Footprints in London
Arena talks to W Bro Lawrie Hawkins SLGR about creating history with a difference.
Not many Lodges can claim a history of over 200 years, and in Ionic Lodge No 227’s case, the story goes back even further.
Bro Lawrie has spent the last twenty years gathering material to follow the pathway of this distinguished, gentle, historic old London Lodge. His work can now be found in a book, with easy-to-read text on a one-page-per-year basis, including many excellent photographs and lots of interesting facts and figures about Freemasonry in general.
Bro Lawrie aimed to create something different from the Lodge histories that he has come across in his time as a Freemason, with the hope that other Lodges might be inspired to look at their accounts in a different light as a result. His inspiration came from visiting a Lodge that read out excerpts from their 200-year history at the meetings.
He says, ‘I have read many histories, lovingly put together by Chapter and Lodge historians, that consist of mainly printed material and a few low poorly reproduced photographs. I have attempted to radically change that, making the book hold the readers’ attention!’
The book acknowledges the effort of Lodge members in the two great wars and starts by showing the effects of the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Diane Clements, the former director of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, wrote the foreword.
Each year gives a backdrop of life in the world the brethren were living through, showing their professions upon joining and their subsequent masonic journeys.
The book contains numerous photographs of the members from years past so readers can place a face to a name.
Research has taken the author around the world from “food parcels” sent by Brethren in New Zealand and Australia to a Russian Prince becoming master of this “Antient Atholl Lodge”. Also, two London Mayors, one meeting with the Queen Mother and five members of the prestigious Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research.
From his own experience, Bro Lawrie thinks that many fascinating stories are locked away in Lodge, and Chapter minutes that are rarely read other than by the secretary or Scribe E, especially if they are in storage at Great Queen Street or elsewhere. He hopes that future Lodge historians will find the inspiration in his book to unlock their own history.
The book records the names of visitors to the Lodge over the 200 years, many from outside London, so readers may be surprised by who they find when they start reading.
Like many London Lodges they met at prestigious venues, including the Criterion restaurant, the Café Royal and the Central London Masonic Centre (Old Assizes Building) in Clerkenwell. Going further back in time, the Ship & Turtle.
The last word falls to Bro Lawrie, “I am passionate about Lodge and Chapters recording their histories for posterity, and I hope one day to see the Office of Historian included in Lodge and Chapters appointments in the future by UGLE.”
Bro Lawrie’s book is ready to be published, but he needs your support! Having spent twenty years on the project, he has the material and arranged for the printing of a first edition which can be yours for only £70. As he only wants to cover his costs, any profits from the sale of books will go to Motor Neurone Disease Association Charity. If you are interested, please get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0208 398 3753.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 48 April 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 48 here.