ISSUE 3, October 2002
Brother Winston: Churchill as a Freemason
Travel: Getting the taste
Manchester City: Masons achieve their goal
Freemasonry in the Community: Sermon of the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral and Chief Executive spells out the five objectives of the Grand Charity
Quarterly Communication: Report of the Board of General Purposes and Address by the Pro Grand Master
A Dickens of a Night: Charles Dickens celebrated
   Masonic Research: Seek and ye shall find
Charity News: New Masonic Samaritan Fund and Grand Charity and Cornwall Freemasons raise 2.8m and MTGB: Special concert in the Grand Temple and RMBI: Care in action
Library and Museum: Burmese banners and Royal British Legion link
Freemasonry in the Community: Supplement
Book reviews

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This was not the end of Churchill's Masonic contacts.
    On 6 October 1943, at the height of the Second World War, when Churchill was Prime Minister, E E Natty, on behalf of 'a number of Loyal Freemasons residing in this City [Belfast]' wrote to Churchill 'desirous of forming a Lodge to be called ... The Churchill Masonic Lodge' and requested his permission to do so. This led to an internal exchange of memoranda between Churchill's private secretary, Edward Marsh, and his personal secretary, Mrs R E K Hill.
    Edward Marsh effectively instructed Mrs Hill to decline the request, which is reflected in Mrs Hill's response to Mr E E Natty on 9 October:

Mr Churchill would be complimented by your request [and) would prefer that his name should not be used in this way, since he is unable to take a personal part in the Lodge's activities.

What are the conclusions to be reached, then, of Winston Churchill's Masonic career?
    Clearly Winston, in becoming a Freemason, complied with the fashion of the time. His respect and affection for his father, Lord Randolph, and the distinguished line of Freemasons in his family, will have played a part in his joining the Craft. It will also have fulfilled Winston's own curious interest in this and other fraternities. In November 1904 he accepted honorary membership in the Hawthorn Lodge of the British Order of Ancient Free Gardeners in Glasgow.
    He is also recorded as a member of the Loyal Waterloo Lodge of the National Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Manchester in April of 1907 and of the Albion Lodge, Oxford of the Ancient Order of Druids in September 1908 (his father was also a member of the Woodstock Lodge of Independent Order of Foresters). Churchill's association with Freemasonry must be placed within this context of his membership, and almost certain equal inactivity, in all these various organisations.
    To state that Freemasonry will not have made an impression on Churchill would be belittling the depth of the fraternity. On the other hand, to imply that his life or actions were in any way fundamentality influenced by his having been a Mason is unreasonable at best.
    Had Freemasonry had any significance of consequence to Churchill we would have known it. He was a prolific orator and author, and has written extensively and in detail about his youth and his life.
    So have umpteen other authors and biographers. Nowhere is there to be found a mention of Freemasonry in any context at all.
    These facts, however, do not detract from the pride Freemasons derive in the knowledge that Winston Churchill was a Mason, descended from a long line of active and distinguished brethren of the Craft.

The author wishes to thank Natalie Adams, archivist, Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge; John D Forster, education officer, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock; Bob Good, author of the 150th anniversary history of the Churchill Lodge and its past secretary; Diane Clements, director, and the staff of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London.

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