A bright Saturday morning in January saw a unique event for Freemasonry at Shropshire's Harper Adams University College
The Consecration of The Iron Bridge Lodge No. 9897, the first new lodge to be formed as a member of the Universities Scheme, takes its name from the world renowned Iron Bridge built by Abraham Darby across the River Severn at Coalbrookdale in 1779.
The beautiful and all too rare ceremony was watched by a packed house of masons from Shropshire and beyond, and the 42 founders moved in perfect synchronisation around the lodge room to the music of George Frederick Handel!
The Iron Bridge Lodge became, at its inception, Shropshire's 34th lodge, the first to be consecrated there since West Mercia Lodge No. 9719 in the year 2000. At a stroke, the new lodge added eight masons to Shropshire's roll – but its main aim is to encourage young men, especially students, to enjoy their Freemasonry in line with the other sixty or so members of the Universities Scheme which is enjoying such success around the country. Although sadly unable to be present, a message from RW Bro David Williamson was read at the meeting, in which he wished the members of the new lodge well.
After the first Installation was completed, the brethren enjoyed an excellent Festive Board featuring local produce – most notably Shropshire beef. The new Worshipful Master was able to announce that an Initiate was already 'in the pipeline', and social events were also planned for the near future. The DepPrGM Roger Pemberton is among a group of brethren who will link the bridge with Freemasonry's Shropshire centre when they walk the 18 miles from Ironbridge along the River Severn to Shrewsbury in the spring.