges in the UK meet in approximately 950 Masonic Halls, some of which have been purpose built and other converted from other buildings such as churches, cinemas, hotels, etc.
In England, all these lodges are grouped around 47 Provincial Grand Lodges, generally based on the old county structure. From there, the Provincial Grand Lodges come under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England, which is based in Queen Street London.
Far from being a united conspiracy propounded by many theorists, Freemasonry quite straight forward. Overseen by the Grand Lodge in each specific country United Grand Lodge of England is the premier Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodges in each country are the administrative function providing a common set of rules and regulations under their jurisdiction.
In most cases, the members of a Grand Lodge have formerly served as Master of one or more of its constituent Lodges and are elected to serve at Grand Masters donating their services to helping with central administration and other clerical services as required.
Every Grand Lodge adheres to the ‘Landmarks’ of Freemasonry – the guiding principles that make up the very heart and core of the craft.
In countries with a relatively small Masonic presence there may be a single National Grand Lodge but if it is more populace then the country may be divided up into regions, as in England with 47 Provincial Grand Lodges.
Each National Grand Lodge is its own sovereign power. There is no higher body or structure; once a National Grand Lodge has been formed. To be accepted into the worldwide Masonic body it must adhere to certain principles. Within these principles it has certain latitude to modify certain aspects of its function such as the .forms the ritual, membership policies, raise or lower dues, alter the structure of Lodge meetings.. Most remain within the rules and regulations of Freemasonry.
Each Lodge within the National or Provincial Grand Lodge area donates a certain amount of money each year to charitable causes. Part of the members annual subscription goes to the National or Provincial Grand Lodge, to pay for any full-time central administrative staff or professionals such as lawyers and accountants. Finance is also required to maintain properties, museums and other projects.
But the greatest single budget item however is almost invariably the money collected from the brethren for charitable causes.