ISSUE 13, April 2005

The Campbells are coming: At speed!
Travel: Warming to Iceland
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part II
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and: Report of the Board of General Purposes
The flying eye hospital
Beamish Museum: The million pound project
  Wigan Grand Lodge: The Liverpool rebels
Chelsea Lodge: That's entertainment
Re-enactment: The way we were and: The Russian connection
Community Service: Weathering the storm
Faith and Freemasonry: God and the Craft
Education: Researching Freemasonry on the Internet and: Masonic events
Freemasons Hall: Masons at War
Grand Charity: Report and grant list and: Support for Asian tsunami
Masonic Charities: Reports from the Masonic charities
Obituaries, Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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A coin showing Kitchener
as a Field Marshal

Star Letter
I refer to remarks from the top level of the Craft (MQ Issue No. 12) which suggest: “English Freemasonry is comparatively cheap nowadays compared to what it cost only 20 or so years ago.”
    There are a number of factors which have impacted on the real cost of Freemasonry, which the above assertion may not have taken into account.
    Whether dues and/or charitable donations have kept pace with inflation is arguable, but other incidental costs have advanced substantially.
    For members of London Lodges and Chapters who travel from the outer suburbs, Home Counties or further, fares on public transport continue to escalate. Those who choose to drive are confronted with the Congestion Charge, recently increased, plus parking costs.
    Then there are the significant number of Masons who subscribe to several Lodges and Chapters. Further increases in costs could lead to some of them cutting back on multimembership, thereby pushing struggling units towards closure. There are instances where, to keep dues down artificially, wine is not included in the dining charge, but there is still an increase in the cost for those who prefer to drink the toasts in the traditional manner. Bar prices in general continue to rise, while the going rate for supporting a Ladies’ Festival has rocketed.
    On benevolence, both the Lodge and Chapter of which I am a member, plus most of those I visit, now include a raffle during the Festive Board to raise funds for charity, in addition to the usual collection.
    I note from the comments under reference, that attempts would be made to “limit the impact of any increases on those who can least afford it”, but I wonder whether this implies the indignity of means-testing.
    In this connection, it should be borne in mind that many of our members are retired and living on fixed incomes. Despite the pressures this places upon them, they form a vital resource for our Institution, routinely accepting offices and responsibilities which younger members may not have the time or experience to handle.
    If it is indisputable that the Institution is no longer viable without a major injection of subscription and charitable income, surely there is an alternative strategy that would not test excessively the loyalty and dedication of existing members.
Cyril Zipson, Ilford, Essex

Memories of Kitchener
I was interested to read the history of Lord Kitchener’s Masonic activities (MQ Issue No. 12). Shortly after India’s independence, I visited the Lord Kitchener Lodge at the Masonic Hall in Janpath Road, Delhi.
    When I arrived, I found four Brethren sitting at the foot of the staircase sharing a bottle of whisky, waiting for a fifth to turn up so they could open the Lodge.
    On arrival, they showed me a typical Summons, printed during Kitchener’s time. What a splendid, not to mention expensive, piece of coloured printing in gold, red and blue, on vellum. It had clearly been not only a large and mainly military Lodge, but a very busy and prosperous one.
    Sadly, now on the verge of collapse, my presence was most welcome and I was asked to join the opening in the three Degrees and then closing again – there was no other work. During the ceremony I would attend to the tracing boards. These were mounted on a remarkable piece of machinery – designed by one of Kitchener’s military engineers, I was told.
    The three boards were mounted in such a way that, by turning a handle at the side, they were moved vertically up and down by pulleys and chains to change the display for each Degree. It had not been oiled for years and made loud squeaking noises.
    There was no festive board, simply because the hall steward had warned that any one eating there was likely to suffer extreme stomach conditions. Everyone therefore departed into the warm evening to eat at our respective residences, in my case a hotel.
    I believe that the Lodge now thrives, with a strong membership of Indian brethren.
Rex Johnson, Sevenoaks, Kent

Seven Kitchener Lodges
Regarding Lodges named after Kitchener, I can confirm, thanks to details provided by Neil Wynes Morse of Canberra, Australia, that seven Lodges were named after Kitchener, the last two no longer being extant, as follows: Lord Kitchener of Khartoum Lodge No. 2767, London; Kitchener Lodge No. 2998, New Delhi, East Punjab; Lord Kitchener Lodge No. 3402, Dhekelia, Cyprus, formerly Cairo; Lord Kitchener Lodge No. 3788, Bolton, Lancashire. Lodge Kitchener No. 240 of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria, Australia. There was a Lodge Earl Kitchener No. 308 in the Constitution of New South Wales, Australia and also an Earl Kitchener Mark Lodge No. 43 under the Constitution of the Grand Mark Lodge of Victoria, Australia.
Bruce B. Hogg, Middlesbrough

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