ISSUE 22, July 2007
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Grand Master : Address of the Pro Grand Master : Report of the Board of General Purposes
Historic: Architect to a King
Young Masons: Value of a warm welcome
Faith and Freemasonry: The twin supports
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech of the Pro 1st Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
The Grand Secretary: Notes
   Travel: In the footsteps of the pharaohs
Inventor: Voice of the people
Human Rights Court Judgement: Landmark victory for Masons
International Conference: Masonic history unveiled
The Grand Chancellor: Special overseas role
Specialist Lodge: Prior Rahere and his legacy
Public Service: Serving the famous
Education: Events : Importance of the cable tow
Lbrary & Museum: Fraternal art
Masonic Charities: RMTGB : Grand Charity : RMBI : NMSF
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Folk and Popular Art shows the character of the people who made them – the many tens of thousands of Lodge secretaries, toiling meeting after meeting with the day-to-day business of running Lodge administration.
    Sometimes they allowed their spirit to peek through by illustrating minute books with elaborate ornamentation. An early Deputy Grand Secretary even made coloured drawings in the margins of the Grand Lodge minutes! Lodge histories and Loyal Addresses have elaborate bindings.
    The tradition this exhibition explores goes all the way back to decoration on some of the ‘Old Charges’, the very foundation of Freemasonry. That is what is so special about this year’s exhibition: it puts many objects on display that have not been seen before, or have been stored for many years because of lack of space. It is a celebration of the extraordinary creations and visual choices.
    The show runs from 2 July to 30 September, 1100-1700 weekdays.
    Mark Dennis is curator, Library & Museum of Freemasonry, and Andy Durr is a member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, the Premier Lodge of Masonic Research

Squaring the triangle – Freemasonry and anti-slavery
A new exhibition based on a previously unknown archive of material is now open at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry (until the end of September) as part of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.
    The period covered by the material includes the establishment of the first Masonic Lodge – African Lodge – for black men in revolutionary America, which was governed from London, as American Lodges did not permit black membership.
    Under its leader, Prince Hall, a freed New England slave, Prince Hall Masonry, as it is now known, has become the major black Masonic organisation in the world.
    Freemasons were (and are) required not to discuss politics or religion at Lodge meetings but, as individuals, members had their own views and in this period were both abolitionists and slave owners. Benjamin Franklin, who edited and published the first Masonic book in America (an edition of which will be on display), became a leading advocate of abolition. James Stanfield, artist, poet and member of Phoenix Lodge in Sunderland, turned his literary abilities towards the subject of slavery in his Observations on a Guinea Voyage in a series of letters addressed to the Rev. Thomas Clarkson (1788).
    Stanfield also contributed poems to the Masonic newspaper of the day. A Durham lawyer and Freemason wrote an anti-slavery play. In Liverpool, a major port for the slave trade, the membership of Merchant’s Lodge included the slave ship owners Thomas Golightly and Roger Leigh. Masonic Lodges in the Caribbean had been established from the 1730s.
    The rules of the governing body, the United Grand Lodge of England, dating from 1717, originally stated that any man wishing to be initiated into Freemasonry had to be free-born.
    The exhibition includes correspondence from members prominent in the local societies of the Caribbean which shows their changing attitudes towards the slave trade.
    Representation was made to Grand Lodge about this rule, notably from Albion Lodge in Barbados, with support from Lodges in Antigua and St. Vincent, and in 1847 it was resolved to substitute the term ‘free man’ for ‘free-born’ thus enabling ex-slaves to become members of Masonic Lodges.

Lodge family trees
We all know how popular family history or “personal heritage” is becoming. Did you know that it is possible to trace your own Lodge’s “family tree” on line?
    Every application to establish a new Lodge has to be accompanied by a recommendation from an existing Lodge, which becomes known as the “Mother Lodge” to the new “Daughter Lodge”.
    Lodges, like ships, being feminine for this purpose!
    Lodges which actively sponsor the formation of new Lodges can, as a consequence, create quite a complex family tree. This information can usefully be incorporated into Lodge histories and is often developed socially.
    Based on original research by Henry Millar, and now available as an online database prepared and regularly updated by John G Amos of Earl Amherst Lodge No. 3230, Lodge family trees can be viewed on line on the Resources page of the Library and Museum web site at tree-chart.php

© The Library & Museum of Freemasonry

Plan of a slave ship, showing how they were herded together in appalling conditions

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