Jewels in the crown
After W Bro James Noel Pitts, Howe and Charnwood Lodge No. 1007 and Lodge of Science and Art No. 8429, passed away in June 2013 his family asked the Almoner of Howe and Charnwood, W Bro Ray Hardy, to dispose of his masonic regalia and deal with some masonic curios
W Bro Ray faithfully returned regalia to the lodges of which W Bro Jim had been a member, but there was an old toffee tin containing a number of masonic jewels and other assorted items. W Bro David Sharpe from the Lodge of Research No. 2429 was then asked to help identify them and to deal with them as he thought best.
Many of the jewels were duplicates of those held at the Masonic Hall at Loughborough, and so he took them to the Provincial museum in Leicester to include in their collection. Four of these jewels are of special interest:
The first is a bicentennial jewel issued in 1917 during World War 1, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge of England. On the obverse is an engraving of the MW Grand Master The Duke of Connaught, and on the reverse appear the arms of UGLE and the dates 1717–1917.
There are also two silver Masonic Million Memorial Fund Commemorative Jewels. These were in recognition of money donated to the Masonic Peace Memorial, later to become known as Freemasons’ Hall, in memory of the many brethren who had given their lives in the First World War. These were issued to any lodge member under the English Constitution who donated ten guineas (£10.50) or more. They were given to W Bros JS Potter, PPJGW and H Mallinson. Some 52,334 individual jewels were issued. Any individual mason donating 100 guineas or more was eligible for one of these jewels in gold. Was there a gold one for W Bro Potter, since he donated over 100 guineas? If so, what became of it? If not, why not?
A slightly larger medal in gold on a light blue collarette to be worn by successive Masters of lodges was awarded to those lodges contributing an average of ten guineas per member, which were to be known as Hall Stone Lodges. Howe and Charnwood did not qualify, but there are two such lodges in the Province who did, Albert Edward Lodge No. 1560 and Enderby Lodge No. 5061. In all, 1,321 lodges at home and abroad qualified as Hall Stone Lodges.
The final jewel in the tin was perhaps the most interesting. It was created to be awarded to those individual masons who had donated at least 240 guineas (£252). 956 of these Jewels were issued. This was given to W Bro Potter, and is inscribed M.M.M. and his name. Does this mean it was donated through the Howe Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 21, of which he was a member and by 1930 Director of Ceremonies?
Whilst these jewels are, of course, of considerable interest, they are only in the museum in Leicester due to the thoughtfulness of W Bro Jim’s family, and will form part of a display of his curios and works donated the museum.
How easily they could be now in some antique shop or a flea market. One must ask, will families know what to do with masonic regalia, books and curios when the owners pass away?
This is the point made by W Bro Walters in the conclusion of his inaugural address to the Lodge of Research in 1977 when he said: 'Many masons have interesting material. When they die their wives or executors may not appreciate it and it would be a service to posterity if arrangements could be made to deposit it either with their lodges, or an established library or archive before it gets into the hands of persons who may not appreciate its value.'
As Commonwealth nations mark the armistice signed to end the First World War, Diane Clements, Director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, traces the origins of Freemasons’ Hall
While the peace treaties after the First World War were still being negotiated in Versailles, following the armistice on 11 November 1918, the United Grand Lodge of England began preparations for its own masonic peace celebration in London. In June 1919, guests from lodges in Ireland, Scotland, America, Canada, New Zealand and England enjoyed a week of activities, including visits to the masonic schools and the Houses of Parliament. A peace medal was issued to those who attended the special Grand Lodge meeting on 27 June at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Connaught, was unable to attend, but he asked Lord Ampthill, the Pro Grand Master, to read a series of messages. One of these spoke of ‘a perpetual memorial’ to ‘honour the many brethren who fell during the war’. For the Grand Master, ‘The great and continued growth of Freemasonry amongst us demands a central home; and I wish it to be considered whether the question of erecting that home in this metropolis of the empire… would not be the most fitting peace memorial.’
With individual lodges considering what form their own memorials should take, the issue was raised at the Grand Lodge meeting in September 1919. Charles Goff from Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge, No. 12, asked if consideration had been given to other forms of memorial – particularly a fund to support Freemasons wounded during the war or their dependants. Charles also asked whether a major building project should proceed at a time of housing shortage. Although several lodges and Provinces decided to support local hospitals, Grand Lodge elected to proceed with its new temple.
In January 1920 details of the campaign to raise funds for the new building were distributed to lodges and individual members. The target was £1 million, giving the campaign its name – the Masonic Million Memorial Fund. Contributions were to be marked by the award of medals. Members who contributed at least 10 guineas (£10.50) were to receive a silver medal and those who gave 100 guineas (£105) or more, a gold medal. Lodges that contributed an average of 10 guineas per member were to be recorded in the new building as Hall Stone Lodges and the Master of each entitled to wear a special medal as a collarette. By the end of the appeal, 53,224 individual medals had been issued and 1,321 lodges had qualified as Hall Stone Lodges.
A design by architects HV Ashley and F Winton Newman was chosen and building work started in 1927. Construction began at the western corner of the new building, where houses on Great Queen Street had been demolished, and progressed eastwards.
The new Masonic Peace Memorial, as it was called, was dedicated on 19 July 1933. The theme of the memorial window outside the Grand Temple was the attainment of peace through sacrifice. Its main feature was the figure of peace holding a model of the tower façade of the building. In the lower panels were shown fighting men, civilians and pilgrims ascending a winding staircase towards the angel of peace.
In June 1938, the Building Committee announced that a memorial shrine, to be designed by Walter Gilbert, would be placed under the memorial window. Its symbols portrayed peace and the attainment of eternal life. It took the form of a bronze casket resting on an ark among reeds, the boat indicative of a journey that had come to an end. In the centre of the front panel a relief showed the hand of God in which rested the soul of man. At the four corners stood pairs of winged seraphim with golden trumpets and across its front were gilded figures of Moses, Joshua, Solomon and St George.
In December 1914 Grand Lodge had begun to compile a Roll of Honour of all members who had died in the war. In June 1921, the roll was declared complete, listing 3,078 names, and was printed in book form. After completion of the memorial shrine, the Roll of Honour, with the addition of over 350 names, was displayed within it on a parchment roll.
The Roll of Honour was guarded by kneeling figures representing the four fighting services (Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Flying Corps). By the time all these memorials were complete, the country was already in the midst of another war. Freemasons’ Hall continued to operate during that Second World War and survived largely undamaged so that it can be visited today.
Grand Lodge statement on masonic emblem
Complaints have been received about an advert offering for sale cufflinks and lapel pins in the form of a replica of the Hall Stone Jewel. Informal approaches had previously been made to the individual concerned, advising that the design was inappropriate and requesting that he ceased to market the items.
The Board of General Purposes concluded that the design in this context is altogether inappropriate. The device is inextricably associated with Freemasons’ Hall, which was built as a memorial to masons who gave their lives during World War I.
Except in the case of the small number of brethren still living who subscribed to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund and thereby qualified to wear an individual jewel, the privilege of wearing the Hall Stone Jewel is now restricted to the Masters of lodges whose donations to the Fund averaged 10 guineas per member, and the Provincial or District Grand Master of the Hall Stone Province (Buckinghamshire) and the Hall Stone District (Burma). The Board considered that turning such an iconic emblem into an item of personal adornment was in the worst possible taste and deeply disrespectful to the memory of the many fallen members of the Craft.
It also noted that a donation to ‘Masonic Charity’ is promised for every sale made, which it regards as an attempt to give respectability to an enterprise that appears to have been undertaken for personal gain. The Board recommends that brethren of this Constitution neither purchase nor wear such items.
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
12 June 2013
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 13 March 2013 and of the Annual Investiture of 24 April 2013 were confirmed.
Annual fees and dues
Annual Dues and Fees were confirmed.
Grand Charity annual contribution
The Grand Charity had requested that for 2014 the annual contribution be increased to £17 in respect of each member of a lodge in a Metropolitan Area or a Province, or in England and Wales that is unattached. This was approved.
Complaints have been received from several sources about an advertisement currently circulating, which offers for sale, in a variety of qualities, cuff links and lapel pins in the form of a replica of the Hall Stone Jewel. Informal approaches had previously been made to the individual concerned, advising that the design was inappropriate and requesting that he did not proceed to market the items.
The Board has now considered the advertisement and has concluded that the use of the design in this context is altogether inappropriate. The device is inextricably associated with Freemasons’ Hall, which was built as a Peace Memorial to those Freemasons who gave their lives during the Great War of 1914 to 1918.
Except in the case of the very small number of Brethren still living who subscribed ten guineas to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund and thereby qualified to wear an individual jewel, the privilege of wearing the Hall Stone Jewel is now restricted to the Masters of those lodges whose donations to the Fund averaged ten guineas per member and the Provincial or District Grand Master of the Hall Stone Province (Buckinghamshire) and the Hall Stone District (Burma).
The Board considers that the trivialising of such an iconic emblem by turning it into an item of personal adornment is in the worst possible taste, as well as deeply disrespectful to the memory of the many members of the Craft who fell in that War. It has also noted that a donation to “Masonic Charity” is promised for every sale made, which it regards as an attempt to give respectability to an enterprise which has every appearance of having been undertaken for personal gain.
The Board accordingly recommends to the Grand Lodge that Brethren of this Constitution neither purchase nor wear (whether on Masonic or on non-Masonic occasions) such lapel badges or cuff-links.
2012: Scouting and Freemasonry: two parallel organisations?
The Lecturer, W Bro A.D.G. Harvey, has informed the Board that in addition to the three official deliveries to Humber Installed Masters Lodge, No. 2494 (Yorkshire, North and East Ridings); Authors Lodge, No. 3456 (London); and North Notts. Masters Lodge, No. 9525 (Nottinghamshire), the Lecture was also delivered on 41other occasions throughout the Constitution. The Board desires to express its thanks to Bro Harvey for the considerable time and effort he has spent in this connection.
2013: As we were seen - the Press and Freemasonry
The Prestonian Lecturer for 2013 is W Bro P.R. Calderwood, PSGD. Three official Prestonian Lectures for 2013 have been or will be given under the auspices of Jubilee Masters Lodge, No. 2712 (London) Bowen Lodge, No. 2816 (Buckinghamshire) Torbay Masters Lodge, No. 8227 (Devonshire).
2014: 1814: Consolidation and Change
The Board has submitted a nomination to the Trustees of the Prestonian Fund and they have appointed W Bro Dr M.A. Kearsley as Prestonian Lecturer for 2014. Bro Kearsley states that the title of his Lecture will be 1814: Consolidation and Change.
Arrangements for the delivery of the Lectures to selected lodges will be considered by the Board in November and applications are now invited from lodges. Applications should be made to the Grand Secretary, through Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.
The Board desires to emphasise the importance of these, the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by lodges which are prepared to afford facilities for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.
The Board has received reports that the following lodges have resolved to surrender their Warrants: (a) Townfield Lodge, No. 7024, in order to amalgamate with De Tatton Lodge, No. 2144 (Cheshire); and (b) Watling Lodge, No. 8090, in order to amalgamate with Barham Lodge, No. 6004 (Hertfordshire).
A recommendation that the lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.
Erasure of lodges
The Board has received a report that 31 lodges have closed and surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are: Lodge of Harmony, No. 288 (East Lancashire), Alexandra Lodge, No. 1581 (South Africa, Eastern Division), Lennox Browne Lodge, No. 2318 (Essex), Orde-Powlett Lodge, No. 2391 (Yorkshire, North and East Ridings).
East Anglian Lodge, No. 2920 (London), Culham College Lodge, No. 2951 (Oxfordshire), Holborn Borough Council Lodge, No. 3272 (London), Balham-Crogdaene Lodge, No. 3388 (Surrey), West Salford Lodge, No. 3867 (East Lancashire), Quadrivium Lodge, No. 3921 (East Lancashire), Newbury Park Lodge, No. 4458 (Essex), Vesey Lodge, No. 4473 (Warwickshire).
Lowy of Tonbridge Lodge, No. 4834 (West Kent), Birchwood Lodge, No. 5178 (Hertfordshire), St Wilfrith of Sussex Lodge, No. 5274 (Sussex), Goldsmiths’ College Lodge, No. 5398 (London), Eastcote Lodge, No. 5515 (Middlesex).
Alkrington Lodge, No. 6102 (East Lancashire), Bentley Priory Lodge, No. 6134 (London), Bolton Lodge, No. 6603 (East Lancashire), Lodge of Antient Bromleag, No. 6716 (West Kent), Lodge of Good Endeavour, No. 6858 (Essex), Hartshead Lodge, No. 7042 (East Lancashire), Tessera Lodge, No. 7131 (Surrey).
Pattern Lodge, No. 7314 (West Kent), Aurea Filia Lodge, No. 7523 (London), Shelburne Lodge, No. 7719 (Buckinghamshire), Rother Valley Lodge, No. 8216 (Sussex), Spinnaker Lodge, No. 8395 (East Kent), Runnymede Lodge, No. 9014 (Surrey) and Findon Lodge, No. 9034 (Sussex).
A recommendation that they be erased was approved.
Grand lodge accounts for 2012
The Audited Accounts of Grand Lodge for the year ended 31 December 2012 were adopted.
Election of Grand Lodge auditors
The re-election of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, as Auditors of Grand Lodge was approved.
Motion pursuant to notice
Amendments to the Book of Constitutions
An amendment to Rule 153, Book of Constitutions: Treasurer’s Duties and Lodge Accounts, was approved.
List of new lodges for which warrants have been granted
No. 9885 Thames Valley Motorcycle Lodge (13 March 2013), Wokingham, Berkshire; No. 9886 Bradfordians Lodge (13 March 2013), Bradford, Yorkshire West Riding.
Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge
These will be held on 11 September 2013, 11 December 2013, 12 March 2014, 30 April 2014 (Annual Investiture), 11 June 2014, 10 September 2014.
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter
16 October 2013 (transferred to this date from 13 November by Resolution of Grand Chapter, passed on 26 April 2012), 1 May 2014, 12 November 2014, 30 April 2015.
QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION OF GRAND LODGE
WEDNESDAY, 14 MARCH 2012
REPORT OF THE BOARD OF GENERAL PURPOSES
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 14 December 2011 were confirmed.
HRH The Duke of Kent KG was unanimously re-elected Grand Master.
GRAND LODGE REGISTER 2002–2011
The tables below show the number of lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
Lodges on the Grand Lodge Register
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
London 1,581 1,570 1,556 1,552 1,532 1,489 1,458 1,433 1,397 1,374
Provincial 6,231 6,212 6,170 6,130 6,075 5,996 5,900 5,840 5,774 5,694
District and Abroad 793 791 787 784 782 768 736 731 722 724
Total 8,605 8,573 8,513 8,466 8,389 8,253 8,094 8,004 7,893 7,792
Grand Lodge Certificates Issued 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Issued at Freemasons' Hall 8,116 8,106 7,953 8,092 7,336 7,490 7,539 7,538 7,078 7,391
Issued by District Grand Masters 817 790 450 770 763 613 695 753 478 698
Total 8,933 8,896 8,403 8,862 8,099 8,103 8,234 8,291 7,556 8,089
COMMISSION FOR APPEALS COURTS
The following have been elected by the Rulers' Forum as Members of the Commission for Appeals Courts, with effect from the Annual Investiture of Grand Officers, for 2012 to 2015:
J.R. Bevan (South Wales), C.G.A. Aylwin (London), P.J. Rodd (East Kent), S.S. Howarth, (London), J.K. McLauchlan (Leicestershire and Rutland), C.C. Hodson (Nottinghamshire),
A.R.P.A. Ullstein, QC (London) and R.A. Bayliss (Surrey).
Additionally, His Honour Judge D.E.H. Edwards DL, has been elected to serve until 2014, filling the vacancy caused by the appointment of G.G. Dearing as Provincial Grand Master for East Kent.
PANEL FOR CLEMENCY
The following Brethren have been elected by the Rulers' Forum to serve on the Panel for Clemency, with effect from the Annual Investiture of Grand Officers, in addition to the President and Deputy President of the Board of General Purposes:
M.B. Davies, J. Gillyon, W.C.M. Dastur, R.B. Pemberton, D.H. Lane and .J. Burger.
3.4 Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions to introduce the office of Mentor was given at the Quarterly Communication in December 2011. The Notice of Motion included a description of the jewel, but no illustration was at that time available. The Board has now considered the design of the jewel, as follows:
HALL STONE JEWELS
Two versions of the Hall Stone Jewel issued to reward donations to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund, established to finance the building of the present Freemasons' Hall as a Masonic Peace Memorial are in common circulation: the individual subscriber's breast jewel, 1½" wide, in silver, engraved with the name and lodge of the Brother, which is suspended from a dark blue ribbon; and the Hall Stone Lodge Jewel, 17⁄8" wide, in silver gilt, engraved with the name and number of the lodge and date of its presentation in the Grand Lodge, which is appended to a light blue collarette, as prescribed in Plate 58 of the Book of Constitutions.
Very few Brethren indeed are left who are entitled to wear the small individual jewels, and those jewels now appear to be regarded as collectable items, which are traded quite regularly. The Board sees nothing objectionable in this.
The Lodge Hall Stone Jewels were presented to qualifying lodges by the Grand Master to mark the contributions those lodges had made. They were not, however, bought by those Lodges, and have always been the property of the Grand Master, to be returned, along with the Warrant and lodge's records if the lodge ceased to exist. Such returned Jewels have then been available as a source of replacements where a Hall Stone Lodge has lost – whether through theft, accident or otherwise – its original Jewel.
The Board is concerned both at the frequency with which Lodge Hall Stone Jewels have recently been offered for sale over the internet, and that former members of certain lodges which have been erased have refused to return the Hall Stone Jewel despite repeated requests that they do so.
The Board therefore recommends that the Grand Lodge place the matter beyond argument by declaring that a Lodge Hall Stone Jewel remains the property of the Grand Master and must be delivered up along with the Warrant if the Lodge is erased.
CHARGES FOR WARRANTS
In accordance with the provisions of Rule 270A, Book of Constitutions, the Board has considered the costs of preparing the actual documents specified in this Rule and recommends that for the year commencing 1 April 2012 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be as follows:
(a) Warrant for a new Lodge .......................................................... £320
(b) Warrant of Confirmation ........................................................... £800
(c) Warrant for a Centenary Jewel .................................................. £480
(d) Warrant of Confirmation for a Centenary Jewel ........................... £690
(e) Warrant for a Bi-Centenary Bar ................................................. £735
(f) Warrant of Confirmation for a Bi-Centenary Bar ........................... £735
(g) Certificate of Amalgamation ....................................................... £80
(h) Enfacement (Alterations) Fee ...................................................... £110
ERASURE OF LODGES
The Board has received a report that 35 lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The lodges are:
Ancient Union and Princes Lodge, No. 203 (West Lancashire), Blair Lodge, No. 815 (East Lancashire), Mayo Lodge, No. 1413 (Middlesex), Musgrave Lodge, No. 1597 (Middlesex),
Leopold Lodge, No. 1775 (East Lancashire), St Oswin Lodge, No. 2327 (Northumberland),
Willesden Lodge, No. 2489 (London), Friendship and Fellowship Lodge, No. 3333 (Cheshire), Gaddesden Lodge, No. 3398 (Hertfordshire), Chatsworth Lodge, No. 3430 (Derbyshire), Evening Star Lodge, No. 3644 (Cheshire), Cardiff Exchange Lodge, No. 3775 (South Wales), Camberwell Old Comrades Lodge, No. 4077 (West Kent).
St Margaret's Lodge, No. 4489 (Middlesex), Lodge of St Margaret, No. 4619 (West Lancashire), Whitton Lodge, No. 4770 (Middlesex) and Gibraltar Lodge, No. 4997 (London),
Royal Chase Forest Lodge, No. 5706 (Middlesex), Hastings Lodge, No. 6035 (Northumberland), Peace and Concord Lodge, No. 6065 (Cheshire), Forest View Lodge, No. 6588 (Essex), Old Grammarian Lodge of Waterloo, No. 6776 (West Lancashire), St Cuthbert Lodge, No. 6865 (Sussex), Albion Lodge, No. 6980 (Zimbabwe), Broad Acres Lodge, No. 7012 (Yorkshire, West Riding), Fairfield Lodge, No. 7501 (Surrey), Research Lodge, No. 8309 (Zimbabwe), New Milton Lodge, No. 8370 (Hampshire and Isle of Wight), Kymer Lodge, No. 8521 (Sussex), Cloisters Lodge, No. 8623 (East Lancashire), St Michael in Castro Lodge, No. 8838 (East Lancashire), Haven of Peace Lodge, No. 8857 (London), Naval Lodge, No. 9294 (South Africa, Western Division), East Lancashire Rotary Lodge, No. 9345 (East Lancashire) and Millennium Lodge of Research, No. 9728 (Durham).
Over recent years, the lodges have found themselves no longer viable. The Board is satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore has no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. A Resolution to this effect was approved.
3.13 As required by Rule 277 (a) (i) (B) and (D), Book of Constitutions, 12 Brethren were recently expelled from the Craft.
LIST OF NEW LODGES FOR WHICH WARRANTS HAVE BEEN GRANTED BY THE GRAND MASTER
With effect from 8 June 2011
9868 Idris Lodge (Perak, Eastern Archipelago)
With effect from 9 November 2011
9869 Lakeside Lodge (Paralimni, Cyprus)
QUARTERLY COMMUNICATIONS OF GRAND LODGE
25 April 2012 Annual Investiture), 13 June 2012, 12 September 2012, 12 December 2012, 13 March 2013 and 12 June 2013.
CONVOCATIONS OF SUPREME GRAND CHAPTER
26 April 2012, 14 November 2012, 25 April 2013 and 16 October 2013 (subject to the approval of Grand Chapter).
Croydon Freemason Cyril Spackman was a man of many talents, including winning the design competition for the Hall Stone Jewel, as Alan Chard explains
At a special meeting of Grand Lodge in June 1919, the Grand Master, the Duke of Connaught, expressed a wish that a memorial be established to commemorate those brethren who had made the supreme sacrifice in the 1914-1918 war.
It was agreed that this memorial should be a building of a central home for Freemasonry on a site to be selected in London.
The Masonic Million Memorial Fund was then launched in September that year and brethren both at home and overseas were invited to contribute to raise the £1m needed to finance the work.
The contributions from individuals and Lodges were to be recognised by the award of a commemorative jewel.
For the jewel design it was decided to hold an open competition with a £75 prize for the winner, and at the Grand Lodge meeting in June 1921 it was announced that the design selected was that submitted by Cyril Saunders Spackman.
He was initiated into Panmure Lodge No. 720 on 21 January 1918 when 30 years old. The Lodge was to become a Hall Stone Jewel Lodge, although Spackman resigned in February 1923.
But in 1937 he thought there was a need for a new Surrey Lodge to be formed to cater for professions such as engineers, architects, surveyors etc. This led to the founding of Beaux Arts Lodge No. 5707, consecrated at Sutton Masonic Hall on 28 January 1938. Spackman and Sadler, his father-in-law, were both founder members, Spackman being the first secretary, and Sadler the first Master.
With the coming of war, Surrey County Council requisitioned the Hall for use as a rest centre, but Spackman came to the rescue and offered the Lodge the use of his studio for its meetings.
As a result, the Lodge met there regularly from 1939 to 1948. Spackman became Master in January 1940, and had the unique distinction of being installed in a ceremony conducted in his own home.
He remained secretary right up to his death, and even during his year in the chair, he continued to deal with Lodge affairs, although another Brother was secretary by name.
He was a man of many talents – architect, painter, sculptor, teacher, writer, Freemason. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on 15 August 1887, the only son of a Welsh Methodist minister the Rev. John and Adele Saunders Spackman.
Educated in schools on both sides of the Atlantic, in 1922 he was commissioned to paint the portrait of a prominent Croydon Freemason, Richard Joseph Sadler.
Mr Sadler had a daughter, Ada Victoria, and romance blossomed, and later that year they were married. The Croydon Times (19 August 1958), in an interview with Spackman, reported:
A high-ranking Surrey Freemason, he recalled that it was Freemasonry that led to his marriage with Miss Queenie Sadler, the well-known Croydon violinist in 1922, and to his coming to live in Croydon. He first met her when he was asked to paint the portrait of her father, who was then a prominent Freemason. “And it was a real Masonic wedding, in St Matthew’s, George Street” Mr Spackman remembered.
They had one daughter, who became a writer, and a son who became an RAF pilot, and who then flew with British Overseas Airways Corporation. Then he became a designer and test pilot with Miles Beagle Aircraft. Tragically he was killed during a flight at the age of 35.
At their home in East Croydon, Cyril Spackman had a splendid studio built to his own design in which he could exhibit his own works and hold meetings.
Hall Stone Jewel
The Masonic Million Memorial Fund Commemorative Jewel, issued to individual subscribers. The design was described at the time as follows:
“The jewel is in the form of a cross, symbolising Sacrifice, with a perfect square at the four ends, on the left and right squares being the dates 1914-1918, the years in which the supreme sacrifice was made. Between these is a winged figure of Peace presenting the representation of a Temple with special Masonic allusion in the Pillars, Porch and Steps. The medal is suspended by the Square and Compasses, attached to a ribband, the whole thus symbolising the Craft’s gift of a Temple in memory of those brethren who gave all for King and Country, Peace and Victory, Liberty and Brotherhood.”
In 1930 he was elected a Licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Although he trained as an architect he had always wanted to be a painter, and in 1913 he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition at the age of 26.
The work accepted was Westminster Abbey – the West Front. In 1916 another work was accepted – Crickhowell Bridge, Wales and the following year The Edge of the Coppice was approved.
One commission he must have enjoyed was for Queen Mary’s Doll’s House. Queen Mary had always been an enthusiastic collector of antiques, especially miniatures, and the Doll’s House was intended to be not just a gift, but also to promote the work of leading British artists, designers and craftsmen.
Built on the scale of 1:12 it was completed in time to appear at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924. After the exhibition closed it was taken to Windsor Castle for permanent exhibition, where it has remained to this day.
The architect of the house was Sir Edward Lutyens – one of the three assessors for the design competition in 1924-1926 to select an architect for the new Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street, London.
More than 1,500 craftsmen and artists were invited by him to participate in the construction of the house and its furnishings, including Spackman, who contributed Fir Trees against a Sunset Sky.
Honours now came to Cyril Spackman, and in 1916 he was elected a member of the Royal Miniature Society and the Royal Society of British Artists (RSBA).
For Freemasons, his most important commission was the design in 1921 of the Hall Stone Jewel for the United Grand Lodge of England, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1922.
He was very proud that the jewel is a main feature in the central panel of the stained glass window behind the shrine on the first floor vestibule at Freemasons’ Hall.
However, there is one interesting change in the jewel in the panel. When he designed it in 1921 this was prior to the architectural competition for the new building.
When the window was designed several years later, the façade was now known, so the winged figure of Peace, instead of holding a model of a classic temple – as in the jewel itself – is actually holding a model of the Tower façade for the building.
The Duke of Devonshire was Grand Master 1947-1950, and in 1950 Spackman exhibited at a Winter Exhibition of the RSBA a bust of the Duke, and in December that year he presented it to Grand Lodge.
In 1944 he was admitted into the Worshipful Company of Masons, which had its origins in the operative guild formed to control the stone trade in London.
Spackman was generous with his time and talents and was a well-known and active figure in the local community. He was chairman of the Croydon University Extension Committee, the Committee of the Croydon Writers Circle, an Honorary Vice-President of the Croydon Symphony Orchestra and a Vice-President of the Croydon Camera Club.
Not only were Lodge meetings held at his home, but he let it out to local cultural groups, and in the studio he took private lessons and held classes in architecture, painting, sculpture and drawing.
He had an international reputation, and his works were widely exhibited from the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool to the Cleveland Museum of Art in the United States. As a writer his one major publication appears to have been Colour Prints of a Dream Garden and Old World Garden, a collection of prints taken from original drawings, some of which had been exhibited at the Royal Academy.
Some of his work has been left to posterity. There are prints in the British Museum, drawings in the permanent art collections in some City Art Galleries, and works in private collections in the UK, USA, France, Holland and Sweden – and, of course, the Hall Stone Jewel.
Cyril Spackman died of a heart attack on 16 May 1963 at the age of 76.
Acknowledgements: The author wishes to thank the National Art Library, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Society of Arts Commerce and Manufacture, the Royal Institute of British Architects, Croydon Local History and Archives, Westminster Central Reference Library and the Library and Museum of Freemasonry. Particular thanks are due to Dr Susan Owens (Royal Collection Trust), Peter Clark (Worshipful Company of Masons), Stephen Freeth and Juliet Barnes (Corporation of London), Stephen Briney (Panmure Lodge No. 720), Douglas Burford (Beaux Arts Lodge) and James Nye (Remigium Lodge No. 7343).