Bicentenary celebrations took place at Garston Masonic Hall for the Lodge of Harmony No 220.The lodge was opened in due form by the WM Kenneth (Ken) Bradley who completed all the domestic business.
The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Malcolm Bell then entered the lodge room and requested the brethren be upstanding to receive the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews accompanied by the Provincial team. Mark was welcomed by Ken for the celebration.
Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Simon Archer asked the brethren to be upstanding to receive the Junior Grand Warden Simon Duckworth accompanied by other distinguished brethren, Ken also welcomed Simon for the bicentenary of the lodge.
Assistant Grand Secretary Oliver Coddington proceeded to read the Bicentenary Certificate issued on behalf by his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent and signed by the Grand Secretary. The Provincial Grand Chaplain Canon John Hall then gave a short speech, nothing that comes cheap, you get what you pay for. The lodge has lasted 200 years at a cost by big men we remember with mighty shoes to fill for the next 200 years demand bravery, wisdom, faithfulness and to do what Freemasons have always done. The brethren were then upstanding receive the dedication.
Simon then issued Ken with the bicentenary jewel especially struck to commemorate this important occasion. Mark Matthews then stood and requested Mark Mellor to come to the centre of the lodge where he was appointed as Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden for his services to charity.
Ken presented a cheque to Mark Matthews for a number of deserving charities including West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £6,000, Garston Masonic Hall £3,500, 46th Boys Brigade £2,000, Garston Adventure Playground £1,500, Liverpool Sunflowers £2,000, St Michael-in-the Hamlet Church £2,000, SSAFA Armed Forces Charity £2,000, Down Syndrome £500, 2nd Allerton Scout Group £500, Campus Children’s Holidays £500, Zoe’s Place £500, Age UK Lancashire £500 and Alder Hey Cardiac Unit £200 in total £22,000.The lodge was then closed in due form and the brethren retired for the drinks reception and festive board.
In brief, the history of the lodge started on 27 December 1796 when its warrant was issued. The Lodge of Harmony No 220 held its first meeting at the Brown Cow Tavern, situated on the south side of Lord Street, Liverpool. The first recorded minutes reads, Lodge of Harmony No 385 held at the Magpie and Stump on 28 February 1822 in Liverpool this being an emergency meeting to adjust the regulations of the lodge it was opened in the first, second and third degrees by brother Anderson in the chair.
In 1833 the number of the lodge was altered from 385 to 267 and in 1863 changed again to 220. On 21 May 1924 the wishes of all Masons in South Liverpool were realised when the Provincial Grand Master John Burrell laid the foundation stone of the Masonic Hall in Garston. The following year the Lodge of Harmony held its first meeting at the new Masonic Hall, Island Road, Garston the WM being John Larson.
On 27 December 1996 saw the bicentenary of the lodge’s warrant being issued an ensuing unofficial celebration took place which was graced by the Provincial Grand Master Kenneth Moxley together with retinue of his Provincial team and other distinguished guests. To read the full history of the lodge,
In the response to the toast, Mark Matthews spoke about the Craft on how at one time we had 1,500 Masons and now we have 8,000 Masons in the Province and we need to improve on bringing younger men who will bring in their friends, there is a marketing campaign but on recruitment make sure we do it ourselves. Master Masons who have not joined Royal Arch should join to complete journey in Masonry, it is a fine exaltation ceremony and there is now a link between Craft and Royal Arch chasing up the two Orders.
With regard to the charity donation in the lodge, Mark said that he had never seen such a large amount and any Masons who are difficulty should not suffer in silence and should contact the WLFC Huyton office. Mark added that he had enjoyed the meeting and mentioned Masonry is meant to be enjoyed, it is a hobby. He then proposed a toast to Lodge of Harmony for their great history, especially mentioning the support from the London team.
Ken, in his speech, thanked his committee who over a period started preparations for this event. He included emphasis on the charity donation and said he is proud to be the master of this lodge on this occasion after first being master of the lodge in 1980.
The membership of the lodge had increased due to the Pathway initiative with Nathan Edwards being initiated in April 2022 and another candidate due in March 2023. Throughout COVID, Mal Yates had worked with the local councillors to provide food stuffs for families in need including Christmas hampers. He thanked Gary Mason and the members of the bicentenary committee and also the Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor for his advice and guidance for making this an occasion to remember.