At a meeting of Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters No 9057, held in Leigh in 2016, Vic Charlesworth and Barry Jameson, trustees of the Warrington Museum of Freemasonry, noticed two attractive Masonic jugs balancing rather precariously on a cabinet. Following a conversation with Len Hart, Chairman of Leigh Group and Ian Fairhurst, the WM of the Marquis of Lorne Lodge No 1354, they were able to bring the jugs back to the museum under a long-term loan arrangement.
This act of seemingly opportunistic foraging led to a discussion about a particularly important item, ‘The Waterloo Apron’, which at the time was hanging in a second lodge room, used mainly for practices and robing. The apron is believed to have been taken from the body of a dead officer at the battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. The recorded provenance was provided by James Jackson, a past master of Marquis of Lorne Lodge and Lodge of Lights No 148 at Warrington, who had the apron framed and presented in 1880. The Marquis of Lorne Lodge is a daughter lodge of Lodge of Lights.
The Marquis of Lorne Lodge agreed to release the apron into the custody of the museum, again under a long-term loan agreement. That act commenced rather than concluded in what would be an interesting journey for the Waterloo Apron. The full story can be found on the museum’s website, which can be found at:-
Its history has been further researched by Caroline Crook, archivist and trustee, whilst the apron has been through a full conservation process, including removing around 114 metal tacks, which were holding it in position on a pine board. The apron has also been cleaned and reframed after being stitched onto museum standard backing paper.
To mark the return of the apron in its relatively restored state, the master of the Marquis of Lorne Lodge with the Leigh Group Chairman Len Hart visited Warrington Masonic Hall and met with members of their mother lodge, the Lodge of Lights, Chris Gleave the Warrington Group Vice Chairman, Vic Charlesworth, curator of the museum and other trustees.
The occasion marked the end, for now, of the apron’s interesting journey, as Ian Fairhurst receives the loan document, bringing it into the museum under a long-term loan arrangement.
Pictures by John Starkey.