THE culmination of the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London, on Tuesday October 31.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Berkshire was delighted to attend this historic occasion, where over 3,900 Freemasons from Provinces, Districts and other Grand Lodges from around the world were present.
It’s been 300 years since four lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s Churchyard on St John’s Day, June 24 1717, to establish the world’s first Grand Lodge. In 2017, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is celebrating the Tercentenary of this date.
The celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall were the high point of a year-long programme of varied events that have taken place throughout the Provinces and Districts. This gala event included addresses and processions, professional musicians and performers and a lavish theatrical extravaganza that showcased the history and heritage of Freemasonry.
Attendees included UGLE’s Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and HE John A. Kufuor.
The event was also livestreamed to wider audiences at UGLE’s headquarters at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden, London. Around 2,000 of those attending the Royal Albert Hall then proceeded to Battersea Evolution for the Tercentenary Dinner.
Brigadier Willie Shackell, Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, said: “2017 is a year to look forward as well as back. Throughout these 300 years we have continued our strong traditions of friendship, openness and charity and our Tercentenary celebrations have been very much about highlighting the values of Freemasonry that we all hold dear.
“We were delighted to be in the company of so many Freemasons from around the world at this grand event to mark an historical moment celebrating 300 years of Freemasonry.
“I feel that our role and relevance in society today could not be stronger and we now look forward to our journey through the next 300 years.”
In Berkshire the Lodges and Masons meet in 13 different locations throughout the Province, ranging from Windsor in the East to Farringdon in the West and from Abingdon in the North to Reading and Wokingham in the South.
There are some 3,000 members and nearly 100 lodges; we have been meeting in Berkshire for most of the last 300 years. Our members are drawn from all walks of life, and from widely varied social and cultural backgrounds.
Martin Peters, the leader of Berkshire Masons said: “This is the climax of our celebrations for the 300th Anniversary and it helped reinforce the relevance of Freemasonry in Berkshire and encouraged us to put even more back into the community. Helping others, as we have been doing in Berkshire for more than 200 years, is central to our ethos.”