A White Table Talk


At the regular meeting of the Lodge of Aspiration No 6086 on Thursday 28th September, a rare event occurred. For the first time in a few years, the Lodge had organised a White Table. After a short meeting, the wives, partners and non-Masonic guests entered the Temple to hear a couple of short talks and to ask any questions they might have.

W Bro. Alan Peters PAGDC gave a talk in two parts. Freemasonry in general, its origins and evolution up to the present day, and this Lodge in particular.

He started by saying that although the origins of Freemasonry are lost in the mists of time, from Bible times through to the Cathedral builders of the Middle Ages.  In the early 1717, four Lodges who met at the Goose and Gridiron Inn in the City of London created the first Grand Lodge of the World. Ireland followed in 1725 and then Scotland in 1736 each having its own Grand Lodge. During the Colonial period Freemasonry was established in many other parts of the world. Alan explained how initially Freemasonry initially appealed to the “landed gentry” and academics (for example, Fellows of the Royal Society) and slowly started to spread across the world.

However, there were rival Grand Lodges in England. The Premier Grand Lodge which we have mentioned was formed in 1717. Later there was another called The Grand Lodge in London of Free and Accepted Masons According to the Old Institution (the Antients) which existed from 1851 until 1813 when the United Grand Lodge of England was formed.

 Alan also continued his theme by mentioning the spectacular Tercentenary Celebrations held six years ago in 2017 and very topically the Installation of the new Pro Provincial Grand Master and Provincial Grand Superintendent for Middlesex on October 2nd this year.

With his speaker’s ‘licence to namedrop’ he mentioned some famous Freemasons such as His Majesty King George VI, His Majesty King Edward VII and His Majesty King Edward VIII, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Dr Barnado, Rudyard Kipling, Robbie Burns, Mozart, Nat King Cole, Peter Sellers, John Wayne, Houdini, Henry Ford and Andre Citroen, Scott of the Antarctic, Buzz Aldrin, and HRH Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Charity and Service

He highlighted the Lodge’s charitable endeavours by giving some examples. At a local level this could be a gift of a few hundred pounds to help a Scout Group to paint their hut. On an international level, money goes to help victims of natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes. Alan then described other endeavours at a national level which would involve the Freemasons Grand Charity which is the second biggest source of donations to charity after the National Lottery. Minor Grants could go to charities for homeless people or breakfast clubs for children whose families are in such dire circumstances that they cannot even provide a meal before the children go to school.   Major Grants have included payment for brand new extended range fire appliances following the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster, Air Ambulances, Lifeboats, and bursaries for doctors doing research in specialised areas where they cannot get funding from Government.

Alan then explained that you start Freemasonry in what is known as Craft Lodge and then hopefully, take your interest to the next stage which is the Royal Arch or Chapter. After that, the sky is the limit in what a Freemason might involve himself in by way of other masonic activities.

Now to Lodge of Aspiration

The Lodge has not one but two banners due to the fact that the Lodge of Aspiration and the Lodge of Orleans joined forces in 2015; the Lodge of Aspiration having been founded in 1945 and the Lodge of Orleans in 1964. The origins of the Lodge of Aspiration go back to the autumn of 1944. and following a petition to Grand Lodge, the then Most Worshipful Grand Master was please to accede to the request and the Lodge was Consecrated on 13th September 1945 at Freemasons’ Hall with over 195 Brethren present. This being just after the end of the war, the proceedings were followed by a celebration dinner which was referred to as being ‘served in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Food’.

The Lodge was a big supporter of what was then The Royal Masonic Hospital, sadly closed many years ago, and achieved the status of Grand Patron in support of the Hospital’s vital work.

Ladies Festivals, where the wives and other family members were made most welcome, has somewhat fallen into decline in recent years but in its heyday, this would have been the social event of the Masonic year, regularly attracting 200 or more guests. Indeed, on one occasion, when the Aspiration Ladies Festival coincided with New Year’s Eve, some 400 guests were present.

The Lodge of Orleans

W. Bro Alan mentioned the origins of the Lodge of Orleans which go back to the First World War when a number of British Freemasons stationed in France wanted to form a Lodge. This desire was granted by La Grande Loge Nationale Français and the chosen name for the Lodge was Jeanne D’Arc.

Brethren returning from the war wanted to continue their Freemasonry in England and applied to the United Grand Lodge of England to form a new Lodge with the same name. This request was granted on 16th December 1920, and the new Lodge was subsequently consecrated.

In due course, the Lodge sponsored two other new Lodges, one being Fleur de Lys Lodge which was Consecrated in July 1947, the other Lodge of Lorraine which was Consecrated in May 1952. Lodge of Lorraine was very successful with over 60 members and as many of the newer Brethren were concerned that they might have to wait a long time to make progress in becoming Master of the Lodge, the idea of forming a daughter Lodge started to take shape. A proposal was put forward and in February 1964, the Lodge of Orleans was Consecrated. The ceremony took place at Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street with over 200 Brethren present. On Tuesday 10th March 2015 the two Lodges joined forces by way of amalgamation. This “union” has worked well.

This Is What We Do

W. Bro Alan’s talk was followed by W. Bro Raymond Lancer giving an insight to the Officers of a Lodge and their titles and their duties. He very spoke lucidly about what each Officer does particularly where Candidates are involved in the various ceremonies. This was a good opportunity for the wives, partners and non-Masons present to get some information about what goes on at meeting and Brother Raymond’s very clear description certainly gave them a much better idea.

It was a wonderful opportunity for members, their wives and partners to engage socially. There followed a delightful Festive Board. As a result of this White Table meeting there was the possibility of a Joining Member and two potential candidates.

Back to top of page