ISSUE 23, October 2007

Editorial
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Pro Grand Master : Quarterly Communication
Grand Secretary: Exciting times ahead
Historic: Telford - Mason extraordinary
Travel: Cruising round Sicily
Samaritan: Helping the distressed
Younger Masons: The common bond
Jersey: Local Masons guard the Duke
   Classic car run: Down memory lane
International: Joseph Brant - a Masonic legend
Universities Scheme: The way ahead
Grand Chancellor: The importance of external relations
Education: Events : Understanding the symbols of the craft
Specialist Lodges: Australia link
Royal Arch: Why join the Royal Arch?
Lbrary & Museum: Major award for Library & Museum
MQ Signs off
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity : NMSF : RMBI : RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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The first issue of MQ, published in April 2002, featured an interview with the Grand Master




    As you will have read in the Pro Grand Master’s speech (p6) and the editorial (p4), MQ Magazine and Freemasonry Today are to merge at the end of the year and Grand Lodge’s house magazine will re-emerge in January under the title of Freemasonry Today with a new editor and under new management.
     MQ Magazine was born out of a discussion between the then Grand Secretary, James Daniel, John Hamill and Colonel Michael Dewar, who had just been appointed Grand Lodge’s public relations consultant.
     They submitted to the Board of General Purposes a project to replace the Grand Secretary’s Quarterly Newsletter with a quality magazine which would not only report on the meetings of Grand Lodge and Supreme Grand Chapter and the work of the national Masonic Charities, but would also carry other national Masonic news and articles of general Masonic interest.
     The Newsletter had been posted in bulk to Lodge secretaries for onward transmission to members but often did not reach them. The brave decision was taken to recommend that the new magazine be mailed direct to each subscribing member under the United Grand Lodge of England.
     A brave decision because, at the time, Grand Lodge did not have a data base of addresses for all members as, up to that point, it had never had reason for direct contact with each member, and so a new data base of potentially 300,000 names and addresses would have to be constructed from scratch.
     The Board of General Purposes agreed the project. Michael Dewar was asked to publish the magazine on behalf of Grand Lodge. John Hamill was appointed editorial director and John Jackson was appointed editor, to which post he brought a wealth of experience and skill setting high standards for content and style.
     Initially it was agreed that the magazine should follow a lifestyle format and include articles of general interest as well as Masonic.
     The first issue was published on 1 April 2002 and had the great cachet of an extended interview with the MW The Grand Master.
     After the first year it was decided to ‘test the waters’ and a survey of readers was carried out. This showed that the readers wanted more Masonic content so the lifestyle format was dropped, retaining only the travel and gardening features and book reviews which had proved popular with readers.
     After Issue No. 8 it was decided to bring the magazine ‘in house’ and Michael Dewar and his team, who had done so much to get the magazine successfully off the ground, ceased connection with the magazine but remained as Grand Lodge’s PR consultancy.
     To publish the magazine the board formed a company – Grand Lodge Publications Ltd. Nigel Buchanan, then Grand Treasurer, became chairman, John Hamill company secretary and Nicholas Hart, Geoffrey Baber and David Wilkinson were invited to be directors. They were later joined by Barry Ross and Graham Rudd.
     Paul Stancliffe, who had been advising the Grand Charity on printing and publication matters, was brought in as a consultant to find designers, printers and a distribution house. As a result, Polestar were taken on as the main printer and distributor, Park Communications to produce the covers and do the repro work and a new young design group – John Morgan Studio – produced a design concept which won them the contract as designers.
     It soon became apparent that the affairs of the company required someone with a financial background to manage the day to day finances and the Grand Charity agreed to second their finance manager, Suhail Alam, to cover this task with Grand Lodge’s director of finance Nicola Graham Adriani, giving support and advice.
     Suhail also proved adept at getting good – and lucrative – advertising, and has continued to do so with Ten Alps since they were appointed to manage advertising for the magazine.
     The brave decision to mail the magazine to every member gave birth to an initial nightmare – the construction of the address database. With help from the Registration Department in Freemasons’ Hall, input from London and the Provinces and support from Codestorm, originally taken on as distributors of the magazine, the mammoth task was completed – not without a few hiccups for the early issues.
     John McCoy was brought in to audit the system and has continued to audit the mailing list for each issue. As a result, the magazine was reaching more than 243,000 brethren resident in England and Wales.
     Initially the magazine was to have been sent to all subscribing members of Lodges under the United Grand Lodge of England, wherever they lived, but the cost proved astronomical.
     A web site was developed, by Mark Griffin, on which the content of each issue became available to anyone who tapped www.mqmagazine.co.uk into their search engine. Content could be read on screen or downloaded and the site has proved very popular.
     MQ is now five years old and is about to move in a new direction under a new team. Thanks are due to all who have been involved from the original idea to this the final issue in its present form.


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