The Liverpool Group

Freemasonry in the City of Liverpool 2011 Onwards

In May 2011 the Provincial Grand Master R.W.Bro. Peter John Hosker re-organised the four central Liverpool Groups into two. The new Liverpool Group (includes the former Sandon, Wellington and Trafalgar Groups), will be responsible for all the 37 Lodges and 21 Chapters that meet at the Liverpool Masonic Hall in Hope Street, whilst the Gladstone Group will remain and cater for all the Lodges and Chapters that meet at other venues in the city centre such as the Adelphi Hotel, Artists Club, Liverpool University and the Medical Institute.

Some lodges hold many social events, including Ladies’ Nights, Old English Nights, Barbecues and various fund-raising activities, both for Masonic and non-Masonic charities. Charity is one of the great driving forces of Freemasonry and every member is encouraged to contribute regularly to this worthy cause. The sums raised enable the Freemasons’ Grand Charity to donate considerable amounts to nearly all the major National Charities and it is one of the major sources of charitable giving in the country. In addition the Brethren also support local charities as well as the Masonic charities in the Province of West Lancashire.

There are some lodges where membership is encouraged from particular groups of people such as those who work in similar trades or professions, those associated with particular schools or the university, or ex-servicemen. The size of lodges varies considerably. One has over three hundred members whereas most have between thirty and sixty members. Each lodge is presided over by a Master and two Wardens. All lodges are connected by a regulatory body for the Province of West Lancashire and are held under the auspices of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Young people should not feel out of place in Liverpool Masonry. The lower age limit for membership is twenty one and there are many members in their twenties and early thirties. At the other end of the scale there are many members these days that, because of work or other commitments, do not join until retirement.

As will be seen, the scope for Freemasonry in Liverpool is very great. While space prevents a detailed analysis there is a variety of lodges in which any upright and honourable man, from whatever quarter in life, can feel at home, where he can make many firm and long-lasting friendships and where he can feel he is making a contribution not just to his particular lodge but to the good of society as a whole.

Freemasonry in the City of Liverpool 1998 To 2011

n 1998 the then Provincial Grand Master re-organised the central Liverpool area into four Groups. The four Masonic Groups, namely Gladstone, Sandon, Trafalgar and Wellington were, contrary to first appearance, actually named after four of the more famous Liverpool docks.

The Sandon Group for example was named after the Sandon Dock, which was opened in 1851 and was notable for no less than six graving docks that opened off from its north side. Following improvements in 1902, which included increasing the depth to 6? 6?, the dock was able to accommodate the giants of the North Atlantic. Lord Sandon, after whom the dock was named, was the courtesy title for the heir to the Earldom of Harrowby. The particular Lord Sandon after whom this dock was named was Dudley Ryder, who was born on 23 May 1798 and died on 19 November 1882. He became a Member of Parliament for Liverpool in 1831 until his father?s death rendered him ineligible. He occupied a number of important posts including Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal; he was also President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The vast majority of the lodges met at the Masonic Hall in Hope Street (the administrative centre of Freemasonry in the Province of West Lancashire) which was originally built in 1858 as a permanent home. It is a listed building. But about half of those in the Gladstone Group and a small number in the Sandon and Wellington Groups met at such diverse venues as the Britannia Adelphi Hotel, the Liverpool Racquet Club and Staff House at the University of Liverpool Between them, these Liverpool Groups comprised a cosmopolitan array of different lodges with much fascinating heritage, reflecting the history and development of the city. Some lodges are very old; there are several over two hundred years of age and one over two hundred and fifty, but many were founded since the second world war, the most recent in 1979. Most lodges met in the evening during the week but there is one lodge which met at lunch time and a few met on Saturdays.