The Chorley group decided to celebrate the Masonic Tercentenary with a weekend away at Crewe Hall, at a site on which a hall dates back as far as 1170. Sadly, the interior of the hall was very badly damaged by fire in 1866. The rebuilding within the existing walls was entrusted to Edward Barry, an architect to many famous buildings such as Covent Garden Theatre, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, Charing Cross Station and was the architect in charge for the final work on the Houses of Parliament.
Prior to 1922 when the Crewe family left, there would have been around 100 servants in the hall serving 190 rooms. There were 20 gardeners growing all the produce for the house in the three walled gardens and approximately 50 farms and 200 cottages in the immediate locality. In 1936 the bulk of the estate was sold to the Duchy of Lancaster. In 1955 Her Majesty the Queen, together with the Duke of Edinburgh visited Crew Hall in her capacity as Duke of Lancaster.
During free time everyone had the run of the extensive gardens – the only requirement being a pair of strong sunglasses as the weather was perfect. For the more energetic there was a marvellous pool and gym, whilst for the less energetic there were six spa treatment rooms, a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. For everyone, its was an incredible hotel to explore with monumental fireplaces, library, minstrels gallery, ornate carved wood, strap work plaster ceilings, stained glass windows and chapel – the list goes on; not to mention an afternoon tea to die for.
The weekend started on Friday night with a buffet dinner followed by entertainment in the form of a brilliant comedian Terry Cotta and a glamorous singer Jessica Bailey. On Saturday afternoon John Belton delivered a very interesting talk on the history around the development of Freemasonry. Saturday evening started with a drinks reception in a Jacobean columned hall which was followed by a black tie dinner served in the magnificent long gallery.
Chorley group chairman Peter Lockett welcomed everyone to the special occasion in a very apt location. He thanked Stuart and Anne Wilson, Peter and Lesley Allen plus Phil and Agnes Spencer who had planned and organised the event. He hoped everyone would enjoy the occasion. A fine dinner was rounded off with entertainment by the Queens of Rhythm, an excellent group which at one point became ‘Brian Sharples and the Queens of Rhythm.’
It was very enjoyable and memorable evening – excellent!
Sunday morning started with a super breakfast as everyone started to drift home after a superb weekend.