ISSUE 21, April 2007
Editorial
Historic: Philanthropist and scientist: Sir Henry Wellcome
Travel: In Darwin's footsteps
Grand Secretary: Interview with Nigel Brown
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Faith and Freemasonry: A Salvationist and the Craft
Young Mason: Keep up the tradition
Freemasons' Hall: Refurbishment
Ladies Groups: Cheshire Ladies Circle
   Library and Museum: Masonry and music - the role of the organ
Specialist Lodge: A new Lodge for showmen is consecrated
Serving the community: Two Masons win major rescue awards
Spain: How a Cleveland Mason found his Spanish roots
Wales: Welsh Mason lands national sporting award
Hospices: The Craft's historic links with hospices
Ancient Craft: Herefordshire's ancient boat builder
Education: Forthcoming events and Andrew Prescott and Own free will and accord and First Universities Scheme Initiate
Masonic Charities: Latest from the four main Masonic charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Encouraging younger Masons
    With regard to the wearing of morning suits or dark suits (MQ, Issue No. 20), this is entirely a matter of personal taste. Brother Connolly, in his letter, states that there is no UGLE ruling on the subject.
    This is probably because it is far too trivial. It is far more important that the Brother within the suit is not criticised for his chosen apparel. Some newly admitted Masons are easily put off Masonry by this type of behaviour from more senior Lodge members. The aim should be to encourage, not deflate their enthusiasm.
    J B Geach
    Herne Bay, Kent


Dress triviality
    I refer to the letter of Ken Connolly (MQ, Issue No. 20) regarding dress at Masonic Lodges – a subject of such high importance, that there is nothing said about it in the Book of Constitutions (apart from aprons, chains, & collars).
    Since UGLE has nothing to say on this subject, it is up to each Lodge to decide for themselves what dress code to adopt.
    Certainly every Lodge has the right so to do; and the decisions will vary. If the Lodge members should become uncomfortable with their dress code, then they should feel free to vote to gradually change it.
    Visitors should generally respect the dress code of the Lodge being visited, but others, who want to dictate what a Lodge shall wear, should keep quiet. There are far more important matters for Masonry to contemplate – morality being one.
    Spread harmony, not discord. Dress code is a trivial matter.
    I have been a member of Lodges where DJ is virtually a requirement (my Mother Lodge), or where Morning Dress is expected, and where dark suit is the rule.
    D.E. Cheaney

Feeling at home
    I share Bro Water’s misgivings (MQ, Issue No. 20) regarding the wearing of morning dress. He is correct in that it is no longer the dress of city workers, but it lives on as staff uniform in a number of up-market West End restaurants.
    The maitre d’hotel in at least one wears a tail coat, so giving the impression that one is being served by a complete line-up of Masonic grandees.
    Whatever the dress, Freemasonry works for me. But I was initiated at age 25 in a more deferential and sartorially more conformist age. Most young men of my age had a suit and the wearing of such apparel was by no means unusual.
    Today, as anyone who has recently attended weddings or funerals will know, wearing a suit or owning one, by the younger element is oft times viewed as an eccentricity.
    I do wonder therefore whether a young man today, confronted by a room full of elderly gentlemen dressed as funeral directors or waiters, will feel as at home as I did four and a half decades ago. I suspect not.
    John Cane
    Cheltenham


Past Grand Masters of UGLE Lodges
    In MQ (Issue No. 20) the interesting article on Internet Lodge No. 9659 contains the observation that the election of a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina as Master-Elect ‘may be the first time a Past Grand Master of any overseas Grand Lodge has occupied the Chair of King Solomon in an ordinary Lodge of the UGLE’.
    W Bro W D J Heath-Smith, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of British Freemasons (GLBFG) in Germany, served as Master of Wiltshire-based Forget-Me-Not Lodge No. 9035 in 1985.
    The Lodge also counts another Past Grand Master and a number of Past Grand Officers of the GLBFG amongst its membership.
    Stephen Harrison
    Stonehouse, Gloucestershire


Solihull panels
    I refer to Bro. Head’s letter (MQ, Issue No. 20) regarding base relief depicting various stages of the Traditional History. The partset is indeed in the Midlands – at the Solihull Masonic Temple, Knowle, Solihull. The two panels depict the assailants with the level and plumb rule.
    We have been in these premises since they were built and completed in 1994.
    We were previously in a purpose-built temple in the George Hotel in Solihull town centre until 1992, when the owner decided he no longer wanted Freemasons on his premises.
    Solihull Freemasons had been there for well over 100 years, the oldest Solihull Lodge having been consecrated there in 1873. The premises in Knowle are owned by the Solihull Masonic Temple Limited.
    The population has grown both in terms of the number of Masons who meet there and the number of Orders.
    We carefully removed the panels from the George Hotel temple walls when we knew we had to leave and they now occupy the east wall of our new temple. I never saw a third panel.
    The walls at our previous temple had all the signs of the Zodiac on them, and these, too, were also carefully removed and are now on the north and south walls of our Knowle home.
    Rodney Pitham
    Provincial Information Officer for Warwickshire


Value of Masonic charity
    Last November, when I was in need of a heart transplant, and facing an extended wait on the NHS, I turned to Masonic charity for help. That help - which was so generously given - is probably the reason I have been able to write this letter now.
    So, when the charity bowl comes round, please give generously in the happy knowledge that this fund is not only for the big or small organizations but also for the "poor and distressed Mason wherever he may be."
    G R Pointer
    Southampton


Helping visits
    One of the failings in recruitment and retention is the continued 'inclusiveness' forced upon us by dress restrictions. If I am on holiday and find myself with a free evening, I cannot attend a local Lodge because I have not conveniently packed a lounge suit, white shirt, appropriate tie, regalia and Grand Lodge Certificate.
    Is it not possible to devise a system of recognition such as a tie pin along with a credit-card size certificate4 containing Masonic details? This could well increase the 'bond of friendship' that is Freemasonry.
    Derek Boyle
    Middlesbrough


I was disappointed with the letter "Let's enjoy ourselves" in MQ, Issue No. 19, and the writer's despair over Raymond Hollins' article "Planning Ahead for the Chair" (MQ, Issue No. 18).
    I thought it an excellent paper, professional and informative, offering sound, practical advice on the necessary skills needed to manage a Lodge, particularly the Festive Board.
    A poor performance in Lodge is embarrassing to watch, and purgatory to listen to, and compounded when the usual human frailty card is trotted out afterwards. Perhaps this is an area Visiting Grand Officers could address by including Lodges of Instruction on their rounds.
    J W Smith
    Ickenham, Middlesex


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