Tony Harrison, PGM of West Lancashire, made his first visit to Warrington Masonic Hall to open the Museum and Library started by Vic Charlesworth in 2010
Vic told Tony that he started the collection with one cupboard in the hall. In the last three years many more exhibits have been donated, including many rare and unusual jewels, some of which were new to the Grand Lodge museum in London.
Tony shared tea and biscuits with the friends of the museum and the members of the board of trustees: Barry Jameson (chairman), Vic Charlesworth (curator), John Pether (secretary), Jim Cartledge (treasurer) Mike Williams (board of directors representative), John McIntyre (group representative) and Caroline Crook (archivist),
Barry welcomed Tony on behalf of trustees to the museum, thanking him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to open the museum. Tony formally opened the museum by unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion.
Tony said he was delighted to be asked to open the museum and library which has a wide range of items that had been loaned or presented to the group over many years.
Tony then surprised everyone by presenting Vic with a special plaque to thank him for all his hard work and effort to create the museum. Tony said: 'I have never seen anything like this collection of masonic regalia and memorabilia. It is a truly wonderful display.'
Vic then presented Tony with a set of cufflinks and a tie pin with the Museum and Library logo. Tony then spent some time looking at some of the exhibits which are displayed in wall mounted display cabinets that were made by Vic and the late Ted Pargeter for the display of many of the smaller and lighter items such as regalia, jewels and aprons and these were first documented and then subsequently displayed on the first floor of the masonic hall.
There is now virtually a full collection of jewels from every Warrington lodge on display, together with interesting exhibits of charity jewels, hall stone jewels, collar jewels and a few examples of side degree aprons and associated jewels. David Wood has loaned the museum part of his collection of masonic jewels including a very rare Thomas Harper jewel from 1827.
Two floor standing display cabinets were kindly loaned by Warrington Museum, Eric Drinkwater donated two large cabinets and six more were acquired following the closure of a high quality gift store in Warrington.
There are also many volumes of masonic books and literature stored in other display cabinets which Vic is in the process of documenting, which are available for research.
After the opening ceremony Vic said: 'I hope to achieve charity status and with the help of the Friends of the Museum – who are providing an income stream for the museum – charity status should be achievable shortly, followed by full museum status.'
Vic also said he was very grateful to the individual Freemasons who had made large donations and the lodges in the group who had paid £100 to be friends of the museum and the numerous number of people in the group who had helped him during the last five years to develop the museum.
Vic concluded by saying he was very thankful for the help he had received from the Warrington Museum Curator Janice Hayes, Michelle Hill our Museum Mentor and Craig Sherwood.