ISSUE 3, October 2002
Editorial
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
Letters
Freemasonry in the Community: Supplement
Gardening
Book reviews

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A Dickens of a Night

A famous event at Freemasons' Hall 135 years ago in honour of Charles Dickens is to be celebrated next month. Michael Slater explains the background


On 2 November 1867, Freemasons' Hall was the setting for a grand dinner in honour of Charles Dickens, who was about to embark on a reading tour of the United States.
    Nearly 450 guests sat down to a banquet in the hall while, as Charles Kent, author of Charles Dickens as a Reader, put it: 'more than 100 fair spectators were ranged in the ladies' gallery'.
    As Dickens entered the hall arm-in-arm with his brother novelist Lord Lytton, the band of the Grenadier Guards struck up a 'full march' and the two men received a hugely enthusiastic, handkerchief waving welcome.
    On the walls of the hall were emblazoned the titles of Dickens' books 'in great gold letters' and the Observer declared: 'the noble room had all the semblance of a temple especially erected to the honour and for the glorification of England's favourite author'.
    When, after the dinner, a visibly shaken Dickens, moved by the warmth of his reception, rose to speak, 'the whole company rose in their seats, and cheered again and again'.

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