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August 02, 2020, 20:17
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Latest Meetings and visits at the top: scroll down for earlier news! NB not are Zoom meetings are recorded here (see diary) but some particularly have merited mention.

Wednesday 15th July 2020

Wilberforce logo (Mobile).jpgOver sixty participants attended the Wilberforce Lodge 2134  zoom meeting, whereat W Bro Darren Desker (I had last met him while lecturing in Singapore) gave a deep "Journey Through the First Degree" -an hour of esoteric analysis delving into Origen Adamantius's allegorical methods (literally, allegorically, morally and spiritually), symbolism, the duality expressed in the Golden Mean of Aristotle, combined with more modern sociological philosophy from Theodor W Adorno and others, putting a new spin and polish on items and concepts in the Lodge which had hitherto been taken for granted. That the listeners' evening entertainment and instruction was being delivered past two in the morning from W Bro Desker's desk did not go unnoticed, and W Bro Paul Harper's vote of thanks neatly summerised the appreciation and admiration of this powerful lecture, hosted by the WM, W Bro Barry Longstaff. 

Tuesday 14th July 2020


Humber Lodge 57 was pleased to have many visitors for the premier zoom presentation of "Setting up the Lodge" where the crusty old tyler (Eddie Wildman) was assisted to set out the carpet, pedestals etc. with the assistance of the new Entered Apprentice (Craig Maurier.) The latter asked questions about the various items and their application in Freemasonry - this short illustrated presentation was very well received. Both Eddie and Craig are members of The Daggards, which offers several zoom presentations free of charge during the current pandemic. The toast to Isolated Brethren was given at the end.


Friday 10th July 2020

The Ridings Tablers' Lodge had an "unnofficial" Zoom social meeting in which Bro Connor Fergusson hosted an excellent quiz at which the WM of the Humber Lodge 57 failed to score a respectable amount (along with most of the Brethren present) but the atmosphere was congenial, and the WM, W Bro Terence Fisher (also a member of the premier Lodge) thanked those attending for their contributions to a convivial evening. Questions were raised afterwards about the latest communiques from UGLE and the Province regarding the resuming of meetings in the light of government health and safety restrictions, and an interesting discussion ensued: there were two reigning WMs and three Officers of United Grand Lodge postulating scenarios about the way forward, the initiation of Candidates, the festive board, and the reluctance of the venerable and vulnerable to attend while there is no vaccine available to prevail against the current pandemic. This writer was well impressed with the good sense expounded; while Freemasonry is undergoing unprecedented difficulties, the Brethren present took a level-headed, sensible approach which bodes well for the future.

Wednesday 1st July 2020

It was a pleasure to attend Kingston Lodge 1010's Zoom meeting, organised by the WM, W Bro Michael Price, whereat guest speaker W Bro John Watts from the Province of Durham gave a presentation from the wet streets of Newcastle after removing his crash helmet. Never having riden a motorbike until the end of his police career, John went on various motorcycle courses, then, missing the flashing blue lights, joined as a volunteer for the blood donor centre and is now part of the fast motorcycle transportation system delivering blood and vital supplies throughout the country; recently, he explained, he'd been taking Covid samples to a laboratory for testing. This brief but stimulating talk was very well received. Alas, some computer glitch prevented this attendee from viewing the final minutes, but it was a thoroughly worthwhile Zoom. Thanks for the invite!




Tuesday 23rd June 2020

Comments from the Worshipful Master

Visitors from far and wide attended the Humber Lodge Zoom despite it being the warmest day of the year so far. Onscreen, Neil Armstrong appeared to be enjoying a beer in the Sea of Tranquility while Andy Pittaway sat contentedly in the Beverley Masonic Hall. Some of the Brethren impressively logged in using their laptops while still enjoying the balmy evening air in their gardens. "Most of this is the wife's work," Andy Paulls confessed, showing a vista of well tended foliage and beautifully potted plants. The Worshipful Master was flattered that so many attended. W Bro David Terry's superb presentation Creatures in the Lodge - complete with vetinerary anecdotes was a great success and I am sure that other Lodges will wish to Zoom in on this elsewhere. (e.g. at Wilberforce Lodge in August.) Brother Craig Fish (who had merited a mention during the presentation) proposed a vote of thanks, which was seconded by Bro Charles Alexander, and the Brethren showed their acclamation by waving - the screen was alive!


 In fact there were too many Brethren to fit on one screen - apologies to those I've missed off! After updates from the Secretary, and greetings given from the visitors and the DC on behalf of the Brethren from the premier Lodge in the Province, the WM thanked everyone for coming and gave the final toast from a rapidly diminishing glass (which is probably why the faces are a little out of focus:

To all isolated Brethren

Wheresoe'er dispersed,

Wishing them health and safety

And a happy return to their Lodges

When circumstance permits.

So mote it be.


Many thanks for the kind emails of appreciation received afterwards! Our next Zoom meeting will be on Tuesday 14th July at 6.30. pm. Craig and Eddie will be delivering a new Daggards presentation Setting up the Lodge where the new Entered Apprentice makes the mistake of offering the crusty old tyler a hand.  Please feel free to invite Masonic visitors through the Lodge Secretary.

The informal minutes of the above meeting will be distributed electronically to the Humber Brethren.



Monday 22nd June 2020

Andrew Marvell logo 2 (Mobile).jpgAndrew Marvell Lodge 5642 held an informal Zoom meeting, there were ten participants and they discussed various topics, including Charity work. The Charity Steward, W Bro Andrew Peach is commendably efficient, and put forward ideas not only for the distrubution of money (assisted by Province) to worthy causes, but how this might be observed by the Press and Hull Daily Mail. There was a healthy exchange of views about possible ways forward when the Covid-19 is properly under control, and it was a pleasure to hear opinions from some of the younger members of the Lodge. Congratulations to W Bro Barry Kensett, whose technical expertise kept all in order.



 Saturday 20th June 2020

The Humber WM attended Technical Lodge 5666 for a Zoom presentation as below, with different presenters, Phil (whose surname he failed to catch) and Barrie Jefferey. The repartee between the Technical Brethren before the presentation took place was excellent; it was a pleasure to see familiar faces again after so long an absence. Once again, John Murphy kept order and explained how to interact with the screen images. The Technical WM invited the Brethren to a brief meeting regarding Lodge business at the end.



Wednesday 17th June 2020

The Provincial Solomon based presentation Jewels of the Lodge was made by W Bros Frank Rose and PaulSykes.jpg Cegla under the banner of Sykes Lodge 1040 to a Zoom audience of over three dozen worthy Masons from Lodges all over the Province, with the WM of the premier Lodge representing a number from Hull.  The illustrated Q & A explanation was followed by a quiz, which the Brethren answered with acumen. The build-up was interesting; Brethren greeted familiar faces, and several appearances were made by an inquisitive cat. Many thanks to the WM of Sykes Lodge, W Bro Adey Hanrahan, who welcomed the Brethren, and W Bro John Murphy, who as host explained various electronic procedures so simply that even this participant could understand.



 Sunday 14th June 2020


It was a pleasure to Zoom to Halas Abbey Lodge 5407 in the Masonic Province of Worcestershire and talk briefly about the Daggards, the work they do and their charity support. W Bro Michael Price, who is the WM of the Kingston Lodge 1010, had suggested I speak at this informal get-together, where I took the opportunity to give greetings not only from the Daggards, but from the premier Lodge in the Province. A fascinating forty minutes in distinguished company! Many thanks to Mike; to the Worshipful Master of Halas Abbey, W Bro Tom Gadd; and to W Bro John Chapman who performed the technical magic to bring the Brethren together. There was an invitation to visit at some time when the coronavirus is under control - I'm looking forward to it.




9th June 2020

Comments from the WM

Many of the Brethren were in place by the time the WM arrived on the screen; having been in a Zoom meeting elsewhere beforehand, he was unable to tune in; fortunately Craig, Masonic Guru (see ZOOM 1 below) talked W Bro Wildman through the process with great patience, explaining that one has to turn off one link in order to open another one. It was good to welcome the guys - it is not always the same Brethren, but there is a hard core of regulars. When asked if they wanted to change the meetings to once monthly instead of twice monthly, everybody insisted that they enjoyed the Zoom get-togethers as an opportunity to see each other as well as increasing in Masonic and General Knowledge. (For example, W Bro Malcolm Coates was delighted to tell everybody that his son Michael was the proud possessor of a new hybrid car and was listening in on the phone connection.) Fortnightly meetings will therefore continue.

There were a few apologies: our Charity Steward, W Bro Malcolm Forbes, sent in a written report (read out by the Secretary, W Bro Ian Syddall) saying that he was awaiting an essential component to his computer set-up before he could join the meetings. The Almoner reported that W Bro Bill Burnett's wife Karen had suffered a stroke during the weekend, but though her speech and memory are affected, she is now back at home. We wish her a safe and speedy recovery. 

The main business was a First Degree Quiz by our Almoner, W Bro David Terry. The questions had been distributed beforehand and a number of the Brethren had applied themselves seriously to the task of "decoding" the initials: Question 2: [Bthn: S. M... I. B.] elicited a musical response as nearly everyone chanted "So Mote It Be." Not all the questions were this easy, however, and the Quizmeister sometimes followed up his questions with further ones, testing the Brethren: What items are called "The Furniture of the Lodge" was reinforced by a casual "And how are they otherwise known? The ready answers and the breadth of knowledge displayed by the Brethren was impressive. 

It was a close finish: our Junior Warden, Bro Charles Alexander scored very highly, but was pipped at the post by the Secretary, W Bro Ian Syddall, who was promised a bottle of wine for his high score. That this would be delivered by a lycra-clad Almoner during his velocipedal constitutional gave rise to some comment from the Brethren: Charles was heard to say "I'm glad I didn't win, now." Well done to all who took part - and many thanks to David for designing and masterminding the quiz.

Other business was discussed: the thorny question of the way forward for the Lodge considering the exigencies of Covid-19, social seperation, the Lodge building, dining. etc. will need a committee meeting, but it is prudent to wait for decisions from the United Grand Lodge regarding social distancing and other matters, so it will be some weeks before this takes place. W Bro Terry Fisher, the Treasurer, explained the outcome of the subcommittee Zoom and made suggestions about donations to Charity with Provincial backing. As always, our Secretary will minute the above meeting much more efficiently than I can, and details, when known, will be distributed to all members of the Lodge. The WM spoke of W Bro John Proudley's 89th birthday and W Bro Gordon Wiles' 40th year in the Craft, details of which are on the Coronavirus Page.

Thanks as always to our Masonic Guru, Craig Maurier, for his patience and expertise in organising the Zoom meetings.

Bearing in mind those Brethren who have died through the coronavirus, and those and theirs who are suffering through the incalculable ripple effect of the pandemic, the Brethren raised their glasses as the WM gave the parting toast:

To all isolated Brethren

 Wheresoe'er dispersed,

 Wishing them health and safety

  And a happy return to their Lodges

  When circumstance permits.

  So mote it be.


Our next Zoom meeting will be on Tuesday 23rd June at 6.30. pm. Retired Vetinary Surgeon and Radio Humberside guest speaker W Bro David Terry will be dilating on Animals in the Lodge. Please feel free to invite Masonic visitors to this short presentation.

The informal minutes of the above meeting have been distributed electronically to all the Brethren.



26th May 2020

Comments from the WM

There were twenty-one Brethren at the meeting; one of the visitors had to leave just before the end - but we were delighted to welcome visitors from local sister lodges and from Lincolnshire - it was a pleasure to see everyone, particularly on an evening when there were other Masonic Zooms in progress.

W Bro Craig Maurier was at the controls and from what appeared to be a Caribbean island gave an illustrated presentation on Hogarth's "Night" etching, which contains many Masonic allusions - including the WM having a chamber pot emptied over his head. The Brethren (and visitors) responded with pertinent questions and observations: Malcolm Coates remarked that the event took place on Oak-apple Day, his birthday. He did not, however, reveal his age. 

The WM thanked Craig for his sterling efforts. W Bro David Terry gave an ongoing Almoner's report, and, as this was an "extra" meeting, the Secretary said that the outcome of the sub-committee zoom would be disseminated with the minutes of this meeting so that there would be an opportunity for discussion. 

As usual, the WM asked the Brethren to join in the parting toast:

To all isolated Brethren

 Wheresoe'er dispersed,

 Wishing them health and safety

  And a happy return to their Lodges

  When circumstance permits.

  So mote it be.

Our next Zoom meeting will be on Tuesday 9th June at 6.30. pm. W Bro David Terry is devising a quiz on the Humber Ritual, which will, of course, be distributed beforehand.

The informal minutes of the above meeting have been distributed electronically to all the Brethren.





12th May 2020: Founders Night

Comments from the WM


What a pleasure to see so many faces on the screen - with a fantastic array of hats! It was good to welcome some older Brethren whom we've not seen for some time: Zoom enables us to see each other - and David Terry, our Almoner, mentioned this in his report, whilst maintaining the caveats of confidentiality now required. There were nineteen people there - and occasionally twenty, but one Brother was having technical gremlins, alas. There were also apologies, but as our Secretary was busy taking minutes (now electronically distributed) I'll not name them here. Ian Syddall's haircut was even more impressive, though tactfully hidden under a titfer this time.

Thanks were extended to Craig Maurier and Ian Syddall for their work in setting up and recording the session, after which W Bro Winston Pannett gave a brilliant talk on his experiences in the Craft since he joined Freemasonry as a Lewis in 1961. This talk (he called it "Ramblings") is published below, so I will not expound upon it; suffice to say it was very well received. W Bro Pannett, aware that this was our traditional Founders Night, alluded to the documented A SHORT HISTORY OF THE HUMBER LODGE 1809 - 2009 by Mike Phillips which is now (by kind agreement of our Librarian) included on the History page of this website. He then gave the traditional toast to the Founders. Thanks, Winston! Thanks, Terry!

Winston received his certificate for fifty years in Freemasonry in 1912 - on the Celebrations and Regrets page, scroll down to February 1912.

The Charity report, sent in by W Bro Forbes, will be included in the minutes.

The Treasurer alluded to ongoing expenses required by the Lodge building and discussion took place about a possible voluntary contribution. While the Brethren appeared to be in favour of this idea, it was decided that an explanatory letter would be required for all the Brethren. The WM asked that a small sub-committee be formed to examine the options, which may, of course, modify the content of that letter.

The Almoner gave his report, after which the Lodge Mentor, W Bro Byelov spoke about Solomon's ring, which according to legend, carried the message "This, too, shall pass." He said he was confident that the present difficulties would resolve, but asked the Brethren to consider the question of how things will have to change in the practice of Masonic Meetings when we are able to reconvene. It will be interesting to hear opinions about how we will manage in the Lodge Room and afterwards, and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.

It was time to end the meeting: it had taken almost an hour. I hastilly refilled my glass (it had somehow emptied several times during the meeting) to give the final toast:


To all isolated Brethren

 Wheresoe'er dispersed,

 Wishing them health and safety

  And a happy return to their Lodges

  When circumstance permits.

  So mote it be.




 Our next Zoom meeting will be on Tuesday 26th May at 6.30. pm.

 The informal minutes of the above meeting have been distributed electronically to all the Brethren.


 Here is Winston's presentation:


Masonic Ramblings

by Winston Pannett

 12th May 2020


 I suppose I came into Freemasonry early – my father being a Mason -  I  was known as a Lewis – as are all sons of  Freemasons, - and along with several other Lodge Lewises, I attended Ladies Nights and many other Lodge fund raisers -it was a great way to be  introduced into the Craft and meet potential future brother Masons.

The Lodge I eventually joined in December 1961 (3 months after I was married) was called The Whitwell Lodge No 2104 in the province of Durham, and met in Stockton on Tees, my home town, and I was 24 years of age.

It was a Teetotal Lodge, which meant alcohol was not allowed at the festive board!

- Most unusual; LET ME EXPLAIN.

The Lodge was named after Thomas Whitwell who was born in Kendall in 1837.

He was a Pioneer in the Iron Trade and had a reputation at home and abroad as a Metallurgist and Inventor; he trained with Robert Stephenson in Newcastle, eventually starting the firm Whitwell & Co Iron-founders in Thornaby on Tees.

But it was not his Business activities alone which gained him the Respect and Esteem of all who knew him – it was his work as an Earnest Social Worker – Ardent Temperance Worker & Christian Gentleman, devoting his life to the service of his fellow men. He became a household name in the area.

whitwell's stove.jpgAmong the many things he did was to establish the WMCA throughout the North of England – he founded the Stockton & Thornaby Fire Brigades, remaining involved with these & many other Clubs and  Educational Bodies up to the time of his Tragic and Accidental Death at the age 50.

He was inspecting a faulty Heating Furnace with one of his foremen, when a blow back occurred – they were both terribly scalded and burnt - they managed to climb out - Whitwell typically insisting that his foreman go first.

The Lodge was duly named after him and in his honour - the Lodge is to this day Teetotal at the Festive Board.

I was honoured to be elected W. Master of the lodge in 1974, after climbing the ladder system and filling every office on the way!

SO HOW DID I COME TO JOIN THE HUMBER LODGE No 57 in the fine Port City of Kingston upon Hull in December 1977?

It was a work move to Hull to manage the Department Store WILLIS LUDLOW (sadly now gone) that brought my family to the newly created area called HUMBERSIDE,

- and I still can't get used to calling it EAST YORKSHIRE!

It wasn't too long before I received a Telephone call from the late ALLAN JOHNSON one of the many Grand Lodge Officers that populated the Humber lodge in those days, inviting me to meeting of the Humber Lodge – who at that time met in Park St Hull. I very much liked what I saw. 

Happily my application to became a joining member was successful and suddenly I had 112 New Friends. (YES THAT WAS THE MEMBERSHIP IN 1977.)

And that's what makes FREEMASONRY UNIQUE.  From being a stranger in HULL I soon had a host of NEW LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS.

I have to say I found the Humber Lodge's Ceremonies in the Lodge room to be outstanding and the banter & fun at the festive board was fantastic - different to my old Lodge and I was very impressed.

I soon made close friends with a number of the Brethren - whom some of you may remember: CLIVE NAYLOR, BILL JERVIS, ALAN METCALFE & ALLAN BOURNE and our families regularly socialised outside the Lodge.

Sadly only ALLAN BOURNE is still with us and he is suffering from a form of dementia,

I call and see him most weeks and we reminisce on the old days.


Well we met at the Masonic Hall in Park St Hull - next door to David Terry's Surgery.

SUBS WERE £9.00 a year and we had 112 members – the Cost of the Meal was something like 6 or 7 shillings -that’s about 35p in new money.

The W. Master that year was ERIC WHEATLEY AND AS WAS THE CUSTOM HE PAID THE  W. MASTER CONTRIBUTION FEE OF £150 FOR THE PRIVILEGE – this  was to cover his guests’ meals, wine etc. !

I am happy to say this practice/ fee was discontinued in 1992, when it had risen to £275 (at which stage it made some members think twice about progressing to the Chair in the Lodge.)

The average attendance at regular lodge meetings was 70+ and at an Installation it would rise to 135+.    SO BEING A STEWARD IN THOSE DAYS WAS A BUSY AND IMPORTANT OFFICE. They all dined together in the Stewards' Room after the meals were served, and that's where many close friendships were usually made as they progressed up the ladder.

In 1988 the Lodge moved to Dagger Lane, meeting on the second Tuesday in every month.  Sadly for me that was the same date that my mother Lodge met, so my regular visits to my Mother Lodge were curtailed.

Over the years I have had the privilege of occupying varies offices in the Humber Lodge: CHAPLAIN TWICE; DIRECTOR OF CEREMONIES ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS AND TREASURER!


The Treasurer was retiring – and  I STILL REMEMBER THE THEN SECRETARY RON LANG SIDLING UP TO ME AND WHISPERING IN MY EAR, (as secretaries do!) “That’s a job you could do!”

THAT WAS IN 1990  - and I was happy and honoured to be the LODGE TREASURER UNTIL 2016 – a total of 27 Enjoyable Years!


I am delighted that the Humber Lodge today has many new younger members who are taking an active part in the life of the Lodge and I feel sure that the future of our ancinet & honourable Lodge is in safe hands - whatever life may have in store for us.

On looking through my Lodge Files I came across a book written by the late W Bro Mike Phillips to commemorate the Lodge’s 200th Anniversary in 2009 entitled A SHORT HISTORY OF THE HUMBER LODGE 1809  -  2009. A great little read which I recommend to our newer brethren. – Our Librarian W BRO TERRY FISHER has a number of copies he is happy to lend out.


In this toast we celebrate  &  honour our founders, Bros lt. William Crow,  Thomas Feetham and  Joseph  Eglin.


Worshipful Brethren & Brethren on this occasion please remain seated and in silence,







28th April 2020

Comments from the WM


As Master of the Lodge, I am blessed with an excellent team; I have little work to do, and when the Brethren make suggestions about what I attempt, they generally give positive comments indicating a better way forward. So I begin with a general thank you to everybody. No-one could have anticipitated the arrival of the coronavirus, but the Brethren in the Humber Lodge in particular have rallied round and made every effort to help each other and to assist the world outside. This sounds a bit philosphical, but I will put these rather more serious thoughts on the coronovirus page.


So: thanks again to Craig who is masterminding the technology admirably. On this occasion he appeared to be in a Masonic Lodge Room; Terry Fisher, however, had contrived somehow to change his den to a couple of huge Humber logos. Others showed different scenes.


Thanks to Ian who effortlessly jotted down minutes, which will be sent out seperately: we had a fair bit to discuss, but I'll get to that later.


Thanks to the Quizmaster, Sergei, who took us through the Humber Quiz and had carefully marked the email answers sent to him. Despite the inevitable objections, interruptions and gratuitious anecdotes, and despite the unspoken agreement amongst some of the Zoom participants to put on different items of headgear during the quiz, he refused to be phased, and at the end congratulated the Brethren for scoring so well. Indeed, two Brethren scored full marks: Ian Syddall and David Terry, so it was a tiebreaker question which decided who won the whisky: "Which Brother has no legs on the Team Photograph on the website?" David answered instantly, and claimed the prize. Despite Ian's assertation that the WM would have drunk it before we next met, it was in fact delivered the following morning.


The expression of surprised delight as he picked it up from the doorstep was wonderful. 


Thanks to all the Brethren who took part in the Quiz. I was well impressed!


I'm surprised, given the brain power of the Brethren, that nobody appears to have solved the Crossword yet.


David gave his Almoner's report, welcoming Jack Whileblood to the Zoom meeting - he hadn't linked in last time. David mentioned those Brethren who might appreciate a call (he has regularly been in touch with all the Brethren and thanked those who were offering their services doing shopping and making deliveries for some of the more vulnerable members of Humber 57, and for those assisting our Masonic widows.


Ian Syddall, our trusty Secretary, reminded us that the Provincial toast would be held the following night at 21:00.


He then spoke of Charity issues. At the last Zoom meeting, concern had been expressed that we were receiving requests for assistance from various quarters, suggesting "best practice" (donate your meal money) as some other Lodges were doing. As WM I am aware that some of our Brethren are finding things difficult in the current climate; please be assured that there is no obligation to contribute. However, the Province has organised a scheme whereby our donations will be doubled, which, with tax relief (which must be signed for) would significantly help. My selected charities this year are the Candlelighters (Hull) and Dove House (Hull) and it would be nice to think that the missed raffles etc. during the shut-down might be accommodated by this means.


Thanks in particular to our Treasurer, Terry Fisher, who has kindly offered to take care of the financial side of things (to the great relief of our Charity Steward, Malcolm Forbes.)


Ian has sent out a form simplifying the process. Any donations will be gratefully received.


Any contributions to this Website would be greatly appreciated!


The Secretary suggested that as so many of the Brethren had a penchant for eccentric headgear (most agreed that Craig Fish wearing a rabbit head was a significant improvement) that the next Zoom meeting (26th May) would include a challenge to produce the most outrageous hat, within the bounds, of course, of decency and propriety.


I am delighted that Winston Pannett, who received his 50 years certificate in 2012, is going to give us a talk next meeting. Traditionally the month of our Founders Night, it will be interesting to hear what Winston has to say on this occasion.


The Zoom meeting was a well spent, convivial hour, and we concluded with the toast to Isolated Brethren:




To all isolated Brethren


Wheresoe'er dispersed,


Wishing them health and safety


 And a happy return to their Lodges


 When circumstance permits.


 So mote it be.







  Our next Zoom meeting will be on Tuesday 12th May at 6.30. pm.


The informal minutes of the above meeting have been distributed electronically to all the Brethren.






14th April 2020

Comments from the WM


If ever there were an Office of Masonic Guru, W B Craig Maurier would be ideal for the job. Known amongst members of the vast Masonic community he belongs as Worshipful Brother Gadget, he has an incisive and intuitive grasp of everything electronically mechanical.


Not only is he a Computer Wizard himself (his home office has 360° VDUs and he thinks nothing of operating four keyboards at once while talking to someone on the phone and texting someone else on his desk-top) but he encourages others to emulate his example. (A forlorn hope in my case.)


Consequently when the Coronavirus pandemic persuaded UGLE to initiate the shut-down, Craig insisted that I learn to use a programme called Zoom which enables dozens of people to see each other live on their screens whilst in their own homes. And to talk.


He fitted my computer up with the App whilst sitting in his study (and simultaneously doing six other jobs) and I watched my screen as the cursor darted about faster than the eye could follow. "Right, all done," said Craig, and his picture appeared in front of me, next to a picture of me gawking in amazement. There's a little camera lens built into my lap-top, which I hadn't realised had been watching me for years. Scary thought.


In the meantime I'd been talking with the international Masonic author, Robert Lomas (forgive the name-dropping) who suggested that he sent us a podcast (a sort of little radio article which one can download and listen to on your PC at home) and Craig, Ian Syddall and I went along with this kind suggestion. So on the day of what would have been our regular meeting this month, Ian sent out the podcast to those willing to participate (with instructions not to share it outside the Lodge to protect the author's property) and reminded the Brethren that at 6.30 pm we intended to Zoom together.


I listened with interest to Robert Lomas's talk about this early Masonic icon. I was surprised: but of that, more later. (Should anyone from other Lodges be interested in the Robert Lomas podcasts - and there's already a good selection, he is creating more for use during - and after - the lockdown, please contact Craig or me for details about the links.)


The "summons" and "minutes" will be sent out independently - thank you, Ian!


Let me explain to the uninitiated what Zoom is about. It is a means of video-conferencing (I understand the British government uses it for meetings) and is also easy to operate by ordinary folk. (If I can manage it it must be easy. My grasp of technology is limited to changing a plug.) But at the allotted time, I obediently pressed the link Craig had provided (I recognised it because it was blue and had an underline - that means if you click your mouse at it, the screen changes to the address on the link) and immediately the picture changed to a group of familiar faces.




This picture changed from time to time, but on the screenshot above Andrew Paulls is smiling from his study, Craig is on a Caribbean island somewhere and Malcolm Coates is jumping in the air, so we can't see his face. David Terry has dressed in a tie and a jacket for the occasion - his sartorial elegence puts us all to shame. Sergei is wearing his headphones. Craig Fish was the most active participant - he leapt about throughout the get-together, and kept altering his background to planetary views. (This excited some text comments about whether Uranus was bigger than Mars between him and some others, I understand, but the on-screen language was delivered with propriety, thank goodness.) I'm there giving the "thumbs up" - which came to indicate concensus about matters discussed; and Ian Douglas has just returned from feeding the reindeer. Adrian Brown is smiling at some comment while Winston Pannett is as handsome as ever. Terry Fisher is answering a telephone call from the Provincial Grand Secretary so he has stepped out of earshot, affording a view of his well organised den. Craig Morrison has either fallen off his chair or is adjusting the screen, and Charles Alexander has also inexplicably disappeared from view. Happily, both joined us visually later. Richard Smedley was a little late, having been working in the garden, (see and Ian Syddall, who was taking minutes during the session, has obviously had his hair cut. We look forward to it being finished. The telephone logo showed that Michael Coates was in on the meeting, I was well impressed.


As the pictures sometimes swapped places, and members occasionally vanished ("Whoops, I've forgotten to bring a drink for the toast, excuse me a minute") I found it difficult to follow at first, but when someone was talking, their border lit up. On the screen above, Charles - in the bottom left hand corner - is speaking: "Just a minute, everybody - it's all gone dark." This system works providing people don't interrupt too often - we may have to introduce a "hands up" system if there are more Brethren participating. (And I hope there will be.)


After saying hello to everyone - and it was gratifying to see sixteen of us there - we talked about the podcast.


In Terry Fisher's History on this website he states: 'One of the earliest records of Freemasonry in England is contained in the diary of Elias Ashmole, the Antiquarian (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), wherein under the date October 16th, A.D. 1646, is written: "I was made a Freemason at Warrington in Lancashire".' I knew little more about him than this, but had done some homework by looking at his achievements on Wikipedia. I was surprised (and the Brethren concurred) to find that Robert Lomas's research, based on Ashmole's Diaries (which included such details as the boil on his bum) presented a different picture. Ian writes in the minutes:


Elias Ashmole was shown in different light to what one might have expected. Robert Lomas talked eloquently about him "warts and all" - basing his lecture on the diaries of this extraordinary figure. Not quite "the first recorded Freemason" - there is evidence now of an earlier candidate - Ashmole was revealed as an opportunist and political climber, marrying for convenience and using Freemasonry as a means of furthering his ambitions. His legacy to science remains superb and the Ashmolean Museum is worth a visit when the shutdown lifts.


Then followed a reminder about the Wednesday evening toast to all Brethren, and discussion of Lodge business, which will be emailed to all members, together with the "summons" within the next couple of days. Many thanks to Ian Syddall for his hard work organising this! At the end of the session, we took our glasses in hand and drank a toast:




To all isolated Brethren


Wheresoe'er dispersed,


Wishing them health and safety


And a happy return to their Lodges


When circumstance permits.


So mote it be.







Our next Zoom meeting will be on Tuesday 28th April at 6.30. pm. Our Mentor, Sergei Byelov (one of several Brethren in the Lodge to have  his surname in the title of a song) has devised a challenging quiz based on the Humber website, and will be telling you the answers that evening. The questions will be sent out a few days beforehand - I wish you all Good Luck!


The informal minutes of the above meeting have been distributed electronically to all the Brethren.