250th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE JEWEL AND OTHER COMMEMORATIVE JEWELS
On 14 June 1967 the 250th anniversary of Grand Lodge was celebrated at the Royal Albert Hall. Centrepiece of the celebrations was the installation as Grand Master of HRH The Duke of Kent, who still holds that office today.
In 1966 in celebration of Freemasonry's 250th anniversary, Lord Scarbrough, launched a charitable appeal in February 1966 to mark the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons. It was marked with a massive donation by the Craft to the Royal College of Surgeons to endow a research chair at the College for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
"The College has a long and special relationship with Freemasonry in England with the advancement of surgery, owing much to the generosity and constant support of Freemasons, who have contributed money and time to the College over many years.
"He proposed that every English Freemason should give £1 towards `the betterment of human health and `happiness."
The purpose of the appeal was to establish a charitable fund with the income being made available to the College for research. The appeal was enthusiastically embraced by Freemasons, and resulted in the establishment of the 250th Anniversary Fund for "research into the science of surgery".
This fund is used for non-Masonic charities and endows research units under the auspices of the Royal College of Surgeons. More than £580,000 was raised and used to create the first Masonic charity with exclusively non-Masonic objectives.
In its first years, the fund gave £25,000 to the Royal College of Surgeons of England, financing the first three Freemasons’ surgical research fellowships, a dental research fellowship and a library grant to help with the research process.
The donation took the form of a collection equal to £1 per member of the Lodge to the Grand Master’s Fund. Lodges achieving their own target in this respect were accorded the right to a 250th Anniversary Commemorative Jewel; to mark this event the Jewel now adorns the Master’s collar.
The medallion is in ‘Red and Blue’ enamel showing the Arms of the Premier Grand Lodge and the years 1717 to 1967.
The charity’s objectives remain ‘to further, in conjunction with the Royal College of Surgeons, research in the science of surgery’.
The following address is suggested as being suitable for the use at Installation of the new Worshipful Master and could be delivered by the Installing Master, at his option, immediately after the presentation of the Warrant, Book of Constitutions and the By-Laws and Hall Stone Lodge Jewel if appropriate.
(Extract from the Emulation Ritual Book)
Worshipful Master, during the Ceremony of Installing you into the Chair of this Lodge, I had the honour of investing you with the Collar and Jewel of your office. In addition to the Square, that collar is adorned with the Commemorative Jewel indicating that the members of this Lodge played their part in establishing a Fund which commemorated the preservation of Freemasonry through two and a half centuries. The design of the jewel embodies the central theme of the Arms first granted to the ‘Hole Crafte and Fellowship of Masons; in 1472.
As you are aware, the income from this very substantial Fund is placed at the disposal of the Royal College of Surgeons of England to further research into the science of surgery as a real and practical contribution for the betterment of the health and happiness of humanity.
I feel sure, Worshipful Master, the members will always feel great pride and satisfaction that the adornment to the Master’s Collar marks the Lodge’s participation in this great enterprise.
There have been numerous times when the United Grand Lodge of England has commissioned a jewel for its members in order to commemorate a specific event. Two of the most encountered of these are the Queen Victoria Gold and Diamond Jubilee jewels.
On 13th June 1887 and 14th June 1897 Especial Grand Lodges were held at the Royal Albert Hall, presided over by the Grand Master, HRH the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) calling for Freemasons to present a loyal address to the Queen on the occasions of her 50th and 60th anniversaries as monarch. On both occasions the Grand Master announced that there would be a special jewel commissioned that all masons would be permitted to wear if they were members of a lodge at the time of each celebration. Those masons actually present at the meetings were able to wear a jewel with a bar bearing the date of the meeting, and those who served as stewards there were permitted to wear a double ‘S’ badge on the ribbon.
The Golden Jubilee jewel was designed by Sir Albert Woods, Garter King at Arms of the College of Arms and Grand Director of Ceremonies at Grand Lodge. The Diamond Jubilee jewel was designed by George Kenning and Son, regalia manufacturers. Due to the large number of jewels required, numerous manufacturers were commissioned to make them to the same pattern, leading to a number of slight variations existing. Most were silver gilt with 18ct gold detail and due to the quantity produced large numbers still exist in circulation today.
Golden Jubilee Jewel
Diamond Jubilee Jewel
There were other times that jewels were struck to mark an occasion which were purely Masonic affairs, such as the jewels struck to commemorate the Installation of the Prince of Wales as Grand Master in 1875 and the very similar jewel for the installation of the Duke of Connaught as Grand Master in 1901. The former was designed by H. T. Lamb, a jewel and regalia manufacturer of Clerkenwell in London. The standard jewel was silver gilt and gold, but there were 368 solid gold copies for the stewards who officiated at the installation ceremony. The Prince was presented with a jewel set with 62 diamonds.
Prince of Wales Consecration
Duke of Connaught Consecration Jewel
The Duke of Connaught also features on the jewel for the 200th Anniversary of the formation of the first Grand Lodge on 1917. For the 250th Anniversary a special round jewel was made to be worn of the collars of lodge officers and for the 275th Anniversary both a collar jewel and a medal-style jewel were manufactured.