Monday, 31 August 2015

Manchester Masonic Hall by Dr David Harrison

A recent talk I gave to Semper Fidelis Lodge No 3299, which meets at Manchester Masonic Hall, gave me an opportunity to have a look around the beautiful art-deco building. Semper Fidelis Lodge was consecrated in 1908, and a number of the brethren showed me around the hidden lodge rooms and corridors of the Hall.

In recent years, a number of lodges that met at the Hall have sadly closed, but the Hall is being used for events such as weddings and conferences, so the Hall still feels vibrant and is still being used. There are many different lodge rooms, ante-rooms, and dining rooms, including an amazing dining room that was designed acoustically to convey the voice, probably to assist Masons giving speeches during the festive board, but also, according to legend, was designed so everyone's voice could be heard - including gossiping Masons!

It was a pleasure to be given the opportunity to present a talk to Semper Fidelis Lodge, and it was an honour to have a guided tour around the Hall, which is one of most intriguing and architecturally beautiful buildings in Manchester.


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Talk at Dormer Lodge on the 8th January 2016 by Dr David Harrison

I will be giving a talk to Dormer Lodge on the 8th of January, 2016 on the topic of famous Freemasons. This will be the second time I'll be visiting Dormer, which is a great vibrant lodge and a pleasure to visit. The lodge meets at the Masonic Hall in Birkenhead, and I particularly enjoy visiting as the lodge working is slightly different to my own; the opening and closing of the lodge is longer and their use of tracing boards is particularly interesting, the lodge using smaller versions, propping them against the Junior Warden's pedistal instead of the centre of the lodge. The lodge room is also covered in shiny black and white tiles, being an interesting change as on the whole, a smaller carpet is usually the norm in English and Welsh lodges.

Birkenhead is still a lively centre for Freemasonry, and like its neighbouring port Liverpool, has lodges that practice the Bottomley Ritual, which is unique to the Merseyside area, an area rich in maritime history. It will be a pleasure to return to Dormer Lodge and I'm looking forward to giving the talk.

Birkenhead Masonic Hall

My recent talk to Rufford Lodge No. 7217 at Park Hall by Dr David Harrison

One of the recent talks I gave was to Rufford Lodge No. 7217, which currently meets at the Park Hall Hotel in Lancashire, UK. This was a special location for me as I used to visit the nightclub at Park Hall, and doing the talk and book signing at the lodge enabled me not only to look inside the nightclub again, but also to look at the now abandoned theme park of Camelot, which is situated next to the Hotel, but has been closed for a number of years. The mock castle at the front of the theme park is now crumbling and succumbing to the elements not unlike the medieval castles that it once imitated.
Rufford Lodge is a vibrant lodge that was consecrated in 1953, and after the talk they had their festive board in the Banqueting Hall which is attached to the Hotel, the pseudo-medieval setting adding a certain ambience to the festivities. The evening was a success and I look forward to visiting the lodge again in the not too distant future.