Somerset Royal Arch anniversary
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Arch in Somerset, an especial convocation was held in Bath, where the original recorded meeting was held. The Grand Superintendent John Bennett attended and the guest of honour was Second Grand Principal George Francis. Presentations were made to the Bath Masonic Museum by the Grand Superintendent of the now retired Holy Royal Arch Banner and Past Grand Superintendent Denis Calderley.
Jamaica Grand Lodge funds children’s home
The District Grand Lodge of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands makes annual donations to the Jamaica National Children’s Home. These are funded by lodges making yearly contributions to District Grand Master Walter Scott’s Child Care month. Further donations are provided by the District’s Freemasons’ Association, a company that generates income by renting out its building space.
A grand introduction in Ireland
Coming from eight different lodges, members of the Leicestershire and Rutland Light Blue Club, including Assistant Provincial Grand Master Peter Kinder, visited the Grand Master’s Lodge in Dublin, Ireland. Prior to the meeting, the visitors were treated to a private tour of Freemasons’ Hall by the Grand Tyler of Ireland. The Light Blue Club’s visit (pictured above) took place when the Grand Master of Ireland, Douglas Grey, was attending his own lodge.
The installation ceremony offered a fascinating insight into the differences between the English ritual and that practised in Ireland.
Local charity recognition
The Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association has given awards totalling £25,000 to 17 local charities. Among the recipients was Lady Gretton, Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, who received £1,000 on behalf of the Award for Young People 2015, which celebrates the best examples of achievement by young people in the county.
Lady Gretton (pictured) said: ‘It will make a colossal difference to the awards, which recognise young inspirational people in Leicestershire.’ Provincial Grand Master David Hagger congratulated the charities and their volunteers who give their time to such good causes.
Windsor open day marches to success
Beneath the imposing shadow of the magnificent 11th-century Windsor Castle, Berkshire Freemasons and their friends were a high-profile addition to the street scene to promote the Windsor masonic open day.
The centrepiece of the promotions was the ‘Freemasonry – What’s it all about?’ gazebo. Nearly 100 people visited Windsor Masonic Hall during the day, with 27 expressing an interest in becoming a member.
The local council provided a special dispensation to site the gazebo on the Guildhall concourse, giving a prime location for the display – with the unexpected benefit of seeing a Guards Band pass by during the event.
Taking the lead in autism support
Oxfordshire masons gave their support to children with autism when they presented a cheque for £25,000 from the Grand Charity to Dogs for the Disabled. The grant will help to fund the charity’s PAWS Service, which runs workshops across the country teaching families how to train a pet dog to help a child with autism.
The Provincial Grand Charity Steward for Oxfordshire, Roger Hampshire, said: ‘So many children and their families have already benefited enormously from the PAWS workshops and I hope that this donation will enable the charity to continue its fantastic work.’
Read more about the PAWS Service and the Grand Charity’s support of the programme here.
Warrington masonic museum officially opened
Tony Harrison, Provincial Grand Master for West Lancashire, has opened the Warrington Museum of Freemasonry at Warrington Masonic Hall. Vic Charlesworth started the collection in 2010 with just one cupboard in the hall, but over the past few years many more exhibits have been donated – including rare and unusual jewels that were unknown to the Library and Museum in London.
There is now an impressive collection of jewels from every Warrington lodge on display, and volumes of masonic books and literature – which Vic is in the process of documenting – are available for research.
Varsity scheme is 10
Universities Scheme President David Williamson, Chairman Edward Lord, and past and present members of the committee came together in January with Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes and many other senior Freemasons to celebrate the scheme’s first decade of existence and hard work.
With the initiative having grown from two lodges to 62 since its inception, and currently expanding into the Royal Arch, it has achieved much, with some lodges now being specifically consecrated as Universities Scheme lodges. Its fifth National Conference will be held in Leicester in November.
In the spotlight
Opening in June, the Library and Museum’s latest exhibition looks at the longstanding links between Freemasonry and entertainment
The association between Freemasonry and the entertainment profession during the Victorian period is well known. The connection was embodied by men such as Sir Augustus Harris (1852-1896), actor and theatrical impresario, lodge founder and Grand Treasurer.
He and his circle of theatrical figures feature in a revealing press cartoon from 1891 (above).
Harris was particularly associated with the Drury Lane Theatre, where he staged elaborate pantomimes. He was a founder of Drury Lane Lodge, No. 2127, in 1885, which met in the theatre itself. After his death in 1896 at the age of 44, his wife married Edward O’Connor Terry, another actor, theatre proprietor and Freemason. Terry’s initials are shown entwined on the founder’s jewel for the lodge that was formed in 1898 and named after him.
Terry was a Past Master of Lodge of Asaph, No. 1319, which formed in 1870 and met in the afternoons to permit its membership of musicians and actors to continue with their regular jobs in orchestras and theatre in the evenings.
Spotlight: Freemasons and Entertainment
The exhibition runs from 8 June 2015 to 13 February 2016, Monday–Friday, 10am–5pm.
Admission is free
Helping the Hindu community
The Hindu Community Plymouth received a donation from the William Alexander Kneel Endowment (WAKE) Fund to purchase an effigy (not pictured) of the Lord Shiva, for use in the Plymouth crematoriums. The WAKE Fund was set up in memory of a former Devonshire Provincial Grand Master to deliver aid to local organisations. Members of Victory Lodge, No. 4189, were invited to attend and participate in the blessing of the effigy, which has a brass plaque stating that it has been donated by Devonshire Freemasons.