ISSUE 20, January 2007
Historic: Dr Thomas Barnardo - children's saviour
Travel: South African journey
London Gala Evening: Royal Masonic Variety Show
Centenary Celebrations: Scouting's milestone
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the Pro 1st Grand Principal and Report of the Cttee of General Purposes
Library and Museum: Facets of Fraternity
   Specialist Lodge: Internet Lodge - Masonry on the Web
Special Events: Spamalot and the Alternative Hair Show at Grand Lodge
Freemasons' Hall: ADelphi System - A computer revolution
Mark Master Masons: Duke of Kent at 150th anniversary
Breeches Bible: A Lodge locker's secret
Masonic Arboretum: Planting an idea
Education: Events and The hoodwink
Masonic Charities: RMTGB and Grand Charity and Legacy appeal and RMBI and NMSF
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Bringing The House Down –
A Family Memoir by David Profumo,
John Murray, £20.
ISBN 13 978-0-7195-6608-0.
    The Profumo Affair was a tragedy at many levels. It ended the political career of the central figure John Profumo; other members of the ill-starred cast suffered humiliation – and, in the case of Stephen Ward, death at his own hand.
    The Conservative Government never recovered and lost the next General Election. To the surprise of many, given the extreme pressure which she must have been under, Profumo’s wife, the actress Valerie Hobson, stood by him.
    So much has been written about the scandal that held the nation’s attention in a rare way that it is questionable whether there is need for more. But in Bringing The House Down, their son David does indeed provide an angle that is insightful without being disloyal.
    Almost incredibly, the Great Fall, as it was known to the family, was never broken to him by his parents. Some five years later the folly of this became clear when, at the start of his Eton career, an older boy cruelly disclosed the ‘secret’.
    There is far more to this book than the re-telling of what has been described as ‘the nation’s favourite bedtime story’. An accomplished novelist, David Profumo acts as the biographer of his parents. Jack – as John Profumo was known – served with distinction during World War Two, was a highly respected MP and, after his disgrace, made Toynbee Hall his mission in life, besides his family and friends.
    Valerie was already a leading light on the London stage when she fell in love with Profumo (she was in a failing marriage at the time) and her dignity, courage and loyalty to him was greatly admired. In this commendably objective study, David produces enough evidence to persuade the reader that theirs remained an enviable marriage despite everything.

Tempting The Fates – A Memoir
by Major General Dare Wilson,
Pen & Sword, £19.99.
ISBN 1 84415 435 1.
    If you fought throughout the Second World War you must be in your mideighties. The chances are that you would have written your memoirs about a couple of decades ago, as a retirement occupation.
    It may have taken Wilson rather over long to find the time to tell his story, but thank goodness he has.
    An undergraduate at Cambridge whose studies were rudely interrupted by Hitler’s ambitions, Dare Wilson joined the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and served with the British Expeditionary Force before being evacuated at Dunkirk. He later saw service in the Middle East, Italy and North-West Europe.
    Bitten by the military bug, he served on and in short order found himself in Palestine, a messy affair, and amid the horrors of Korea, without any features. Later he saw action against the Mau Mau in Kenya and was one of the last to leave Aden in 1967.
    He was one of the few British officers to witness America’s nemesis in Vietnam. That is by no means the end of Wilson’s story as he commanded 22 SAS and led the regimental team that set the new world Free Fall Altitude record, but not without one member dying in the process. A truly extraordinary episode.
    If you overlook that he learnt to fly helicopters in his fifties and skied, did the Cresta Run, shot and parachuted competitively at high level, then nothing much else happened during his truly ‘Boys Only’ career.
    Too busy to get married while serving, he put this omission right when he returned to St John’s College, before becoming the first Exmoor National Park Officer.
    If you only ever read one military memoir, why not make it this one.

The Insider – The Private Diaries
of a Scandalous Decade by
Piers Morgan, Ebury Press. £7.99.
ISBN 0091908 493.
    You cannot always judge by first appearances. The Insider looks poor. The type is too small and the page too busy. These factors, along with the fact that the author Piers Morgan may very possibly be your bête-noir, makes an inauspicious start.
    Morgan was the thoroughly in-yourface, sensation-seeking editor of, first, The News of the World and then The Daily Mirror, who finally departed after publishing forged photographs of our troops mistreating Iraqis. His enforced leisure time has been well spent writing up his more sensational experiences during the years he held these jobs.
    Adopting a diary approach, his style is highly readable and he combines a mischievous sense of humour with mature insight. I was as surprised as he was to discover the lengths to which he was courted by the powerful, rich and famous.
    If you don’t want to hear about cosy lunches with Princess Diana and William, numerous meetings with Tony Blair (approximately 60) and Gordon Brown (not together!), and encounters with a vast cast of A, B and C list ‘celebrities’ and their scrapes, this is probably not the book for you.
    Morgan was ‘fortunate’ to be where he was when New Labour were in the ascendancy, spinning like tops. He was assiduously courted by Alastair Campbell’s smoothly oiled machine.
    Their expectations of Morgan’s Mirror were sky high so their anger knew no limits when his paper adopted an extreme anti- Iraq war stance. Under intense attack, he held his ground even when sales suffered, which indicates that this ‘enfant terrible’ has principles as well as guts.
    Probably the best way to enjoy this classic piece of gossip is by dipping into it liberally. To my chagrin I found it a compelling page-turner.

Making Light: A Handbook
for Freemasons by Julian Rees,
Lewis Masonic. £14.99.
ISBN 9 780 85318 253 5.
    This is a handy, step-by-step guide, taking the reader through every facet of the three Degrees of Craft Masonry in an interesting and revealing way which will delight both new and experienced Masons alike.
    Julian Rees has provided simple explanations for much of the symbolism of the three Degrees, producing a book which brings alive that old Masonic saying that we need more Masonry in men rather than more men in Masonry.
    There is a great deal to explain in the three Degrees, and the author has made a good job of the task without becoming long-winded. The book is timely, as for too long there has been too much emphasis on getting the ritual right, rather than the important messages contained in them.
    Knowing the ritual is one thing – understanding it quite another. Even longstanding Masons often find the meaning of the ceremonies bewildering, despite watching them many times over many years. Here they will find most of the answers.
    There is a useful glossary at the end of each Degree chapter and suggestions for further reading. Here is a book which Lodges might like to give to the newly raised Master Mason to help him in that quest for a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.

John Jackson

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