Given that at the previous meeting of Jerusalem Chapter No 32, 65 members and guests, together with their principal guest for the evening, Second Grand Principal Russell Race, had celebrated in grand fashion 225 years of the chapter’s existence, their installation meeting was by comparison a gentler affair and more of a celebration of their new first principal Chris Sandham, a past master of St George’s Lodge of Harmony No 32.
Prior to the meeting opening, principal guest and chapter member, Paul Shepherd, spoke to a group of guests and was delighted to show them the five new principal banners, which had been made by expert craft persons at the Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as the newly re-furbished standards representing the 12 tribes of Israel. All 12 had been painstakingly and carefully restored to their original condition by craft persons at The National Conservation Centre in Liverpool. The centre, formerly the Midland Railway Goods Warehouse, stands in a block surrounded by Victoria Street, Crosshall Street, Whitechapel, and Peter Street. After it closed as a warehouse it was converted into a conservation centre in the 1990s. Initially its exhibition area was open to the public, however, public admission was denied in 2010 due to a cut in government funding. The centre is recorded in the National Heritage list as a designated Grade II listed building. Expert craftsperson’s still work behind closed doors restoring paintings, statues and porcelain prior, to going back on display into the various museums and art galleries.
The meeting was opened by the three principals, Jim Alty, Chris Sandham and Mike Radcliff, the latter standing in as third principal, as sadly, Ian Fisher had passed away since the last installation meeting. Following confirmation of the minutes, the installation proceeded. Michael Collins was invited to act as third principal and a conclave of installed first principals was declared. Chris repeated his obligation in a sincere manner after he had been presented as the elected first principal. The robe address was given by Paul Shepherd. Mike Radcliffe having been installed on a previous occasion re-affirmed his obligation and took his place as second principal. Peter Nicholson, as the elected third principal was not present, he will therefore be installed at a later date. Officer’s for the ensuing year wear appointed and collared by the three principals.
At the conclusion of the installation ceremony, Paul rose to convey the greetings and congratulations of the Grand Superintendent Tony Harrison. Paul also conveyed greetings to all the officers and companions of Jerusalem Chapter for a happy and healthy year. Following which, the convocation was closed and members and guests retired to the Crosby Suite to enjoy a pre-dinner drink.
As the festive season had begun, crackers and party hats were laid out to accompany the traditional Christmas fayre. In keeping with the traditions of the chapter, the only toast given during proceedings was to The Queen, Duke of Lancaster. However, much wine taking took place during the meal. The three principals are looking forward to at least one exaltation over the coming months, together with the opportunity to welcome a joining member, Ernie Waites of Imperial Sefton Chapter No 680.
Article and photographs by Phil Marshall.