Ron Elliott was proclaimed as WM of Crosby Lodge No 3714 in the presence of Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Derek Parkinson who was the representative of the Provincial Grand Master Mark Matthews. Derek was accompanied by Howard Jones, Brian Cunliffe and the Chairman of Ormskirk and Bootle Group Graham Chambers along with acting Provincial grand officers Steven Dunn and Richard McHale.
At his proclamation ceremony, Ron was proclaimed master by the director of ceremonies Peter O’Donnell and as the lodge stayed in the first degree only, the working tools were presented by William Hardaker-Green in an excellent manner.
Once installed as WM, Ron appointed Nigel Ainsworth as senior warden and David Parkins as junior warden. On completion of the proclamation ceremony, Ron’s first task was to present Derek Parkinson with cheques to the value of £2,000 for Masonic and non-Masonic charities.
Once the ceremony was completed, acting officer Richard McHale had a very pleasant duty to perform by returning a Hall Stone Jewel back to the lodge. Before presenting the jewel to the WM however, Richard recited the history of the Hall Stone Jewel.
In 1919, after World War I, Grand Lodge decided, in response to a suggestion from the then Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, to embark on the building of a new headquarters for the English Craft as a memorial to the many brethren who had given their lives during the War.
For this purpose, a special committee was set up in 1920 and an appeal was made to every member of the constitution for contributions to the fund which, from the target set, came to be known as the Masonic Million Memorial Fund. Contributions to this fund were to be entirely voluntary and were to be recognized by special commemorative jewels. These were of three types for the three categories of subscribers, each of the same basic design but of different sizes and precious metals.
The first medal called the Masonic Million Memorial Fund Commemorative Jewel (35mm) on a dark blue ribbon, to be worn as a personal breast jewel by any member of a lodge under the English Constitution subscribing 10 guineas or more to the fund earned a silver medal; 100 guineas or more, a gold medal. Some 53,224 individual jewels were issued.
A medal in gold (42mm) on a light blue collarette to be worn by successive masters of lodges contributing an average of 10 guineas per member, such lodges to be known as Hall Stone Lodges (thus giving the jewel its name). 1,321 lodges at home and abroad qualified as Hall Stone Lodges; their names and numbers are inscribed on commemorative marble panels in the main ceremonial entrance vestibule of Freemasons’ Hall.
A medal in gold and coloured enamels (48mm), on a dark blue collarette, to be worn by successive Provincial and District Grand Masters of Provinces or Districts contributing an average of 500 guineas per lodge.
Two districts, Japan (now defunct) and Burma (also non-existent now) and one Province, that of Buckinghamshire, qualified as Hall Stone Districts or Provinces. Certain lodge rooms in Freemasons’ Hall were therefore named after them in recognition of their achievement, this being commemorated on a bronze plaque therein.
Lodge rooms 11, 12 and 17 were thus named respectively the Japan, the Burma and the Buckinghamshire rooms. They are the only lodge rooms in Freemasons’ Hall distinguished in this way by a name, although only the Buckinghamshire Room is still so called.
The design of the medal, the outcome of a competition won by Cyril Saunders Spackman, was described at the time in these terms: “The jewel is in the form of a cross, symbolising sacrifice, with a perfect square at the four ends; on the left and right squares being the dates 1914-1918, the years in which the supreme sacrifice was made. Between these is a winged figure of Peace presenting the representation of a temple with special Masonic allusion in the pillars, porch and steps. The medal is suspended by the square and compasses, attached to a riband, the whole thus symbolising the Craft’s gift of a temple in memory of those brethren who gave all for King and country, peace and victory, liberty and brotherhood”.
Three other jewels also need to be considered along with those already mentioned (usually referred to as the ‘Hallstone Jewels’).
The Peace Jewel was awarded to Masons who attended the especial meeting of Grand Lodge on 27 June 1919 when the decision to commence funding for a new hall was taken. Later the jewel was also made available for those who were eligible to attend but were unable to do so; this jewel omitted the ‘S‘ on the ribbon.
On 8 August 1925 a sit-down fundraising meal was held at the Kensington Olympia, where 7,250 Masons joined the Grand Master in what was the largest ever catered meal served in Europe, until Queen Elizabeth II’s jubilee garden party. Attendees at the Kensington Olympia received a jewel to commemorate the occasion, with an ‘S‘ on the ribbon denoting that the wearer had been a steward at the meal. At the end of the meal it was announced that over £825,000 had been raised for the building fund.
Finally, a jewel was also created to be awarded to those individual Masons who had donated the sum of 240 guineas or over, known as the Collector’s Jewel. Building work on the Masonic Peace Memorial, as it was at first called, later to become known as Freemasons’ Hall, commenced in 1927 and was completed in 1933 when the hall was dedicated.
At the June 1938 Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge, the special committee presented its final report recording that the building had been handed over to the Board of General Purposes free from debt and that well over £1,000,000 had been subscribed to the fund. The fund itself was closed on 31 December 1938 and although it is unlikely that there is any active Mason still entitled to wear them, these jewels survive as a testament to the efforts made in raising that money.
The reason behind the explanation of the Hallstone Jewel as Crosby Lodge it is not a Hall Stone Lodge is because one of those personal breast jewels had come into Richard’s possession and on examining it he found it to be engraved on the reverse with the words ‘Bro R A Livock’, with the lodge number ‘3714’. Richard pointed out that on the lodge summons, it states that R Arthur Livock, Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, was WM during the years 1921 to 1922. It seems that, at a personal cost of 10 guineas, or taking into account inflation, £763 in today’s money, he purchased the jewel.
Richard addressed the WM and announced: “As this jewel is part of Crosby Lodge’s history, I feel it is only right that I return it to its rightful home and with your permission WM, present it to you and Crosby Lodge for its future safekeeping.”
The lodge was then closed in harmony and all the brethren retired to the festive board where Don Frasier sang the Master’s Song and Ron outlined the achievement of the lodge since he had become master.