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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The magnificent organ in the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall in London
The origins of the Leeds Music Festival can be seen in two events: the building of the town hall and the revival of Anglican church congregations in the 1830s when W F Hook, as Vicar of Leeds, redesigned the Parish Church, St Peters (with the assistance of Wakefield architect and Freemason, R D Chantrelli) and brought to the city a leading cathedral organist, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, in 1842 ii.
    In turn, Wesley brought with him from Exeter, a trainee organist, William Spark. Dr Spark, as he was to become, was one of the major figures in Leeds musical life until his death in 1897. He was organist at two churches and was appointed Borough Organist in 1859.
    In this role he helped (with Henry Smart) to design the organ for the new town hall. This cost £5,000 and was deemed to be the reason why the city did not need a local orchestra: “The organ would do all that an orchestra could … and less expensively”.
    Spark played at the first Leeds Music Festival in 1858 and at every festival from 1874 to 1886. He was also a very prolific composer of both sacred and secular music.
    Amongst the 90 or so entries against his name in the British Library catalogue are pieces such as The Battle of Tel-el-Kebir: a descriptive fantasia for the piano, The blazing hearths of England, Cheer, cheer for all the sons of toil, a funeral march, adaptations of music by Haydn and Bach and, of course, his Masonic music, collected in the much reprinted The Freemason’s Liber Musicus. Spark was initiated in the Lodge of Fidelity (now No. 289) in Leeds in October 1853 at the age of 30 and, apart from a two-year hiatus in the 1860s, remained a member for most of his life.
    In 1819 the Lodge of Fidelity first occupied its own Masonic hall in rented premises in Sterne’s Buildings, Green Dragon Yard, Briggate. These premises included an organ and, although the Lodge had moved from these premises by the time that Spark joined, the occupation of these premises prompted the Lodge to begin a tradition of attracting to its membership competent organists.
    These included John White, organist at Harewood Church and at Wakefield, and John Hopkinson, whose sons later established a piano manufacturing and music publishing business iii.
    The move by this Lodge towards greater use of organ music is just one example of the growing use of pipe organs to provide music in Masonic Lodges that continued throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. By the time that Spark joined the Lodge, it had a broadly based membership of local businessmen and professionals which included the Rev Augustus Perring, curate of St Paul’s Church, where Spark was organist. Spark was Master of Fidelity in 1875 and was appointed Provincial Grand Organist in 1858 and 1861.
    Following the Lodge “tradition” he recruited a number of musicians including John Pugh Bowling, later Principal of the Yorkshire Training College of Music, George Haddock, a skilled amateur musician and collector of old instruments, the singers, Thomas Dodds, who later became the Lodge tyler, and Charles Blagborough, the latter a member of the Lodge for almost 50 years.
    It was the Mayor, Peter Fairbairn, who, prompted by rivalry with Bradford, in 1858 initiated the first Festival, the profits of which were to go to Leeds General Infirmary, and established an organising committee comprising local aldermen and businessmen.
    A detailed comparison between membership of Leeds Lodges and the membership of the various organising committees remains to be undertaken, but there was certainly some involvement from an early stage.
    Martin Cawood, owner of a flaxspinning factory and member of both Lodge of Fidelity and Alfred Lodge was on the first committee as was J N Dickinson, brush manufacturer, Thomas Eaglund, surgical instrument maker, James Ostler, leather factor and Samuel Walley, wool merchant.
    They were all members of Lodge of Fidelity. Frederick Spark, William’s brother, was appointed secretary.


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