Garibaldi in London exhibition at Library and Museum of Freemasonry

Thursday, 05 June 2014

Garibaldi in London

To mark the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Garibaldi’s trip to London, the Library and Museum explores his extraordinary impact on Victorian society

In April 1864 the Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi arrived in Britain. His leadership of the Expedition of the Thousand in southern Italy in 1860 had already captivated public opinion. On his arrival Garibaldi was greeted by vast crowds, met the Prince of Wales and dined with the nobility. The Italian also met with exiled revolutionaries, working men and those who had fought alongside him in the struggle for Italian unification. 

Garibaldi was ruler of the Supreme Council Grand Orient of Italy based in Palermo, so English and Scottish Freemasons also responded to his visit. He received a deputation from Polish National Lodge, No. 534, led by its Master, the artist Sigismund Rosenthal, and the lodge presented him with one of its distinctive lodge jewels. 

While Garibaldi was at the theatre, one of his entourage, Giuseppe Basile, attended a meeting of Salisbury Lodge, No. 435, in Soho. He relayed Garibaldi’s request for membership of the lodge, which was agreed. Towards the end of his trip, Garibaldi also visited Colonel John Whitehead Peard, known as ‘Garibaldi’s Englishman’ and a member of Fowey Lodge, No. 977. 

Garibaldi’s ‘celebrity’ was marked in contemporary media and through souvenirs. The summer exhibition at the Library and Museum will include many of the items associated with him, including one of his swords, now in the possession of an English lodge, Italia Lodge, No. 2687. 

The exhibition at the Library and Museum runs until 29 August 2014, Monday-Friday. Admission is free

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