The members of the Lodge of Unanimity No.113 celebrated a very special landmark on 20 March 2012 in their long and distinguished history by reaching their 200th year as an active Masonic lodge.
This unique meeting attracted a capacity audience with many distinguished visitors attending from around the country to share in and contribute to the celebrations. The Provincial Grand Master, Peter John Hosker, and his Provincial team headed up the West Lancashire contingent.
Dr Mike Woodcock, the President of Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, attended from London, together with John Hamill, the Director of Special Projects at UGLE, along with the Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, The Hon. Andrew Wigram. They all contributed to a highly polished ceremony.
At the beginning of the evening and to set the scene for the celebrations, Dr Richard Johnson gave a brief history of the Preston Group of Lodges and the historical development of Freemasonry in the City. This was followed by Peter Watson’s potted history of the Lodge of Unanimity itself and how it was founded at the height of the Napoleonic War. It was developed from the 3rd Regiment of the Royal Lancashire Militia who, although on duty in Dover during the Napoleonic War, obtained a re-assigned warrant on 13 March 1812 from the Antient Grand Lodge to enable them to operate as a military lodge.
The bicentenary warrant was then read by John Hamill and presented to the lodge by Mike Woodcock. Following the presentation the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Rev Graham Halsall, gave a delightful narration and re-dedication prayer.
The Lodge of Unanimity is an Atholl Lodge and to mark this special occasion Geoffrey Abraham, the national chair of the Atholl Lodges Association, presented an inscribed gavel to the lodge.
To further highlight this special event the lodge gave a number of generous donations to charities. They gave £1,000 to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and a total of £900 to non-Masonic charities. These included £300 to the Lancashire and South Cumbria Kidney Patient Association, £300 to the Lymphoma Association and £300 to the neo natal care unit at Royal Preston Hospital.
The Bi-centenary History Booklet of the lodge reveals the significant part played by the lodge and its members in the development of Freemasonry in Preston. In particular, 113 has created five daughter lodges in Preston, and one in Garstang, and from these lodges, numerous granddaughter and great granddaughter lodges have been founded in the Province.
This bicentenary celebration has highlighted that Freemasonry has a breadth that appeals to those who are seeking friendship and moral guidance; an opportunity to be of service within the community; a quiet haven for a few hours from the troubles of the world; or just the pure, simple enjoyment of being in the company of like-minded people. These enduring qualities of Freemasonry help to ensure that it continues to give to future generations the pleasure and experience that our predecessors and along with this generation have found in it.
The building had been financed as part of the Charity’s investment portfolio and it already looks like an excellent investment.