ISSUE 9, April 2004

The Duke of Wellington: A Brother in arms
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Life with the Stars: Masons and famous people
Hall Stone Jewel: Cyril Spackman, designer
Travel: Jamaica
Grand Charity: Annual Report and Accounts
Masonic stamps: Masonry on stamps
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Antients and Moderns go on-line
Masonic education: Events for Freemasons
Masonic charities: The continuing work
Bowel cancer: How the Grand Charity is helping
Royal Arch: Russia and Eastern Europe
Richard Eve: A former Grand Treasurer
Book reviews

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Featured Masons

The Duke of Wellington
Neal Arden
Elias Ashmole
Richard Eve
John Pine
Cyril Spackman

And for my next record...

Acting and Freemasonry have been at the centre of Neal Arden's life, including hosting BBC radio's popular Housewives Choice programme for many years.

In November I shall celebrate 60 years as a Freemason, having been initiated into Green Room Lodge No. 2957, famous for its actor members, at Freemasons’ Hall, London, in 1944.
       Sir Donald Wolfit was Master of the Lodge in 1965, and as a Shakespearian actor he was rated only second to Laurence Olivier. Donald Wolfit played all the great Shakespearian parts in the theatre, King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet and others, some in London but mainly on tour.
       Indeed, one of the sharper tongued actresses of his time had said, “Olivier’s performances were a tour de force, but Wolfit was forced to tour.”
       When The Green Room Lodge was consecrated in 1903, it was open only to actors, although now it welcomes all good men from wherever they may come.
       Actors then had only one place to work – the theatre – for in 1903 films were only a twinkle in the inventor’s eye, there was no television or radio, and no TV commercials from which some actors today make fine incomes.
       Sir Donald joined the Green Room Lodge a good many years before he was able to give sufficient time to become Master. Like so many others, he was often away from London, so it was suggested he should be appointed permanent Inner Guard, thus placing him on the ladder.
       So matters remained for several years. But when, eventually, he was able to attend regularly, and believing it to be his duty, he proceeded through all the offices until, in 1965, he was elected to the Chair of King Solomon.
       Two years later, he and I were stewards at the 250th anniversary celebrations of the United Grand Lodge of England at the Albert Hall, London where the Duke of Kent was installed as Grand Master.
Above Neal Arden in his Housewives Choice days.

Below Neal Arden (left) with Rupert Davies as George Simenon's fictional French detective Maigret in the popular BBC TV series of the 1960s.

       The following year Donald, most untimely, passed away and was buried at his local church in Hurstbourne Tarrant, near Andover in Hampshire, with Masonic ceremony.
       Lodge members acted as pallbearers of whom I was one, and at the graveside we threw sprigs of acacia onto the coffin. Lady Wolfit and family were present with many other mourners. Earlier, in church, we recited the lines from Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline:

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun
Nor the furious winter’s rages,
Thou thy worldly task has done
Home art gone and t’aen thy wages.