ISSUE 18, July 2006
Editorial
Archbishop Fisher: A Godly man and a Brother
Travel: The train takes the strain
Quarterly Communication: Annual Investiture speech by the Grand Master and Speech of the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes Grand Lodge of New York: Speech by the Pro Grand Master
   Specialist Lodges: Keeping their eyes on the ball
Education: Planning ahead for the Chair and Events and New premises for Masonic research
Royal Opera House: A right Royal occasion
Royal opening: Beamish Museum
Digital records: Saving our past for the future
Library & Museum: The hall in the garden
Queen's Birthday: Masons played a prominent part
International: A Mason and the Foreign Legion
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity and NMSF and RMBI and RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Toast survey needed
I very much appreciated the Star Letter, “Shorten those toasts” (MQ, Issue No. 17) by Jim Prior of Maidstone, Kent. I suspect that many other Masons share his opinion and agree that an official survey could well clarify the matter.
    Fred Trowern, Andover, Hampshire

Regarding too many toasts (Letters, MQ Issue No. 17), I especially noticed long toast lists on returning to England after some 40 years in Masonry overseas where, in general, we have much shorter lists.
    Sydney Litherland, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex

Regarding shortened toasts, my Lodge uses the full list at Installations, but at other meetings restrict them as follows:
    The Queen and the Craft;
    Our Rulers Supreme and Subordinate (covers the Grand Master down to the IPM and requires no response);
    The Initiate (if applicable);
    The Guests/Visitors;
    The Tyler.
    Colin Pascoe, Biggin Hill, Kent

Keep the toasts
It is encouraging to demonstrate to new Masons a little decorum, respect and acknowledgement of senior rank, so that they appreciate promotions are not distributed lightly.
    The festive board must be enjoyed and this includes all the appropriate toasts according to Lodge etiquette and Masonic tradition.
    This is something a Mason should be proud to do and work hard to aspire to.
    The wearers of those aprons have no doubt been very dedicated to the Craft and have worked hard to achieve such acclaim.
    Ken Connolly, Gilston, Hertfordshire

Fees and older brethren
In issue 17 of MQ I note that rule 270b Book of Constitutions has been added to encourage the recruitment of younger people to the craft with a reduction in Grand Lodge fees and registration of 50%.
    This action is to be applauded. However, Grand Lodge has ignored the plight of the older brethren who are on fixed incomes, and in many cases are struggling to maintain membership of the Lodge or Lodges to which they are committed.
    This is especially so since the recent excessive increases in Grand Lodge fees, and has meant a large number of these brethren are considering their commitments to Lodges of which they have been long-term supporters.
    Resignations are and will be forthcoming on an increasing number as older brethren realise they cannot maintain membership of multiple Lodges due to the financial constraints they are under.
    Grand Lodge should consider the total picture, not just plug gaps as they arise, and give anyone over 70 a similar reduction in fees. At least it would be some reward for the commitment they have shown over many years of service.
    Bill Wood, Solihull

Scout venue
The Scout Association owns two of London’s most unique conference centres, which are open to all such as Masons.
    Gilwell Park, on the edge of Epping Forest, is a 108-acre woodland estate and includes a purpose-built conference suite and overnight accommodation in a fully restored Grade 2 Listed building. It is five minutes from J26 of the M25 and 25 minutes from central London by train.
    Baden-Powell House overlooks the Natural History Museum and is five minutes from South Kensington and Gloucester Road Tube stations and includes a rooftop garden with magnificent views.
    Masons can contact us at www.scouts.org.uk/nationalcentres and take a ‘virtual tour’ of our rooms at www.findmeaconference.com. Find us listed under the location ‘Chingford’ and ‘Kensington’ respectively.
    Lyndsey Nassim, The Scout Association

Watt and the steam engine
In your very interesting Library and Museum acquisitions article (MQ, Issue No. 17) you perpetuate the fallacy that James Watt invented the steam engine. He did not.
    He made an enormous improvement to the efficiency of the Newcomen engine, partly by adopting an external condenser, but also by taking advantage of other engineering developments, notably the invention of the boring bar by John Wilkinson. This made possible truly circular cylinders with close-fitting pistons.
    The Watt engine, however, remained a slow and cumbersome piece of machinery, fit for little other than pumping water.
    The development of the steam engine in the 19th century had to await its adaptation to high pressure steam by Richard Trevithick.
    The fore-edge painting on the Proceedings Book in the article appears to have been added during the early 1840s.
    There were no passenger trains in 1824, and neither did the primitive colliery locomotives which then existed look anything like that in the picture.
    B J Wagg, Halesworth, Suffolk

Openness in New Zealand
My wife and I were on a holiday in New Zealand. We saw:
    – street signs showing where the Lodges were;
    – named Lodges in the main high street also advertising the premises for weddings, parties and general social events;
    – notices outside Lodges showing dates and times of meetings;
    – the Square and Compasses in the obituary column of local papers when a brother had died.
    Also, we came up behind a car at traffic lights and my wife spotted the Square and Compasses on the equivalent of a fridge magnet attached to the rear of the car!
    It was refreshing to see such openness, something I am sure we could make use of as we attempt to portray a more public image.
    Owen Edwards

Ritual not for reading
I totally agree with Hugh O’Neill and Keith Tallon (MQ, Issue No. 16) about reading the ritual. It certainly distracts from the sincerity and dignity of any ceremony and it should be actively discouraged by Provinces, Lodges and possibly DCs.
    Let’s cease this practice as soon as possible!
    G J Morrow, Isle of Man

I am very much opposed to the reading of ritual, but the Obligations, it could be argued, are not part of the ritual, but something the candidate is instructed to say.
    Being told to say something is not very different from being instructed to read it.
    John Salisbury, Solihull

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