Monday, 20 December 2010

Selected pictures from The Transformation of Freemasonry - The Warrington Academy


I've had a few requests to post up some of the photos which appear in my new book The Transformation of Freemasonry, there are quite a few photos in the new book and all relate to the historical events which are discussed, such as how Freemasonry influenced local education, and this is reflected in the Warrington Dissenting Academy which was opened in 1757 and had two Masonic tutors from the local Lodge of Lights, the Academy creating a cultural circle in the developing Industrial town, a circle which included other Freemasons.

I took a number of shots of the old Academy building - one being chosen to go in the final proof of the book. The old Academy building has a certain elegance and Georgian splendour, and is one of Warrington's historic buildings. I have also found a few old photos and prints of the building which also reveal how the building has changed over time. In the 1970s the whole building was actually moved a few feet and then it was virtually rebuilt with an extension constructed on the back which now houses the Warrington Guardian offices. The Academy moved to another larger building in Warrington in 1762, but finally closed in 1786. The statue of Oliver Cromwell now stands outside to the left of the building in the photo.

The book uses local studies in England and Wales to put forward how Freemasonry transformed itself during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and discusses the themes of education, charity and how the local Freemasons assisted in developing their communities, both culturally and in developing civic improvements. More photos from the book will be posted soon.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

New Reviews and Endorsements for The Transformation of Freemasonry

'This book gives us a thorough and sound view of how Freemasonry transformed itself, adapted and greatly influenced social history in the 18th and 19th centuries.'

Fred Lomax, writer and Masonic historian, The Square

'An excellent read and a worthy follow on from Harrison's first book The Genesis of Freemasonry.'

Mike Chapple, reviewer and writer, formerly of The Daily Post

'David has set about trying to paint a picture of Freemasonry in the first half of the nineteenth century, and chose to do so not at Grand and formal level but at a lodge and individual brother level.'

John Belton, writer and Masonic historian

The book is avalable on Amazon at a discount price:

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Reviews for the new book The Transformation of Freemasonry

'Dr. Harrison's work represents an important scholarly contribution to the study of the Masonic fraternity's many philosophical, educational and scientific influences, particularly as they have affected the development of the modern world.'

Shawn Eyer, Editor, Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research and Letters

'Although the history of Freemasonry is "to a great extent obscure", Dr. David Harrison has produced a detailed historical work which might well be used as a reference for the serious student of Masonic history during the two hundred years after the formation of the first Grand Lodge. From the makeup of its membership to the "revolt" which occurred after the United Grand Lodge was formed, this book is a wealth of difficult to obtain information!'

John L. Palmer, Managing Editor, Knight Templar magazine

'Dr. David Harrison has produced a deeply researched and thoroughly engrossing follow-up to 'The Genesis of Freemasonry' which gives an insight into the changes that Freemasonry underwent in nineteenth century England. Amongst its many accomplishments, the book demonstrates that in an ever-changing society, certain charismatic and energetic individuals were able to save their lodges from near-extinction. This will resonate with many modern Masons, and is something that modern Freemasonry can take heart from.'

Kenneth C. Jack, Writer: - 'The Ashlar', 'Masonic Magazine', 'Scottish Rite Journal'.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Press features regarding the new book 'The Transformation of Freemasonry'

The above article reports on a book signing event which I did at the famous Curiosity Book shop in Runcorn, Cheshire, which specialises in local history. The event included the local press, members of the local Ellesmere Lodge which used to meet in The Masonic Pub there in the later part of the 19th century, and members of the public. The books sold out in the end so the signing went well! Here is the online link:

The above feature is from the Runcorn Weekly News and Chester Chronicle, and discusses how a pub in Runcorn, Cheshire, called The Masonic, was an early example of a Masonic Hall in the area and was visited by a number of high ranking Freemasons during the later 19th century such as Lord De Tabley when he was Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire. This is also explored in the new book 'The Transformation of Freemasonry'. Here is the online link to the feature:

Above is a feature in the Daily Post which mentions the Liverpool Masonic Rebellion of 1823, a subject which is discussed in my second book 'The Transformation of Freemasonry'. The gravestone in the picture, which shows the mysterious Masonic symbols of the 'All-seeing Eye' and the Compass and Set-Square, can be found in St. James' cemetery in Liverpool below the Anglican Cathedral. The gravestone has its own unique Masonic story which is retold in the new book.
Here is the online link to the feature in the Daily Post:

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Press Features Regarding my new book 'The Transformation of Freemasonry'

I was very honoured to be featured in my local newspaper in regards to my published book The Transformation of Freemasonry (Arima Publishing) - the follow-on from the best selling The Genesis of Freemasonry (Lewis Masonic) - back in September 2010.
The article to the left was featured in the Warrington Guardian, and the photograph was actually taken in the Guardian office in Warrington, which is the old Dissenting Academy building, an 18th century educational centre which was supported by Freemasons from the Warrington based Lodge of Lights No. 148. Two Academy tutors; John Reinhold Forster and Jacob Bright, were members of the lodge, and a number of other Freemasons, such as French Revolutionary Jean Paul Marat and the radical free thinker Dr. Richard Price, became linked to the Academy. John Reinhold Forster left the Academy to accompany Captain Cook on his second voyage. The photograph was taken in the Academy boardroom next to the marble fireplace which is an original feature of the 18th century Academy building.
My second book The Transformation of Freemasonry discusses the influence of Freemasonry on the Warrington Academy and on the development of education and charity as a whole to the town. Another influential lodge is also discussed - the Oldham based Lodge of Friendship, which in a similar fashion to the Warrington based Lodge of Lights, supported local education and charity. The Lodge of Friendship openly supported the Oldham Lyceum in the 19th century, and like the Warrington based lodge, the Oldham lodge also supplied evidence for labouring men entering into Freemasonry in the early 19th century. The minutes of the lodge also mentioned the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, and an article in the Oldham Chronicle on the book can be seen here.
The new book can be purchased from: or from

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Transformation of Freemasonry is now available

My new book The Transformation of Freemasonry is now available from the publishers website The launch has been supported by a number of features in the press which I will post up shortly. The book will also be available on Amazon soon. The work continues the historical analysis of Freemasonry which I started in my first book The Genesis of Freemasonry, and focuses on the development and transformation of the Craft after the Unlawful Societies Act of 1799, looking at the mysterious Liverpool Masonic Rebellion, how certain Freemason's were linked to the slave trade, and the how certain occultists were attracted to Freemasonry in the Victorian era.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

New Book: The Transformation of Freemasony

The Transformation of Freemasonry is the eagerly awaited second book on the history of Freemasonry by Dr. David Harrison, continuing his work which appeared in The Genesis of Freemasonry. This new book looks at how Freemasonry in England and Wales adapted after the Unlawful Societies Act of 1799, and how the Craft became tinted with the stigma of Revolution. Harrison delves into Masonic links with the slave trade, especially in Liverpool and the Trans-Atlantic links with the USA, and discusses the mysterious Liverpool Masonic Rebellion and the Wigan Grand Lodge. Harrison also looks at how Freemasonry transformed itself during the 19th century, and how the Craft began to appeal to Victorian Occultists.
This fascinating new book is a must for any reader who enjoyed Harrison's first book The Genesis of Freemasonry, and will be enjoyed by both Freemasons and general readers alike.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Reviews for The Genesis of Freemasonry

'a well crafted work, a stimulating book, well is a book that provokes thought...'

'this book really does give you all the answers...' Masonic Art Exchange

'A considerable amount of good information is to be found in this book, in depth and fair easy book to recommend' The Northern Light

'A fascinating book...The Genesis of Freemasonry is an invaluable resource for future historians...Harrison demonstrates that the reality about Freemasonry is even more compelling than the myths...'
Paranormal Magazine

'sound and solid, thorough in its research and its enquiry...' Fortean Times

'a valuable tool for the Masonic researcher...' Knight Templar Magazine

‘An excellent read’ Daily Post

‘I can commend its purchase to any curious and enquiring reader’ The Square Magazine

‘Dr Harrison is a workman of proven skill in the craft of roughing primary and secondary sources into a smooth thesis’ PIETRE-STONES

The book can be purchased from all good book outlets or direct from

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Recent Magazines which feature articles and reviews on the critically acclaimed book

'The Genesis of Freemasonry'

'Magic Masons' - an article discussing the book 'The Genesis of Freemasonry' by the author - supported by an excellent review of the book features in January's issue of the UK based 'Paranormal Magazine'.

A new article on the book 'The Genesis of Freemasonry' by David Harrison appears in this months issue of the renowned US based 'History Magazine' - it presents some of the themes from the book; ritual change and the search for Solomon's Temple, and mentions some of the prominent early Freemasons such as Elias Ashmole, Sir Christopher Wren and Dr Jean Theophilus Desaguliers - whets the appetite for the book nicely.

'Freemasonry's Secret Science' a new article in relation to the book by David Harrison in the excellent new special issue of the Australian based 'New Dawn Magazine' - out this month.