The original Goose and Gridiron inn sign
The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Michael Savory (centre), himself a Freemason, accompanied by (right) RW Bro Peter Lowndes, Deputy Grand Master and Geoffrey Goodman, chairman of the Goose and Gridiron Society, at the unveiling of the plaque
in Paternoster Square, in the shadow
of St Paulís Cathedral
An historic Masonic event took place on
15 June in the shadow of St Paulís when the Lord Mayor of London, Michael Savory, together with representatives of the United Grand Lodge of England, unveiled a blue plaque to commemorate the site of the worldís first Grand Lodge of Freemasons.
So it was that 288 years after the meeting in 1717 at the Goose and Gridiron tavern situated by St Paulís Cathedral, that a second unveiling took place.
It all began when I was in the maps
and prints section of the City of London Guildhall library. I happened upon a four-volume set of pasted up scrapbooks whose contents collated the history of coffee shops, inns and taverns around the turn of the
These finely blue-bound scrapbooks turned out to be a veritable goldmine of
the history of English Freemasonry, for the author had garnered information on the many buildings which had been, or were due for demolition during the great building boom of 1880-1900.
I came upon a page containing a photograph of the Goose and Gridiron tavern, together with some notes and newspaper clippings. The 8 x 4 photograph showed this historic building one month before it was to be demolished. It was boarded up and posters advertising the auction of the contents were stuck on the doors and boarded windows. Two young boys, one who must have moved and was blurred, are looking at the photographer.
I later showed them to Leo Zanelli, editor of The Square, and we discovered
that it was the only known photograph of the Goose and Gridiron tavern in existence.
In 1995, along with David Peabody and Alan Trotter, we formed the Goose and Gridiron Society for research into Masonic taverns etc. Our aim was to meet in pubs with Masonic connections, enjoy a few beers and take down the details of the building for posterity.