As British Lodge No. viii celebrates its 300th year, Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes attended a dinner at Freemasons’ Hall in honour of this landmark anniversary
British Lodge No. viii was honoured to host Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes and guests to celebrate its 300th Anniversary at Freemasons’ Hall in February. The Lodge was constituted in January 1721, but the alignment of calendars that occurred in 1752 meant that 2022 is the 300th year of the Lodge meeting.
The proceedings included the installation of Dr Malcolm R Aish as Master and the presentation of Letters Patent, by which a Heraldic Badge had been granted to the United Grand Lodge of England for the use of British Lodge. Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen, dressed in his splendid crimson court uniform, ceremonially presented the Letters Patent to the Pro Grand Master, who examined and formally received it before entrusting it to the Master for safekeeping.
To mark this milestone event, the Lodge commissioned David Aspinwall to research and produce a Lodge history, a copy of which was presented to the Pro Grand Master and all who attended the celebration.
This fine volume gives a fascinating account of key events and personalities over the Lodge’s 300 years of existence, from the first recorded meeting of the Lodge at Tom’s Coffee House in London’s Clare Market to the present day. It was clear that the Lodge had dined well throughout its long history and the members had a particular taste for champagne! A summary of the history was delivered at the meeting on behalf of the author, who was unable to be present due to having contracted Covid-19.
Grand Chaplain Simon Thorne then delivered a thought-provoking, well-received oration. To further mark the Lodge’s anniversary, the members were pleased to confirm charitable donations of £5,000 each to the Freemason’s Fund for Surgical Research and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
The meeting was followed by a champagne reception and celebratory feast, held in the best traditions of British Lodge in the vestibule of the Grand Temple in Freemasons’ Hall. Following dinner, the Pro Grand Master congratulated the Lodge not only on it having reached its 300th anniversary, but also on the excellent meeting and dinner that followed. He then proposed a toast to the Lodge as it moves into its fourth century of meeting.
British Lodge is one of 19 ‘Red Apron’ Lodges, each of which nominate a Grand Steward for appointment by the Grand Master at the Annual Investiture, and one of only two whose red aprons and collars are trimmed with gold instead of silver. The board of Grand Stewards for the year is responsible for arranging the Grand Festival.