Page 1

The Official Journal of the United Grand Lodge of England


Number 21 ~ Spring 2013


Number 21 ~ Spring 2013

HEALTH OF A NATION Supporting cutting-edge research at the Royal College of Surgeons p42




Take an exclusive tour, p32

Funding worthy causes, p56

A place for older masons, p39



Photography: David Woolfall



have long been fascinated by the study of the source and development of words, and with this comes a realisation that a word can be interpreted in several different ways. I mention this in relation to the challenge of explaining Freemasonry. This is something that remains at the forefront of my mind with all our communications – not least the recent successful media tour. Due to the fact that we are not prescriptive, it is hard to explain Freemasonry while avoiding jargon. This has led us to explain our principles as kindness, honesty, fairness, tolerance and integrity. These words clearly explain our essential nature. As you know, we had an excellent reception from local media and I have valued the feedback and support from fellow members. It is fair to say that some members were surprised at some of the words I used in interviews and this brings me back to my earlier point on how people analyse words. Most interviews were very short, with the interviewer having researched Freemasonry on a strange website. So I used words like ‘fun’ when describing Freemasonry. I would

not change the word in the context that it was said, but what I meant was that I find Freemasonry ‘enjoyable and rewarding’. Another example of describing Freemasonry comes from one of the pieces from our ritual that ends with being happy and communicating that. ‘Happy’ is another word that can mean many things but I know as Freemasons we can embrace it. I hope you will find something to make you feel happy among the features that make up this issue. Worcester Cathedral’s first female stonemason apprentice reveals how masonic support is helping her. As the Royal Arch marks its two-hundredth anniversary in 2013, we look at how members and the chapters are helping the Royal College of Surgeons. And as smaller charities struggle in this economic climate, we shine a light on how Freemasons are helping swimming pools stay open, challenging discrimination and supporting air ambulances. These are all stories that show Freemasonry at its best. Nigel Brown Grand Secretary




The Board of Grand Lodge Publications Ray Reed, Robin Furber, Graham Rudd



Publishing Director Nigel Brown Editorial Panel Karen Haigh, John Hamill, Susan Henderson, John Jackson, Siobhan McCarthy Editor Luke Turton Consultant Editor Michael Baigent


Published by August Media Ltd for The United Grand Lodge of England, Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ


Editorial Freemasonry Today, Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Advertising contact Freemasonry Today, Madison Bell Ltd, 20 Orange Street, London WC2 7EF Will Hurrell Tel: 020 7389 0848 Email: will.hurrell@ Jerry Hall Tel: 07792 909 275 Email: jerry.hall@ Circulation 0844 879 4961 Masonic enquiries 020 7831 9811 Printed by Artisan Press © Grand Lodge Publications Ltd 2013. The opinions herein are those of the authors or persons interviewed only and do not reflect the views of Grand Lodge Publications Ltd, the United Grand Lodge of England or August Media Ltd.


This magazine is printed on paper produced from sustainable managed forests accredited by the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes,

Cover image: Greg Funnell This page: Jude Edgington, Greg Funnell, Derek Kendall, The Advertising Archive, BBC Photo Library







Sophie Radice finds out how the Royal Arch has been supporting the Royal College of Surgeons in groundbreaking new research

Nigel Brown welcomes you to the spring issue

NEWS AND VIEWS The latest masonic news from around the country



Tabby Kinder finds out how Freemason support has helped pave the way for Worcester Cathedral’s first female stonemason



Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes explains why Freemasonry must remember its history while embracing the future




A report from the 2012 Lord Mayor’s Parade, where Freemasons marched in full regalia


REACHING OUT Caitlin Davies looks into how a special new lodge is keeping older Freemasons involved in the Craft




A few years ago the Allied Arts Lodge was on the verge of folding. Tim Arnold explains how his brethren survived and how they’re planning for the future



How Freemasons are helping out around the UK


Contribute to one of the most important compilations ever published about English lodges



A look at how donations from Freemasons across the UK are helping local charities continue their work


Philip Davies investigates the hidden interiors of some of London’s most interesting buildings


Ellie Fazan goes behind the scenes at Freemasons’ Hall to see how the venue balances its film career with the responsibilities of the Craft


Luke Turton meets Les Hutchinson to find out about his work at the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys





Your opinions on the world of Freemasonry



John Hamill reflects on freedom and tolerance 5

honouring tradition



Photography: Jude Edgington


Emily Draper, twenty-six, is Worcester Cathedral’s first female stonemason apprentice. Tabby Kinder finds out how Freemason support has helped Emily to carve out a dream career




The risk paid off when, in August last year, Emily beat forty-five other applicants to win the apprenticeship at Worcester Cathedral. ‘The head of my course recommended I went for it, but I didn’t think I’d hear back. It was nerve-wracking. When I found out I had been shortlisted, I was over the moon.’ For Darren, Emily stood out as a strong candidate: ‘We had a tremendous amount of interest in the apprenticeship, but Emily came out on top as she showed the passion and enthusiasm in stonemasonry as a career that I was looking for.’



erched on a dusty block of stone, Emily is fresh-faced and buoyed from the morning’s assessment with her tutor from City of Bath College. It’s just a few degrees above freezing in the drafty workshop that leans against the south-east side of Worcester Cathedral, but Emily doesn’t seem to mind. Clasping a chisel in her gloved hand, she absent-mindedly smudges dust on her fleece with the other. ‘I didn’t know whether to dress up or not for the photos,’ she says, ‘so I just wore my normal work stuff.’ Chatting to a colleague, a man about twenty years her senior, Emily is charming and sincere. Her youthful presence and the jovial atmosphere of the workshop contrast with the dignified serenity of the cathedral. ‘It’s my dream job,’ she enthuses later, now in the warmth of the on-site office. Her face flushes with the pride she has in her newfound career; it’s her passion for the trade that won her the position as Worcester Cathedral’s first female stonemason apprentice.

THE RIGHT FIT Funded by local Freemasons and the Grand Charity, Emily currently splits her time between the cathedral, where she is learning the intricacies of sculpting stone under the tutorage of master mason Darren Steele, and City of Bath College, where she studies the theoretical methods of stonemasonry two days a week. When asked about her decision to pursue an apprenticeship in stonemasonry, Emily says: ‘I think it just arrived in my consciousness one day. I’ve always been interested in history, and Worcester Cathedral has always been in the back of my mind because I was brought up near here.’ Emily’s professional journey began after she completed a degree in Fine Art from The Arts University College at Bournemouth. She enrolled in the stonemasonry diploma at City of Bath College, balancing work and college while driving the seventy-five miles between the two. ‘It was a lot to deal with, especially when you don’t know whether you’ll end up with a job,’ she says. ‘It was a risk, but definitely a calculated risk. I hoped that if I worked really hard it would make me employable.’


Although Emily’s grandfather died when she was just twelve, she credits him as the main influence in her career path. ‘He was a mechanical engineer and an illustrator, so his trade was very hands-on and creative – but also industrious. It’s clear I get a lot of my passion for stonemasonry from him,’ she says. Coincidentally, Emily’s grandfather was also a Freemason at a chapter in Devon. For Emily, the fact that Freemasons are providing the funding for her apprenticeship proves she is on the right track: ‘I’ve got the chance to do something that is not only personally fulfilling but also makes my family proud. I only have memories of my granddad from when I was a child, but my work brings me very close to him as I feel like it’s something that he would have liked me to do. It’s a career that’s very close to my heart.’ Restoring a cathedral as grand in size and splendour as Worcester is an endless task. ‘By the time you’ve gone half way round, the bit behind you has started falling apart again,’ says Darren. The work being carried out is particularly impressive because the conservation team at Worcester Cathedral does not use power tools at any stage of the restoration process. Even for the stonemason industry, Emily says, this is rare: ‘It’s sometimes frustrating, but very fulfilling creating something that matters using your hands.’

SECURING THE FUTURE OF THE CATHEDRAL Over the past twenty-three years, the entire exterior of Worcester Cathedral, including the chapter house and cloisters, has been systematically restored. The huge project, which began in 1988, first focused on strengthening the tower, then the cathedral’s Works Department moved in a clockwise direction around the rest of the building. The last major restoration project finished in 1874, so the task

had to ensure the building could face the next hundred years. A special thanksgiving service was held in September 2011 to commemorate the completion of the work, which cost £10m in total. More than £7m was raised by public appeal and around £3m was received in grants from English Heritage, the Wolfson Foundation, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Worcester and other grant-making bodies.


Emily with the cathedral’s master mason, Darren Steele, under whose tutorage she is learning the craft of stonemasonry



‘YOU BENEFIT FROM HAVING A HANDS-ON APPROACH AS YOU RESPECT THE STONE MORE. YOU WANT TO MAKE IT PERFECT’ Using traditional techniques means that achieving something as straightforward as a flat surface becomes an art form in itself for Emily and her team. ‘In order to actually work something by hand and make something that is technically perfect, you have to have respect for the building,’ she says. ‘There’s an argument that you can get the same job done twice as fast by using power tools, but I think it’s important to keep traditional hand skills alive. In a building like this you benefit from having a hands-on approach as you respect the stone more. You want to make it perfect.’

LOFTY AMBITIONS In 2010, Darren and his counterparts founded the Cathedral Workshop Fellowship, a partnership of eight Anglican cathedrals – Worcester, Gloucester, Lincoln, Canterbury, York Minster, Winchester, Salisbury and Durham – created to develop the professional training of new and experienced stonemasons. This unique community, of which Prince Charles is patron, has developed a qualification championing traditional hand crafts, as well as an exchange programme to allow apprentices to move between the country’s cathedrals to try working on different types of stone. Darren has arranged for Emily to spend a fortnight at Salisbury Cathedral in the spring to hone her carving, a skill in which she has shown promise. For the past twenty years, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Worcestershire has aimed to ensure that Worcester Cathedral always has an apprentice stonemason in training. It’s a worthy ambition but also costly – £25,000 over five years. Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire Richard Goddard says: ‘I think it’s very important that we support our heritage and also our roots. We have had a close relationship with the cathedral for more than one hundred and fifty years and it’s something we should continue to support.’ Emily’s first major contribution to the restoration of the cathedral is a large restorative phase on the library parapet wall. She took a sixteenth-century weather-worn coping stone and reworked and replaced it. Emily’s still coming to terms with the sheer scale of work her job entails, but the rewards of contributing to a piece of history make it more than worthwhile. ‘I thrive on the pressure of working with the knowledge that whatever I add could be there for another thousand years.’


Emily in the cathedral with Richard Goddard, Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire (left), and her mentor Darren Steele

MASONIC LEGACY Freemasonry in Worcestershire has a long connection with the cathedral, and the masons contributed greatly to the restoration in Victorian times. The west end of the north aisle of the cathedral is the home of a floor slab monument commemorating Bishop Ernest Harold Pearce, a Freemason and the founding Master of St Werstan Lodge, No. 4004, in 1919. He was appointed Grand Chaplain to the United Grand Lodge of England in 1914. The last window in the north wall before the north transept, dating back to 1862, shows three stained-glass figures. The figures represent Fides, Spes and Caritas, which translate as faith, hope and charity – the three principles that are supported by Freemasonry. The lower panels of the window also contain masonic symbols.


STRENGTH TO STRENGTH Reflecting on the need to recruit new members, Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes explains why Freemasonry should remember its history while keeping an eye firmly on the future

Photography: Laurie Fletcher


aving finished the two yearly regional conferences with Provincial Grand Masters, I can report that one consistent theme was a determination to see our numbers on the increase by 2017. Indeed, in one or two cases this has already started, which means that perhaps we are getting some things right. I have frequently said that we must not be looking for new candidates simply for the sake of increasing numbers, but if we can start this increase with the right candidates there should be a knock-on effect. Enthusing new members is of paramount importance and we heard in the last issue from Edward Lord and Julian Soper about the work of the Universities Scheme. I have asked the Universities Scheme Committee to think about how we can best implement some of the principles that were mentioned across the whole Craft. Recruiting and retaining young candidates is our most important task and I am confident that those who have made the Universities Scheme successful can help us with this important challenge. However, this is not just down to them and we must all pull our weight in this respect.


At the end of last year, I visited my great grandfather’s mother lodge in Hertfordshire – and a splendid occasion it was, with a nearly faultless

Second Degree ceremony being performed. I can almost hear you all thinking that they would have spent hours rehearsing. Not so, as they didn’t know that I was coming. The reason for mentioning this is that in the reply for the visitors, the brother speaking referred to the Craft as an altruistic society. Altruism is one of those words that I have often heard used and possibly even used myself without having been completely sure of its meaning. The dictionary definition is ‘regard for others as a principle of action’ and it’s rather a good description for a lot of what Freemasonry is about. If we can instil this ethos into our candidates, we won’t go far wrong. Of course, it is not all that we are about, but it is not a bad starting point as it should naturally lead to a practice of brotherly love, relief and truth, which in itself leads on to our charitable giving. During the past year, the Festivals for our charities in our Provinces have raised a total of nearly £10m, of which Leicestershire and Rutland raised £1.7m for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution; Warwickshire raised £3.16m for the Masonic Samaritan Fund; Cambridgeshire raised £1.285m for the Grand Charity; and Devonshire raised £3.836m for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. I hope that our membership, as a whole, is far more familiar with the activities of our charities than might have been the case twenty or so years ago. The charities’ promotion of their activities is excellent and the Freemasonry Cares campaign has enlightened many people at home and abroad about what support is available. While three of our charities are masonic in their giving, the Grand Charity has a wide brief for giving to non-masonic bodies, provided that they are also charities. Not everyone appreciates this aspect, or how much money is involved, and we should be quick to point it out. We should be proud of our history, but it is of paramount importance that we look forward and ensure that we go from strength to strength in the future, in both numbers and our usefulness to the society in which we live.





As the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys celebrates its two hundred and twentyfifth year, Chief Executive Les Hutchinson explains how the charity has evolved

Photography: Greg Funnell



In the 1980s the face of masonic charitable support for children underwent a major change. Previously there had been two children’s charities – a girls’ charity and a boys’ charity – and they had come together to form the trust as we now know it. Having identified a need for additional skills within the new organisation, a letter was sent to every masonic Province asking: ‘Do any of your members have a son or daughter who is educated to A-level standard, capable of completing a degree and interested in a career in accountancy or management?’ My father was an active Freemason in Cheshire and North Wales and heard about the vacancies. I applied and joined the trust as a management trainee in January 1988.

I spent my first few years learning the ropes within the finance, petitions and fundraising departments. At the end of my training I was drawn to petitions, as I enjoyed being at the heart of the charity, seeing firsthand the difference that our grants could make. A few years later I became a team leader, then worked my way through the ranks, taking on more responsibility as my career developed. All four masonic charities do a fantastic job, but my heart is with the trust. I was delighted to be appointed Chief Executive in 2008.

WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS? Until five years ago, the trust was based in offices opposite Freemasons’ Hall. When I first walked into the building, with its polished walnut panelling and open fireplaces, I felt like I had travelled back in time. It all seemed so old-fashioned, but the constant rattle of typewriters and adding machines suggested that the trust was a very active and focused organisation.

WHAT MAJOR CHALLENGES DOES THE RMTGB CURRENTLY FACE? Whether they have experienced the death or disability of a parent, or encountered a family break-up, all the children we help have experienced a significant event that has led to financial distress. It concerns me when I meet Freemasons or their families who hold deeprooted misconceptions about our work. Often these views prevent them from coming forward in their hour of need or make them less likely to support our work. One of our biggest challenges is to ensure that people understand what we actually do.






In addition to the day-to-day management of the charity and reviewing applications for support, an important part of my role involves visiting lodges and provincial meetings. Festival appeals are a major source of income and under the current system, each Province usually supports each of the four charities once every forty years. I must ensure that we use this period of fundraising to maximum effect. Wherever I go I am always astonished and very grateful for the warmth and generosity shown towards the trust.

We are currently helping around two thousand children and young people and last year we received the highest number of new applications since 1986. Applications arising from redundancy, bankruptcy and unemployment are all increasing, as they did during previous recessions. Families often turn to us only when they reach breaking point; we would always prefer them to contact us as soon as possible. It is tragic when we are alerted to children whose wellbeing has suffered because the family assumed we could not help or they were too proud to contact us.

HAS THE TYPE OF SUPPORT YOU GIVE CHANGED? During my twenty-five years with the trust, the focus of our work has evolved to meet the changing needs of our masonic family, but there are those who think we exist simply to provide a posh education for posh kids. This is one misconception that we have to overcome. More than ninety per cent of the children we support go to a state school and live at home. We have also worked hard to identify how we can more effectively help children of distressed Freemasons succeed in life and today many of our grants target specific items like computers and school trips. In some circumstances, we also support the grandchildren of Freemasons, something that is not widely known within the Craft.

HOW ARE FAMILIES ASSESSED? All our support is subject to a financial test. A family has to have a very low income – less than £5,000 a year to receive our maximum support – and nothing that we give replaces what the state should provide. Our welfare specialists help families look at what state benefits they can claim, and we review the circumstances of every family that we support each year. First and foremost we are a poverty charity.


HOW DO THE FOUR MASONIC CHARITIES WORK TOGETHER? In my view, the cooperation and understanding between the charities is closer now than it ever has been. We are all fundraising within the same group and supporting the same beneficiaries – albeit at different points in their lives. Sometimes there could be two or three masonic charities supporting the same family, so it made sense for us to move closer together. Our relocation into offices in Freemasons’ Hall helped with this process, as has the use of a single application form. We are also far more proactive and consistent in our support for almoners and charity stewards.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE RMTGB? Two hundred and twenty-five years have passed since the establishment of the first charity for supporting children of Freemasons. When you look back at what we have achieved, the hundreds of thousands of young people we have helped, you realise how important the trust’s work is. The needs of our masonic family will continue to change and, working ever closer with the other masonic charities, we must prepare ourselves for the challenges of the years ahead.


Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini leads a procession of orphaned girls into Grand Lodge


Les Hutchinson would like families to ask for help before they reach breaking point

The mission of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) is: ‘To relieve poverty and advance the education of children of a masonic family and, when funds permit, support other children in need.’ This year, the charity celebrates its two hundred and twenty-fifth birthday and can reflect on a shifting social landscape that has nevertheless seen the RMTGB stay true to its aims. In 1788, Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini and the Duchess of Cumberland set up a school for the daughters of distressed masons. A similar provision for boys was established in 1798. As these charities grew, financial assistance was also provided to support children living at home. Eventually these grants constituted the main work of the charities and a decision was made to move away from running schools altogether. A combined grantmaking charity, now known as the RMTGB, became active in 1986. Today the RMTGB provides help to children and young people by awarding financial grants to relieve poverty and help remove barriers to education. In recent years, schemes such as TalentAid and Choral Bursaries have been established to support exceptionally gifted young people. Initiatives such as Stepping Stones and the ongoing support for Lifelites (Registered Charity No. 1115655) demonstrate the RMTGB’s commitment to thousands of other disadvantaged children without a masonic connection. To find out more about the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, visit


Photography: Richard Baker/In Pictures/Corbis


Freemasons in full regalia receive a warm reception


At almost eight-hundred years old, the Lord Mayor’s Show is a part of London’s history. In 2012, Freemasons joined the parade in full regalia


he inauguration of the Lord Mayor of the City of London and the associated public parade, known as the Lord Mayor’s Show, is a keenly anticipated annual event. In 2012, the six hundred and eighty-fifth Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Roger Gifford, took office on 9 November in the Silent Ceremony, before leaving the City of London the following morning to travel to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear loyalty to the Crown. It’s a procession that dates back to 1215 when King John made the Mayor of London one of England’s first elected offices. Every year the newly elected mayor would have to present himself at court and swear loyalty, travelling up-river to the small town of Westminster to give his oath. The Lord Mayor has made that journey almost every year since, despite plague, fire and wars, in order to pledge loyalty to thirty-four kings and queens of England. Freemasons have been part of the procession in the Lord Mayor’s Show for a number of years, but last year, for the first time since 1937, the brethren marched in full regalia with their own banners as well as a group banner. Each sponsoring lodge had its name and number on its banner together with an area of need supported by masonic charities in London. With a positive reception from the crowd and – reasonably – good weather for November, this was a day to remember for those marching and viewing.



London Hidden Interiors author Philip Davies gives an exclusive tour around some of the capital’s best conserved and least known interiors – including Freemasons’ Hall



Aldwych Underground Station opened as Strand on 30 November 1907, rechristened Aldwych in 1915. An oddity from its inception, the Aldwych branch operated a shuttle service between Holborn and Strand; various extensions were envisaged, so the station was built, but they never came to fruition, leaving Aldwych as a dead end. Built on the site of the old Royal Strand Theatre, the station was designed by Leslie Green using the familiar ox-blood terracotta blocks. Three lift shafts were completed in the expectation of expansion, but only one was fitted out with lifts, which still survive. As early as 1917, the eastern tunnel and platform were closed, and used as secure wartime storage for pictures from The National Gallery. After the First World War, passenger demand remained low, and closure was mooted as early as 1933. From 1940 to 1946 the station was used as an air-raid shelter, and the tunnels for storing the Elgin Marbles and other valuables from the British Museum. The station finally closed on 3 October 1994. Today it is used for training and as a film location, with old tube stock permanently stationed at the branch. It is reputedly haunted by an actress from the theatre that once occupied the site.


Aldwych Station, designed by Leslie Green, was originally called Strand (top); the eerie, abandoned tunnels (bottom)




Photography: Derek Kendall and Ian Bell


The sumptuous interiors of Freemasons’ Hall, which is faced in Portland stone (top and middle); the Grand Temple (bottom)

Known as the Masonic Peace Memorial, Freemasons’ Hall was built as a tribute to its 3,000 members killed in the First World War. Its design is the result of an international architectural competition launched in 1925, won by Henry Victor Ashley and Francis Winton Newman, who had extensive experience designing banks, factories, housing and hospital extensions. The Grand Lodge of England had been based in Great Queen Street since 1774, where Thomas Sandby designed the first purpose-built Masonic Hall in the country in the form of a Roman Doric temple embellished with masonic symbols. Originally Ashley and Newman intended to retain Sandby’s hall, but it was demolished in March 1932 after serious defects were found. The gigantic new complex was faced in Portland stone and designed on an heroic scale. No expense was spared on the sumptuous interior, which is finished in neoGrecian style in marble, bronze, mosaic and stained glass imbued with masonic symbolism. Set on a diagonal axis, the ground floor comprises the grand entrance hall and museum, and a marble staircase lit by full-height stainedglass windows leads to a huge marble-lined vestibule. Facing west is the war memorial window and Roll of Honour, which is housed in a bronze casket by Walter Gilbert, who designed most of the metalwork in the building. The awe-inspiring Grand Temple – entered through bronze doors each weighing 1.25 tons – is crowned by a celestial canopy surrounded by a mosaic cornice, which depicts allegorical figures with different orders of classical architecture. Elsewhere, the Boardroom is panelled in hardwood and lit with stained glass, while Lodge Room No. 10 has huge arched bays carrying a domed roof.





Some of the worst poverty in London was previously to be found yards from the site of Freemasons’ Hall. The shocking mortality rates of Victorian Britain prompted the less fortunate to form burial clubs, so they could afford a decent funeral for their loved ones as an alternative to the pauper’s grave. The early societies were unregulated. Many collapsed from mismanagement or fraud, but a number of reputable societies emerged, one of which was the Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society. Formed as a burial society in 1843, its business was based on ‘penny policies’ collected door-to-door. Like several other societies, Liverpool Victoria grew into a huge financial institution, the sheer opulence of its building rivalling those of the great banks. Victoria House, the headquarters of Liverpool Victoria, involved the clearance of an entire street block of Georgian houses on the east side of Bloomsbury Square, making way for the huge Grecian-style, Beaux Arts palace. Designed by Charles W Long and erected over thirteen years between 1921 and 1934, it exuded the twin values of dignity and security, as expected of the headquarters of the great financial institutions. Beneath the heroic marble entrance hall is a large basement ballroom, fitted out in Art Deco style with chrome, silver leaf and mauve-coloured lighting – a sharp contrast to the chaste Greek classicism of the upper floors. A suite of mahoganypanelled Grecian-style boardrooms are found on the third floor, some of which have eighteenthcentury marble chimney pieces salvaged from the houses that once stood on the site. Shortlisted in 1998 as a potential new City Hall for the Mayor of London, it was refurbished by Will Alsop, retaining the historic interiors.

The Grecian-style exterior and marble entrance hall of Victoria House (top and middle); the Art Deco-style ballroom (bottom)




Founded in 1901 by the optician J H Sutcliffe, the British Optical Association Museum is now hosted by the College of Optometrists, after a peripatetic existence over the past one hundred years. It was first opened to the public in 1914 at Clifford’s Inn Hall, prompted by Sutcliffe’s desire to establish ‘An Optical House Beautiful’ in line with the fashionable concepts of the Aesthetic Movement. Later it moved to Brook Street and then to Earl’s Court before arriving at its current location in 1997, a fine early-Georgian house built c1730, with a replica extension erected in 1988. Sutcliffe’s legacy is a quirky collection of more than eighteen thousand items relating to ophthalmic optics, the human eye and visual aids, as well as archival material, paintings and prints. The museum display is a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new objects, including the spectacles of famous personalities from Dr Johnson to Ronnie Corbett, and the sides of Dr Crippen’s glasses, the lenses missing after he tried to use them to cut his own throat in prison in a failed suicide attempt. The cabinets house an extensive collection of porcelain eyebaths, binoculars, spyglasses and jealousy glasses with sideways mirrors to allow the owner to discreetly eye up potential suitors. Look for the dark adaptation goggles with red lenses used by Second World War pilots to adjust their night vision prior to take off, and the early revolving self-service cabinet of spectacles made by the Automatic Sight Testing and Optical Supply Co Ltd in 1889.


The museum is full of ophthalmic curios, from celebrities’ spectacles to early night-vision goggles (top); the Georgian facade (bottom)





The shop is stocked with an array of canes, sticks and umbrellas (top); the beautifully preserved Victorian exterior (bottom)

In 1830, James Smith established this famous firm of umbrella makers in Foubert’s Place, off Regent Street. In 1857, his son opened a shop at 53 New Oxford Street, followed rapidly by six other businesses elsewhere in London, including a hatter and barbershop. From their branch in the tiny passageway at Savile Row they sold umbrellas to many of the leading figures of their day, including Lord Curzon and Bonar Law. The company was one of the first to use the famous Fox steel frames, named after Samuel Fox, who created the first steel umbrella frame in 1848. In addition to umbrellas, Smith’s has specialised in making canes and military swagger sticks, as well as bespoke items such as ceremonial maces for tribal chiefs in South Africa, Nigeria and elsewhere. The superb shopfront and interior is a beautifully preserved example of a high-class Victorian West End shop, with cast-iron cresting to the faceted gilt and glass fascias, inscribed brass sills, elaborate black and gilt lettering to the upper panels of the windows and a splendid traditional box sign. Inside, the original mahogany counters and display cases are stocked with an array of canes, sticks and umbrellas, most of which are still manufactured in the basement. James Smith & Sons is the largest and oldest umbrella shop in Europe, and its shopfront and interior one of the landmarks of central London. London Hidden Interiors by Philip Davies is an English Heritage book published by Atlantic Publishing, £40, available from booksellers everywhere. All pictures courtesy of English Heritage.




As the Universities Scheme recruits younger members, Caitlin Davies reports on how older Freemasons are staying involved in the Craft


Photography: Rengim Mutevellioglu/Getty Images. Image used for illustration purposes only

hree years ago, Steward Philip Hadlow heard some interesting news. Plans were afoot for a new lodge in Bedfordshire, one that would be geared towards keeping elderly Freemasons involved in the Craft. ‘The Provincial Grand Master, Michael Sawyer, and the provincial team realised we were not doing enough for our more elderly brethren,’ he explains. ‘Many have mobility problems, which means it’s difficult getting to meetings. We were looking after them when they were ill, supporting their family, but there was a need for something more proactive.’ In recent years Freemasonry has been keen to recruit younger members, but that doesn’t mean elders should be forgotten. And so Bedfordshire’s youngest lodge, the Michael Sawyer Lodge of Reunion, No. 9848, was born. Philip became involved because he thought it a ‘fantastic idea’. The lodge began in 2009 and meets twice a year on a Saturday lunchtime, as some people are not keen to eat late or to go out at night at all. Philip doesn’t know of any similar scheme, and there’s been interest in the project from other Provinces. While some members were already being picked up and taken to meetings by younger members, the lodge wanted to do more. So people were identified, sent invitations and offered travel arrangements – in some cases for a fifty-mile round trip.



‘WHEN THEY COME OUT WITH A SMILE ON THEIR FACE AND SAY, “THANK YOU SO MUCH, I’VE HAD A WONDERFUL TIME”, THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT’ Philip Hadlow The lodge doesn’t do masonic work – meetings open with a welcome, then a lecture and the Festive Board. One of the annual meetings is held in Luton, the other in another Bedfordshire centre. John Cathrine, Provincial Information Officer, is a founder member of the Michael Sawyer Lodge and last year’s Worshipful Master. ‘It’s such a great idea. It’s something that was missing from our Province. People get to the stage where they can’t drive to meetings and they drift away from masonry.’

John cites a past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Vic Lawrence, who lives at Prince Michael of Kent Court, a Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution care home. ‘He came to the previous meeting and he wanted to make a speech at the Festive Board. He said it was really great to be invited and see old friends, all of whom he said looked older than him!’ Freemasonry in Bedfordshire traces its history back to at least 1841, when the Bedfordshire Lodge of St John the Baptist was consecrated in Luton. By the time the Province celebrated its centenary, there were forty-five lodges; there are now fifty-five. At the last meeting of the Lodge of Reunion there were sixty people, including twenty honoured guests. ‘It takes time to get something like this off the ground,’ says Philip, who was Chief Steward for two years, ‘but it’s getting bigger every meeting.’ Lodge members pay annual dues to cover being a member and having two guests. ‘It’s funded until the honoured guests outnumber us two to one. It means we can treat them well. You see them sitting there opposite their friends, and they’re having a whale of a time. When they come out with a smile on their face and say, “Thank you so much, I’ve had a wonderful time”, that’s what it’s all about.’ John is delighted by the letters of thanks that the lodge receives. ‘One brother is ninety-five and not able to get out much. We’ll invite him to the next meeting for a nice day out. The letters we get say the principles and ethos of the lodge are exactly in line with what we should be doing – taking care of those who could be sidelined and forgotten.’


Photography: Anna Bryukhanova/Getty Images. Image used for illustration purposes only



Photography: Greg Funnell



As the Royal Arch marks its two-hundredth anniversary in 2013, Sophie Radice looks at how members and the chapters have been supporting the Royal College of Surgeons in groundbreaking medical research




‘SCHEMES SUCH AS THE SURGICAL RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP ARE INVALUABLE FOR SURGEONS’ William Dawes and bleed. The younger and smaller the baby, the higher the risk. Our research will look at ways of making the cells that survive the bleed perform better so that the damage will be minimised.’



t the Blizard Institute of Cell and Molecular Science in London, William Dawes is trying to find out how to lessen the damage done to premature newborn babies who have suffered a stroke. Part of the surgical research fellowships scheme run by the Royal College of Surgeons, Dawes is just one of the medical pioneers in the UK whose work has been funded by Freemasons. From investigating how to prevent acute kidney injury during major heart surgery through to exploring how to decrease mortality rates following traumatic brain injury, the fellowships scheme will be benefitting from financial support given by the Royal Arch Masons 2013 Bicentenary Appeal. The fundraising exercise aims to provide a permanent reminder of the Supreme Grand Chapter’s full emergence two hundred years ago by its future relationship with the Royal College of Surgeons. ‘Schemes such as the surgical research fellowship are invaluable for surgeons,’ says Dawes, who is also being supported by Sparks, the children’s medical charity. ‘The research we have been funded for will look at ways of lessening the damage done to the brains of premature newborns who have bleeding into the ventricles of the brain. Our focus is a collection of tiny, fragile blood vessels in the germinal matrix, which is the area of brain adjacent to the wall of the ventricles. These blood vessels are vulnerable to fluctuations in blood flow, which can cause them to rupture

William Dawes is working on vital medical research at the Blizard Institute in London, thanks to funding from the Royal Arch Masons

Dawes trained in Leeds and then Liverpool before moving to London, and is now at the Blizard Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine doing a PhD. ‘I knew very little about Freemasons until I discovered how much money they give to surgical research. I have since given presentations to chapters and have found the Freemasons I’ve met to be so supportive. It has been a real pleasure to speak to them about what we are trying to do – we are extremely grateful for their generosity,’ he says. The Royal College of Surgeons launched the surgical research fellowships scheme to enable the brightest and best surgeons of each generation to explore treatments for conditions and injuries that affect millions of people worldwide. The scheme relies completely on voluntary donations from individuals, trusts and legacies, and needs more funding to continue the number of worthy research projects supported. George Francis, Second Grand Principal of the Royal Arch Masons and Chairman of the appeal, explains: ‘In 1966, the Eleventh Earl of Scarbrough, as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, launched an appeal to mark the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Grand Lodge in 1717. The income from the appeal was given to the Royal College of Surgeons. We are so proud of our contribution to surgical research that it seemed natural that our 2013 Bicentenary Appeal should go into funding more research. We hope to raise well over £1,000,000.’ Professor Derek Alderson, Chairman of the Academic and Research Board at the Royal College of Surgeons, adds: ‘We feel it important that donors should understand exactly what is being done with their money, so in the past twelve months research fellows, supported by officers of the College, have made more than forty presentations to a variety of masonic bodies. We never have any problems finding young surgeons to talk about their research, but I suspect that this says more about masonic hospitality than anything else.’



Like William Dawes, Nishith Patel and Angelos Kolias have made presentations to chapters throughout the UK to discuss their vital research work

BODIES OF WORK NISHITH PATEL RESEARCH TITLE: ACUTE KIDNEY INJURY FOLLOWING HEART SURGERY LOCATION: BRISTOL HEART INSTITUTE, BRISTOL ROYAL INFIRMARY ‘I first heard about the fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons and I jumped at the chance to apply. It is very competitive, with a four-part application process, because so many surgeons want the chance to kick-start vital research in their surgical area. ‘We are looking at the way two different methods can prevent acute kidney injury during major heart surgery. The first method is a drug trial and the second is to put the blood through an automated washer during surgery to prevent organ injury. We looked at the blood used in blood transfusions and found that some of it had gone off because it had been stored too long. Putting blood through an automated washer to remove toxins could be very useful for all those who need blood transfusions and so that has become part of our research too. ‘I was surprised that the Freemasons funded these fellowships because I knew very little about them. I have since given presentations to small groups of Freemasons and found that they not only asked very detailed and intelligent questions but that they also seem to really appreciate and understand our work when we explain it to them. I have found the Freemasons to be very decent and down-to-earth people who are open to hearing complex medical explanations, which is very refreshing. I so appreciate the opportunity they have given me.’


Angelos Kolias, pictured above, is looking into whether the blockage of large veins inside the head contributes to brain swelling after head injuries

ANGELOS KOLIAS RESEARCH TITLE: TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY: THE ROLE OF VEINS LOCATION: ADDENBROOKE’S HOSPITAL AND UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE ‘I heard about the fellowship from my supervisor, Peter Hutchinson, who was himself supported by a Freemasons fellowship during his PhD. Peter is now a reader and honorary consultant in neurosurgery at the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. ‘Head injuries still claim the highest toll in terms of lost lives and disability for those under the age of forty. The aim of my research project is to examine whether blockage of the large veins inside the head is contributing to the brain swelling after head injuries. Research in patients suffering from another condition that leads to high pressure inside the head has shown that quite a few of these patients have blockage of the veins. A novel way of dealing with this problem is the insertion of a stent, which is an artificial tube, inside the blocked vein. As a result of this, the pressure inside the head is reduced and the patient gets better. This treatment was developed in Cambridge about ten years ago. ‘Essentially, my research project aims to find out whether a similar mechanism applies to patients with severe head injuries. So far we have some promising results showing that about one-third of those who have a severe head injury and skull fracture develop blockage of the veins. Without the help of the Freemasons, we would not have been able to undertake this kind of research – we are very grateful for all their help and support.’


Photography: BBC Photo Library


Freemasons’ Hall starred as the MI5 headquarters in TV spy drama Spooks



HALL OF FAME From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Spooks, the stunning corridors, Grand Temple and distinctive exteriors of Freemasons’ Hall have played a crucial supporting role on screen. Ellie Fazan goes behind the scenes


FILMING AT FREEMASONS’ HALL Matt Damon in the ‘dilapidated’ Hall


Photography: Universal Pictures/The Kobal Collection


n 2009 a member of the public, concerned by the presence of American soldiers loitering on the steps of Freemasons’ Hall, phoned the police in panic. Had the relationship between the UK and US broken down? Were the soldiers about to declare the Hall a forward operations base? ‘We were filming with Matt Damon for Green Zone,’ remembers Karen Haigh, Head of Events, who has overseen the film career of Freemasons’ Hall thus far. While things can get surreal, her first priority is to ensure filming does not obstruct the Hall’s primary function. So while Matt Damon was saving the world downstairs, meetings were going on upstairs as usual. Karen has been working with Jenny Cooper from Film London to promote Freemasons’ Hall as a location. Funded by the Mayor of London and The National Lottery through the British Film Institute, and supported by the Arts Council England and Creative Skillset, Film London operates as the city’s film agency. It works to promote London as a major international production centre, attracting investment from Hollywood and beyond. The agency looks after the capital’s most iconic backdrops, including The Savoy hotel and King’s Cross St Pancras station, but the Hall has also become a star, playing MI5’s base, gentlemen’s clubs and even Buckingham Palace. ‘Its versatile nature and flexible, friendly management, as well as the unique and lavish interior and central London location, have made it a firm favourite over the past ten years,’ says Cooper. In 2012 Film London launched a tiered membership scheme, of which Freemasons’ Hall is a Gold Member, but the relationship goes back much further. Cooper explains: ‘Around seven years ago we got organisations, including the United Grand Lodge of England, to agree to work with Film London in promoting the city as a film-friendly destination.’ The response has been ‘tremendous’ with a notable rise in filming in London, where seventy-five per cent of the UK industry is now based, making it the third busiest production city behind New York and LA. So expect sightings of US soldiers and alien landings to become more common on Great Queen Street.


These days you’re almost as likely to see Robert Downey Jr in Freemasons’ Hall as another Freemason. Karen Haigh picks her top five films and TV shows at the Hall over the past ten years 1. GREEN ZONE (2010) The high-octane war thriller starring Matt Damon used the Hall as a bombed-out palace in Baghdad. For this role the building had a bit of a make-under, with debris everywhere and blown-out wires hanging from walls. ‘It was a great example of how even when a huge Hollywood production is here, our first priority is that the Hall can function for its members,’ says Karen. ‘So while Matt Damon was running around saving the world downstairs, there was a big provincial meeting going on upstairs.’




Photography: BBC Photo Library, Silver Pictures/The Kobal Collection, Movie Store Collection, Capital Pictures

Matthew Macfadyen, Miranda Raison and Peter Firth on Great Queen Street

2. SPOOKS (2002-2011)


Freemasons’ Hall played MI5 headquarters Thames House in this clever and compelling spy drama, focusing on the undercover work of a team of super spies. ‘It was amazing to have a starring role in such a groundbreaking TV show. It showcased the Hall in such a fabulous way,’ recalls Karen. The only downside of being so involved in the production of the show, she says, was that the traditional end-of-series cliffhanger never had quite the same impact for her.

Some of the exhilarating scenes of the first Sherlock Holmes movie, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr, were filmed in the Hall. ‘Guy Ritchie had been to the Grand Lodge before and really wanted to use it as a location,’ Karen reminisces. ‘You could see during filming that it was going to be really good.’ Karen and her team built such a strong relationship with the film-makers during shooting that the star-studded press conference was held at the Hall on the day of the premiere.

Rowan Atkinson as Johnny English

3. JOHNNY ENGLISH (2003) Peter Howitt’s action comedy parodies the James Bond franchise, with Rowan Atkinson playing an inept spy. The opening credits take a veritable tour of the building. ‘It was such a fun film and there was a lovely atmosphere. Rowan Atkinson is a British institution, and for many of our members he is the most exciting actor that we have had here,’ says Karen. ‘I think it was the first time I thought, this could really work. Film London gave us lots of support, because they knew we had potential as a film location.’


Robert Downey Jr on set as Holmes

John Malkovich inside the Grand Temple

5. THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (2005) Douglas Adams’ comedy tells the story of hapless Arthur Dent after aliens destroy Earth. The Grand Temple took on its first starring role, as the Nose, the base for John Malkovich’s character. ‘I carefully pick the films that shoot here,’ says Karen. ‘This film is very tongue-in-cheek and seemed a wonderful way of saying that we can laugh at what people say about us. We built a great relationship with Disney, so they held the premiere party here.’



n 2012, donations to charity in the UK fell by twenty per cent, with £1.7bn less being given by British people between 2011 and 2012. A report by the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations suggests that small and medium sized charities are suffering most as voluntary donations – rather than National Lottery or state funding – tend to make up a larger proportion of their total income. The report, which surveyed 3,000 people, says that charities in Britain now face a ‘deeply worrying’ financial situation. The Freemasons recognise the importance of supporting smaller charities. These charities may be small, but their projects and services can provide lifelines for people – meeting very specific needs that fulfil priorities often overlooked by the public sector and larger charities. Since 1981 The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated more than £50 million to national charities, with grants going towards funding medical research, helping vulnerable people and supporting youth opportunities. It now sets aside £100,000 every year for small donations of between £500 and £5,000 to under-funded causes around the country, which often prove vital to their continued operation. The charity’s allocation for providing minor grants to small charities doubled from £50,000 to £100,000 in 2010 following a marked increase in the number of applications the charity was receiving from smaller organisations. ‘It was clear that the increase in applications was a result of the economic climate,


with smaller charities finding themselves worse off,’ says Laura Chapman, Chief Executive of the Grand Charity, pleased by the decision to increase the grant budget. ‘It meant we could reach out to more smaller charities, making a bigger impact during what has clearly been a difficult year.’ Helping small and community-focused causes is not just the domain of the Grand Charity. Local Provinces and lodges donated a huge amount to charity in 2012, around £5 million of which was reported by local newspapers. ‘Freemasons are community-minded and this is demonstrated by the local lodges that frequently donate to smaller charities,’ says Laura. Neil Potter, Provincial Information Officer at the Provincial Grand Lodge of Nottinghamshire, believes that contributing to small causes is not only hugely beneficial to the community, but is also a way for Freemasons to show what they stand for. ‘Charitable giving is a great opportunity to break down the barriers that seem to have been put up over the years regarding the public and masonic relationship, and to let everyone know exactly what we do,’ says Neil. ‘Our main concern is helping people who are less fortunate than us – and it all comes from the members’ pockets. We make voluntary contributions, hold fundraising events and enjoy doing it.’ Freemasonry Today spoke to four charities that have received invaluable financial support from Freemasons in 2012.

Photography: Catherine Lane/Getty Images, Photo Yom Lam/Alamy

As smaller charities struggle in the current economic climate, Tabby Kinder finds out how Freemasons on a local and national level are keeping community projects in business





The British Ex-Services Wheelchair Sports Association (BEWSA) enables injured ex-service personnel to take part in sports, building friendship and camaraderie. BEWSA describes itself as ‘not an organisation for the disabled, but of the disabled’. ‘The Grand Charity has long supported charities that provide help and assistance to ex-members of the Armed Services,’ says the Grand Charity’s Laura Chapman. ‘It is a popular cause within Freemasonry. Through our minor grant funding we aim to support small charities that fulfil needs not easily accessible elsewhere, just like BEWSA.’ In May last year, the Grand Charity donated £1,500 to the charity, enabling nationwide support to continue for active disabled veterans. ‘The grant we received from the Freemasons is being used in the rehabilitation through sports training programmes,’ says Edwin Thomas, BEWSA chairman. One weekend a month, the charity books the sport facilities at the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering RAF centre in Cosford, West Midlands, and ex-service wheelchair users are invited to join in wheelchair sporting events. ‘If they are comfortable in their chosen sport and wish to take training to the next level, then BEWSA is there to provide the encouragement, the training and the sports equipment required to participate,’ says Thomas.



‘JustDifferent is a perfect example of a small organisation carrying out big work,’ says Laura. Toby Hewson, who has cerebral palsy, founded the charity to change social attitudes towards disability. It runs workshops in schools that are delivered by disabled young adults employed by the charity. ‘Today’s young people are tomorrow’s employers, policymakers and educators. JustDifferent believes that changing attitudes in the young is the best way to achieve long-term social change,’ says Laura. ‘Harassment, bullying and discrimination are all sadly part of our society,’ says Karen McLachlan, fundraiser at JustDifferent. ‘The workshops give young people the capacity to challenge discrimination. Our work encourages and educates young people to be understanding and tolerant.’ JustDifferent has received acclaim for its techniques and schoolchildren engage with the workshop presenters with open-minded enthusiasm. Katie, a Year Six pupil, told the workshop presenter: ‘At first I felt sorry for you, but by the end of the workshop I felt more confident to talk to people like you. It changed my attitude towards disabled people.’ A grant of £5,000 made to the charity in May has helped the workshop reach 1,388 children. ‘To teach young people that disabled people can achieve, participate and lead is the ultimate goal of JustDifferent – and this is something the Grand Charity is very happy to support,’ says Laura.





Durham Freemasons have provided regular funding for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) over the years. While GNAAS has become a leading healthcare charity, its funding relies entirely on voluntary donations. ‘We receive no lottery or government funding, but we’re proud to say that when we receive donations, one hundred per cent goes towards providing the life-saving service,’ says Mandy Drake, deputy director of public liaison at the charity. Michael Graham, Provincial Information Officer at Durham, believes support for the charity comes from a personal feeling within the Province: ‘With many lodges in rural areas, a lot of our members have firsthand experience of, or have witnessed, the amazing job that air ambulances do,’ he says. ‘Our members are always very keen to support GNAAS.’ Michael estimates that the Durham Province has donated more than £25,000 to GNAAS. ‘We purchased two rapid response vehicles at around £12,000 each, and the Mark Degree bought another, so there are three units that are totally funded by the Freemasons,’ he says proudly. Funding air ambulance charities is a very popular cause with Freemasons, demonstrated by the Grand Charity’s air ambulance grant programme, which is strongly supported throughout the Provinces.



Around twenty per cent of the charities supported by the Nottinghamshire Province in 2012 had lost council funding. This was true of The Lenton Centre, a swimming pool and community leisure facility that Nottingham City Council decided to close down due to budget cuts, despite strong local opposition. Following a campaign, The Lenton Community Association took over the centre, with funding from private donors and charitable organisations. The centre is run as a social enterprise and last year received £20,000 from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Nottinghamshire to fund a multi-use children’s area. ‘It’s a charity that we consider is doing a lot to help local people,’ says Neil Potter, Provincial Information Officer in the Province. ‘With local authorities having such restraints on their budgets, they find it increasingly difficult to support local charities, so our involvement in the community is becoming more important each month.’ Nicci Robinson, project manager of the children and young people’s team based at the centre, says the donation will help create a games area that can be used for sports such as football and cricket. ‘It’s a substantial chunk of what we need. The money has helped get a long-held dream off the ground. It has kept us going through a very difficult time, while also aiding development and keeping our other activities for young people going.’


The commanding image of Field Marshal Earl Kitchener, used on recruitment posters in the Great War


Photography: The Advertising Archive



After some lean years, the Allied Arts Lodge is now regrouping with a diverse membership. Tim Arnold explains how his lodge has survived by embracing the fundamental tenets of Freemasonry


tarted just after the Second World War by theatre technicians, the Allied Arts Lodge, No. 6269, is the lodge that refused to die. A decade ago, the group was at risk of folding. Like many London lodges, its membership had been declining for a variety of reasons – deaths and resignations, for example – and the regular Lodge of Instruction had fallen into disuse, not least because of the logistical difficulties in getting members from all over London and the Home Counties to attend every week. Many people would have bowed to the apparent reality of the situation, but a hard core of members, including Treasurer Chris Fogarty and his life-long friend Secretary Paul Ostwind, refused to give up. They believed that attracting more guests was part of the answer. Most of the ceremonies were arranged on a scratch basis, so were not as polished as they might have liked. The committee therefore invited some hard-core ritualists from other lodges to become honorary members. One of them was John Stonely, who in turn offered to take younger members under his wing at the Lodge of Instruction he organised for the Logic Ritual Association. Festive Boards were held at Trattoria Verdi, a walk away from Great Queen Street, where Dining Secretary Richard Limebear managed to negotiate a bulk-buy deal of £30 per head – a considerable discount.





The lodge’s Festive Boards held anonymous charity collections, rather than a public raffle, so visitors would not feel pressured into spending more than they could afford in the evening. An Allied Arts Charities Association was also set up to encourage members to make regular donations, boosted through Gift Aid to ensure the lodge continued to look after deserving causes. Through masonic networking, the lodge gradually started to grow. It was explained to joining members that London masonry could be an enjoyable adjunct to provincial work, in a similar way to chapter being an extension of Craft – a way to increase one’s horizons, experiences and social network. I was invited to become Senior Warden and I gave a talk, shamelessly stolen from Clifford Drake, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Buckinghamshire, about how to use recruitment to turn around failing lodges. Space does not allow me to go into all the points, but the key message is: draw up a list of decent people who are in your circle of friends, family and workmates, and talk to them about the benefits that you get from the Craft. If they are not interested, then you have at least explained to them Freemasonry’s core values of friendship, decency and charity. If they are interested, then perhaps a couple of years on you will have a waiting list of new members. Currently, Allied Arts Lodge is doing double ceremonies and emergency meetings, not least thanks to a particularly enthusiastic initiate, Paul Hogan, who has willingly recruited his friends and family to join. We are also starting to attract members from the City of London, reflecting the region’s different communities. Allied Arts now boasts Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, blacks and whites, and our youngest member is in his early twenties. It’s not been easy. But in a few years’ time, we will have a strong group of initiates, ready to progress through the Master’s chair. We are organising Lodges of Instruction closer to where people live, meeting on Sunday mornings when the M25 traffic is more manageable and it is possible to get space in otherwise busy masonic centres. In the meantime, we could still do with a handful of members in our middle-batting order. So, if you want to sample London masonry, get in touch at


Photography: Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


Peter Sellers was a member of Chelsea, one of the lodges in which Allied Arts’ history is grounded

ROOTS OF ALLIED ARTS LODGE Allied Arts Lodge was consecrated on 22 July 1946. It was started by members of one of London’s thespian lodges, Vaudeville, ostensibly to celebrate the work of theatre technicians whose work was ‘allied’ to the entertainment world. The lodge has a long-standing relationship with the Vaudeville Chapter. Allied Arts profited from a significant growth in Freemasonry after the Second World War, possibly because men wanted to keep up the camaraderie they had enjoyed while serving in the armed forces. It was common for a daughter lodge to be set up in order to accommodate a large backlog of new members, who might otherwise have had to wait for a decade or more to advance to the chair. Vaudeville Lodge, No. 5592, is in turn descended from the world-famous Chelsea Lodge, No. 3098, through Proscenium Lodge, No. 3435. Chelsea is known as the entertainers’ lodge, with members including actors Peter Sellers and Bernard Bresslaw, the broadcaster and author Keith Skues, and the magician Eugene Matthias. Chelsea’s mother lodge, Drury Lane, No. 2127, also has strong theatrical connections. The latter’s founders included the actor Charles Warner and London’s Gaiety Theatre manager, Charles Harris. Drury Lane’s membership also attracted establishment figures, including Field Marshal Earl Kitchener, perhaps best known today as the face of Great War recruitment posters, featuring the legend: ‘Your country needs you!’


The Freemasons’ Grand Charity 60 Great Queen Street London WC2B 5AZ Tel: 020 7395 9261 Fax: 020 7395 9295 Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


With the help of Freemasons around the country, the Grand Charity provides an invaluable service to those in need. For many people 2012 will be a year to remember, from visions of bunting and the Queen’s Jubilee to the sporting excellence of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Yet many people struggled due to financial problems, illness or other difficult circumstances. The Grand Charity exists to help these people in need – Freemasons, their families or the wider community – and 2012 was no exception.

Masonic relief The Freemasons’ Grand Charity received over two thousand applications for financial assistance and approved support of more than £5 million. The charity noted a continued increase in applications from younger members facing redundancy and business difficulties due to the economic crisis. Through supporting Dogs for the Disabled, the Grand Charity is helping people like Josh Walker, pictured here with Miri

The Jubilee Sailing Trust received £25,000 to fund a bursary scheme to enable severely disabled people to participate in voyages aboard their two tall ships

The grants listed right are only a small selection of charitable causes that have been assisted by Freemasons through the Grand Charity in 2012; a full list is available to view at Enclosed within this issue of Freemasonry Today you will find the Grand Charity’s Annual Review 2012 – we hope you enjoy reading it.

Support for the wider community The charity provided £2.5 million in funding for non-masonic charitable causes. This included continued support for research into age-related deafness; support for ex-Armed Service personnel with grants for Help for Heroes and Combat Stress; and support for projects that tackle youth unemployment, which grew to 20.5 per cent in 2012. Air Ambulances 2012 saw the Grand Charity celebrate more than £1 million in grants to the Air Ambulances and equivalent services since 2007. These grants provide funding for what is considered to be the country’s busiest voluntary emergency service. In 2012, each Provincial and Metropolitan Grand Lodge presented a share of £192,000 to its local service. Hospice services In 2012, £600,000 was distributed amongst two hundred and thirty-nine hospice services, bringing the total given since 1984 to £9.9 million. We hope it is clear how valuable the work of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity is. The impact achieved through its funding might be difficult to measure, but it is immense. It is only thanks to the support of the Freemasons and their families that the charity is able to make such a contribution to people’s lives.



Masonic Samaritan Fund

60 Great Queen Street London WC2B 5AZ Tel: 020 7404 1550 Fax: 020 7404 1544


With depression affecting one in five older people, the Masonic Samaritan Fund has launched a new service: the MSF Counselling Careline – a free, confidential helpline operated by trained counsellors who will listen and offer professional guidance.

Most of us manage our physical health far better than our emotional well-being, leaving unresolved issues that may cause real harm. Concerns can start as a simple worry but can grow into a panic where life events feel like a never-ending staircase of new challenges. It often helps to talk to loved ones, but there may be times when your family and friends don’t have the expertise to help.

Feelings of depression, anxiety and stress are very common and can affect anybody for all kinds of reasons, such as bereavement, redundancy, family breakdown or illness. The cause could be a mixture of events or there could be no obvious reason at all; you may just be feeling a little low right now. The good news is that help is available. The first step is to talk to someone, and a single phone call to the MSF is all that is required to access the MSF Counselling Careline. More than two hundred and eighty thousand people in the UK use services similar to the Careline each year. Freemasons, their wives, widows, partners and dependent children can call the MSF Counselling Careline. It is free, confidential and operated by trained counsellors waiting to help. Call the Fund on 020 7404 1550 to access the service

Men are less likely to seek support for mental health problems than women

HELPING PEOPLE IN DISTRESS It can be difficult to see a friend or relative suffering, but it is also a chance to express your love and support as you help them take their first steps towards addressing their feelings. Often symptoms are an intense form


of a natural emotion, so they may feel you are being overly dramatic by suggesting a support service. Try to encourage them to call the free MSF Counselling Careline; its counsellors are skilled at helping someone see the benefit of support. Reassure them that counselling starts with an informal discussion and there is no obligation to undergo further treatment. When they are ready, give them the privacy to speak confidentially with a professional.


Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution

60 Great Queen Street London WC2B 5AZ Tel: 020 7596 2400 Fax: 020 7404 0724

George Hoggett proudly takes his daughter’s arm

WEDDING JOY FOR RMBI RESIDENT Last October, eighty-six-year-old George Hoggett, a resident of Ecclesholme, RMBI’s care home in Manchester, proudly walked his daughter Sandra down the aisle and gave her away at her wedding to local Freemason John Hesketh. Ecclesholme care support team kitted George out in a top hat and tails and helped ensure he was looking his best for the big day. He was picked up by the wedding car and taken to St Michael’s Church in Aughton, near Ormskirk, Lancashire, for the service. Wedding guests were asked to give donations to Ecclesholme in place of wedding presents, and cheques were received to the value of £500. The money will be used to purchase two glass-fronted refrigerators for the home’s communal dining areas. George was living in sheltered accommodation prior to a fall and subsequent hospital stay. Fortunately, Ecclesholme had a room available for George to move in. Sandra says, ‘Dad settled in straight away thanks to the wonderful staff and lovely environment. We particularly appreciate the way the staff show respect to dad. Their training is first rate.’

LEGACY BOOSTS KENT CARE HOME A legacy donation to an RMBI care home has expanded facilities for residents, with the opening of a new lounge and dining room. A new addition to the nursing facility was officially opened at RMBI’s care home in Chislehurst, Prince George Duke of Kent Court, by Metropolitan Grand Master Russell Race. The Hinton Lounge and new dining room followed a generous £70,000 donation to the Home from St Paul’s Column Lodge, No. 7197, which meets in London. The donation had been left in legacy by Brenda Hinton, the widow of local Freemason Roy Hinton. Roy was initiated into St Paul’s Column Lodge in March 1977, becoming the Assistant Secretary in April 1979. As well as being a passionate Freemason, Roy worked for more than thirty years at The Times and was greatly respected by both colleagues and brethren. Sadly, Roy died in October 1981, aged just fifty-four. Brenda kept in close contact with the lodge and on her own death in 2010, left a substantial gift to be used as deemed appropriate by the Master, Wardens and brethren. On further discussion between the lodge and the Grand Charity Steward, it was agreed that some of the donation should be used to support improvements at Prince George Duke of Kent Court. The new lounge and dining

room were named in lasting memory of the Hinton family. The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge, St Paul’s Column Lodge, the Province of West Kent, the RMBI and the local Association of Friends. Following a welcome by RMBI President Willie Shackell, a formal presentation of the £70,000 cheque was made by Warren Thomas, Master of St Paul’s Column Lodge, and the brethren were appropriately thanked. Russell Race then unveiled the plaque for the Hinton Lounge and cut the ribbon. Prince George Duke of Kent Court was purpose built in 1968 and is situated in a popular part of Kent. The home can accommodate seventy-four residents for both residential and nursing care and, like all RMBI homes, can cater for people with dementia. The home benefits from individual rooms and attractive communal areas, as well as wheelchairaccessible gardens, a fully stocked library and a hairdressing and pamper salon. There’s also a full programme of entertainment, social events, outings, gentle exercise classes and creative, cultural and intellectual activities.

Prince George Duke of Kent Court care home has benefitted from improvements



Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Tel: 020 7405 2644 Fax: 020 7831 4094


All of the young people supported by the RMTGB have experienced tragedy and hardship. Rosanna is just one of them and tells her story here.

Ellie and Louis – young lives supported by the RMTGB

A NEW RECORD IN RELIEVING POVERTY In 2012, the RMTGB accepted the highest number of new applications for support in its long history, with grants being approved for four hundred and sixteen additional children and young people. These latest grants push the total number of masonic children and grandchildren to have benefitted from support during the last year to almost two thousand. The grants are designed to help relieve the effects of poverty following a distress that has led to financial hardship. Last year’s record increase is primarily a consequence of the difficult economic conditions, which continue to have an impact on families throughout the country. In addition, the number of children supported as a result of the death, disability or desertion of a parent has also increased. Currently, eighty-five per cent of the children and young people being supported attend their local state school, college or university and most receive help in the form of regular maintenance grants or scholarships to meet some of their basic costs. Please visit to find out more


‘History is my true love. It completely captivates me and it would be hard to imagine not being an historian. My dream of studying history at university was threatened, however, when my father – a Freemason in the Province of Essex – had a brain haemorrhage and became unable to work. Immediately my life changed. Would I be able to afford to go to university? Or live away from home? Who would support my mother and brother while I was away? ‘As it turned out, I would have the most amazing support from a silent yet ever-present source. This support has encouraged me to be the best I can be. It has proved to me that no challenge is impossible and no dream is unachievable. What is this brilliant support? And where can it be found? Well, it’s you, dear reader. ‘My family were lucky enough to be visited by Guy Charrison, a wonderful Case Almoner for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. He proved to be an invaluable lifeline for me, arranging support and financial help when I needed it most. The grant I received meant that I could go to university and pay for the essentials that I needed, such as books and other materials. ‘At the time of my graduation – one of my proudest achievements – I still felt academically unfinished and I wanted

The RMTGB enabled Rosanna to realise her dream of studying at university

another challenge. My tutor suggested I apply for a Master’s degree. I thought about the competitive job market and knew that this would make my applications stand out, but could I justify another year of study and the cost? Again, the RMTGB stepped in and I was delighted that they were able to support my tuition and, having moved back home

‘SUPPORT FROM THE RMTGB HAS PROVED TO ME THAT NO CHALLENGE IS IMPOSSIBLE AND NO DREAM IS UNACHIEVABLE’ to be with my family, the additional cost of my travel to and from university. This year I achieved my final mark: a distinction. ‘I recently met up with Guy and it was lovely to catch-up and for him to see how I had grown since our last meeting. I would like to thank everyone who made all this possible. I have achieved goals beyond my wildest dreams that would not have been realised without the support from Guy, the RMTGB and the generosity of Freemasonry.’ Rosanna is now training to be a history teacher at the Institute of Education and is on a path to a happy and fulfilled future. Sadly, her father died on 7 October 2012, aged fifty-seven



The first masonic building in Natal (South Africa) c1878

The Library and Museum website boasts a version of one of the most important compilations ever published about English lodges – and now you can contribute to its growth

John Lane put together lodge records

Masonic Hall interior at Roodepoort (Transvaal, South Africa) in 1899

Masonic Hall exterior at Heidelberg, Transvaal c1900


n 1886, the historian John Lane published his Masonic Records – a listing of the dates, numbers and locations of all lodges established by the English Grand Lodges, from the foundation of the very first in 1717. Lane drew his information not only from the Grand Lodge’s own records but from ‘all quarters of the world’. The book was later revised to include information up to 1894. Working with the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield, Lane’s original printed book was transferred into an electronic format and the Library and Museum has been adding information about lodges formed after 1894. The entry for each lodge formed since then, including lodges subsequently erased, features the warrant date, number and meeting places. Soon, the Library and Museum will start to update the entries for lodges formed before 1894. Now is your chance to help with this project – as the Director of the Library and Museum, Diane Clements, explains: ‘We have used all the resources we can find here at Freemasons’ Hall in London, including the Grand Lodge’s own records and yearbooks. If every lodge could check its own records and let us know of any discrepancies that would be really helpful.’ For lodges formed before 1894, a list (with dates) of where they have since met would help us complete this valuable research tool more quickly. You can contact us on The web address for Lane’s Masonic Records is

Library and Museum of Freemasonry Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ. Tel: 020 7395 9257 Email: Shop:



Write to: The Editor, Freemasonry Today, Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Email:

Letters emailed to the editor should not be sent as attachments. Please include a home address and telephone number. An S.A.E. should accompany any photographs to be returned. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Grand Lodge of England.

DAMBUSTERS Sir, We were fascinated to read your article in the winter 2012 edition about Jerry Fray. Except for the mention of London Grand Rank, the article left out, in particular, that he joined Elthorne and Middlesex Lodge, No. 2094, in 1973, was Master in 1979, was a key player in achieving the lodge’s centenary in 1985, including writing the lodge history during a period (1980-1990) when its continuing existence was very precarious, and Master again in 1986. He attended regularly thereafter as DC, until the day after our December meeting in 1995 when he suffered a stroke. Even so, he was back in post with a ‘runner’ the following October. We made him an honorary member in 1998. He last attended in December 2001, although he had not long before suffered another, less serious, stroke. Charles Brookes, Elthorne and Middlesex Lodge, No. 2094, London

Sir, Although currently unable to be a frequent attender to my own Elthorne and Middlesex Lodge, I too was surprised that we were not mentioned in the newspaper report, although naturally bow to the fact that Jerry Fray wrote his own obituary. However, there may be some small interest in my writing that once, at the Festive Board following a lodge meeting, I was able to discuss elements of his photo reconnaissance participation in the Dambusters’ raid with him. I recall Jerry advising that he flew over the dams on several occasions prior to the raid, including the day before and again the day after. Upon returning to his home base, the film from his cameras would be quickly processed and (after his PR Spitfire was refuelled) he then flew copies directly onwards to the then RAF Spitalgate at Grantham. He would then deliver them personally to the Dams

Project team with the great advantage that he was able to describe exactly what he had seen only the briefest of time before. Jerry mentioned that he had been able to keep copies of the photographs and it is with great anticipation that I look forward to seeing these, should a book of his life come to fruition. If interested to know why this was of particular interest to me, then I shall add that not only did I fly at RAF Spitalgate as an RAF Air Cadets gliding instructor, but I also served as a Territorial Army officer for many years at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks (formerly RAF Spitalgate), Grantham – so have always been pleased to think that I had, in one sense, shared the airspace with men of such sterling qualities as Jerry Fray. Edward G Waite-Roberts, Elthorne and Middlesex Lodge, No. 2094, London

VALUING CARE Sir, John Hamill’s Reflection and your article on dementia care were both impressive and thought provoking, but I believe there

is one area where lodge almoners can provide real benefit, especially for our elder brethren and widows. It never ceased to amaze me in my years as a lodge almoner how many of those with real needs were unaware of the benefits from the state to that they were entitled, which could make a real difference to their well-being. Because of my background in financial advice, I have been able to help a number of lodge members and widows who have care needs. Attendance Allowance is worth £51.85 per week if help is required during the day, and £77.45 per week if help is required day and night. This money makes a tremendous difference and is not means tested nor taxable. Additionally, it may entitle some to increases in other benefits such as Pension Credit. Lodge almoners are in a unique position to be able to help our older brethren and helping obtain this benefit can be one of the most important tasks an almoner ever performs. To assist I have produced a short paper (contact alanbooth1948@ It would surprise me if all lodges did not have some members who could be assisted in this way. Alan Booth, Earl of Chester Lodge, No. 1565, Lymm, Cheshire

Sir, Having read the letter in your twentieth edition from Graham Whittle, a resident in one of our Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) homes, I felt I had to give him all my support. My wife and I have been volunteers at the RMBI home in Leicester for the last eighteen months – my wife running the weekly craft class, while I drive the buses for shopping and hospital visits and occasionally act as quiz master. We enjoy our weekly visits to share our lives with the many residents of the home, who often have great tales to tell. I have had the pleasure of talking at length with brethren who lived through World War II, sharing the memories of a pilot

Photography: Greg Funnell




‘I URGE BRETHREN AND THEIR FAMILIES TO SUPPORT HOMES IN THEIR AREA AND BE ASSURED THEY WILL FIND THE EXPERIENCE HAPPY AND REWARDING’ Michael A Robinson officer in Bomber Command who survived thirty-nine operations over Germany and a Navy man who was present on HMS Jamaica, which fired the torpedoes that sunk the Scharnhorst. I urge brethren and their families to support the homes in their area and be assured they will find the experience both happy and rewarding. Michael A Robinson, Wiclif Lodge, No. 3078, Lutterworth, Leicestershire and Rutland

THE FUTURE OF FREEMASONRY Sir, This year the Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Inner Guard and Stewards of our lodge are all in their twenties. I joke that I feel the years – at my ripe old age of twenty-eight. I read with great enthusiasm the article entitled ‘No Time To Be Retiring’ in the winter 2012 publication. Of particular interest and surprise was the startling fact that maybe ‘only nine per cent [of Freemasons] are aged under forty’.

Being part of the Universities Scheme has undoubtedly helped attract young men to our lodge, but this by no means tells the whole story. The traditional approach of ‘member-get-member’ is strongly encouraged and utilised. It has been remarked by our visitors over the years that our lodge has a very special atmosphere and feeling. Indeed, the presence of young men in the lodge allows our numerous and distinguished past masters to impart their knowledge and experience. They teach, and our lodge is the richer for it – Lodges of Instruction really are an education in masonic knowledge. Candidates, young or old, who approach and join our lodge form part of a close circle of friends. Our newer brethren are encouraged to progress at their own pace, and to attend our social events whenever possible. Whether it be open lodge or the Festive Board, age really isn’t an issue. We have Freemasons who are knowledgeable and those with much to learn. We move forward as one, and are reminded of our lodge motto, which is translated from the original Latin: ‘The one light brings us together in comradeship’. We have embraced the web and social media and look forward to our eightieth anniversary in 2014, as well as Grand Lodge’s three-hundredth anniversary celebrations in 2017. We are fortunate, and the future promises to be bright.

Ben Gait, Universities Lodge, Cardiff, No. 5461, Cardiff, South Wales

MASONIC HISTORY Sir, I was invited to the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary meeting of Onslow Lodge, No. 2234, at Guildford, Surrey, which was a most enjoyable event, enhanced by some interesting anecdotes about past notable members and significant milestones of the lodge.


It occurred to me that any lodge has interesting tales to tell after more than a hundred years, but doing so will depend, as in this instance, on good records having been kept. Meeting minutes only go so far and many contain just the bare facts; they can be of greater future value if expanded to include anecdotes about the more interesting brethren of the day, details of anything special in ceremonies, what was the meal, and its cost, and anything else future generations may find of interest and worth knowing. The Secretary’s minutes apart, there is a need for a lodge member to act as archivist or historian to ensure that relevant facts and photographs are properly collated and safely stored for posterity. How many lodges do this, I wonder? We have a wonderful, interesting present that deserves to be captured for the enlightenment and enjoyment of our future brethren.

Michael Weeden, Windsor Castle Lodge, No. 771, Windsor, Berkshire

Sir, My lodge – Scarsdale Lodge, No. 681, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire – celebrated one hundred and fifty years in 2006. Since then we have embraced the web ( and have posted the lodge history, written for the one hundred and fifty year celebrations by a senior lodge member, Chris Crofts. In addition to his fine work, we have just added images of past masters from the present day back to 1856. Being aware that we are the future history of the lodge, we are now taking steps to record and document more, as well as tasking a senior lodge member to keep it updated. A history, however, can be a dry, factual report if it does not reflect some detail of the individual characters. We are now looking to encourage the senior brethren to recall their memories and stories of past brethren so we can paint a fuller picture. We hope that brethren will


‘SURELY WE CAN ENJOY HEARTY GOOD FUN AT OUR FESTIVE BOARDS WITHOUT COMPROMISING OUR IDEALS’ Philip Hamer drop by and take a look and are keen to receive feedback.

Thomson Parker-Jarvis, Scarsdale Lodge, No. 681, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Sir, I was interested to read the article on motorcycling lodges in the winter 2012 edition. I had always understood that Harry Rembrandt (Rem) Fowler won the first Isle of Man TT race in 1907 as I was distantly related to him. I was therefore surprised to see Charlie Collier credited with that distinction. After a little research, I discovered that in 1907 two races were held on the TT short course, with Harry Rem Fowler winning the twin cylinder class on a Peugeot-engined Norton at 36.22mph and Charlie Collier the single cylinder class on a Matchless at 38.22mph. They each set the fastest lap in their respective classes, Fowler at 42.91mph and Collier at 41.81mph. The TT short course was used for only four years, and in 1911 the TT race moved to the mountain course, which is still used today. I am still in frequent contact with Rem’s granddaughter – my cousin, who still has some of his memorabilia. Incidentally, Rem died in 1963 and is buried in the churchyard of St James the Great in Shirley, Solihull, Warwickshire. John Hayward, Lodge of Faith and Hope, No. 4772, Edgbaston, Warwickshire

KEEPING UP STANDARDS Sir, I read with great interest and agreement the correspondence from Herbert Ewings and Tom Carr in the winter 2012 edition and felt somehow that the two letters were intrinsically linked. The view shared by brother Ewings that Freemasonry is more than just a charitable

Photography: Alamy


institution is perfectly true. There are several fundraising organisations available to join if that is your preference, with little or no application of character building, philosophy, discipline and order or quite the camaraderie and fellowship that we all enjoy. As brother Ewings states, charity in its true context is evidently practised in Freemasonry, but neither this – and certainly not mere fundraising – are its sole objectives. Similarly, as brother Carr observes concerning the lowering of standards at some masonic gatherings, I too have been disappointed whilst attending lodges (fortunately in the minority) where less than gentlemanly behaviour has been exhibited by some members. Without wishing to be regarded as pompous or priggish, surely we can enjoy hearty good fun at our Festive Boards without compromising our ideals as men of honour. No, brother Carr, you are not alone in objecting to such behaviour. Surely it is possible to keep our timehonoured traditions of gentlemanly behaviour within and without the

lodge (which we are charged with in the First Degree ceremony), which provide such a pleasant oasis in our troubled world. Philip Hamer, Lodge Semper Fidelis, No. 1254, Exeter, Devonshire

Sir, I read with interest the article ‘No Time To Be Retiring’ in the winter 2012 edition. While the I concur with the sentiments expressed by Edward Lord and Julian Soper, I take issue with the suggestion that lodges should consider dispensing with the processions in and out of the temple in order to save time, as is apparently the way forward of some lodges. Indeed, most past master lodges do not process in, but in my experience mostly process out. If we go down the road of continually reducing the time spent in the temple we will lose the traditions and the history of lodges. Cutting down the time taken by ceremonial proceedings will deprive the new masons of the solemnity of the Craft. Barry A Fennings, Merchant Navy Lodge, No. 781, London



FREE FROM PERSECUTION Where freedom exists, Freemasonry can flourish. Director of Special Projects John Hamill explains why the Craft thrives in democratic societies


n January, National Holocaust Memorial Day passed almost unnoticed in the media, and where it was commented on there was no mention of Freemasonry. It still appears largely unknown outside the Craft that a significant number of Freemasons in Europe disappeared into Nazi labour and concentration camps never to be seen again. Nor had the attacks been confined to the Nazis. Freemasons had been persecuted in Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain and Stalinist Russia. Freemasonry under England, Ireland and Scotland has been remarkably free from persecution at home. The closest it came to being closed down by government was in the aftermath of the French Revolution, when the 1799 Unlawful Societies Act was passing through Parliament. In its original form the Act would have made masonic meetings illegal. Fortunately, the Earl of Moira, Acting Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge, and the Duke of Athol, Grand Master of the Antients Grand Lodge, were able to persuade the Prime Minister, William Pitt, of the moral basis of Freemasonry, its support for lawfully constituted authority and its benevolent activities. As a result, clauses were introduced into the Act specifically exempting Freemasonry from its provisions, provided that each year every lodge secretary supplied a full list of the members of his lodge together with their ages, occupations and addresses. It is not difficult to see why totalitarian regimes hate Freemasonry. Our insistence that candidates believe in a supreme being; our basis in morality; our striving for high standards; our practice of tolerance and respect for others; our belief in equality and freedom of thought; and our caring for others in the community are all anathema to a dictatorship, and things we should jealously guard.


After the Second World War and a short period of freedom, an ‘Iron Curtain’ descended dividing western and eastern Europe. In countries in the Eastern Bloc, Freemasonry had a brief revival but was driven underground when Communism prevailed. It says a great deal about our principles that there were individuals in Eastern Europe who had come into Freemasonry, either in the 1930s or in the brief period after the war, who were willing to put themselves into real danger to keep the spirit of Freemasonry alive in their countries.


It was because of their courage that when the Iron Curtain finally crumbled in 1989, Freemasonry was brought back into the open. Their road back has not always been easy but Freemasonry is flourishing. A simple statistic shows how much has been achieved: in 1990 England recognised nineteen regular Grand Lodges in Europe, today it recognises forty-three. Those who were present at the two hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the Grand Lodge at Earls Court in 1992 will remember the rather diminutive, elderly figure of the Grand Master of the recently revived Grand Lodge of Hungary. He explained how from the opening of the first lodge in Hungary in 1749, Freemasonry had been regularly persecuted but now ‘in a democratic country, Freemasonry can continue its work’. As one American masonic writer wrote: ‘Where freedom exists Freemasonry can flourish and nurture that freedom.’ We, who in our long masonic history have never suffered persecution, should remember with pride those who so believed in Freemasonry’s importance that they, like that great character in our ritual, were willing to face death rather than betray their principles or the trust reposed in them.

Freemasonry Today - Spring 2013 - Issue 21  
Freemasonry Today - Spring 2013 - Issue 21  

Freemasonry Today - Spring 2013 - Issue 21