The demonstration team of Provincial Grand Stewards’ Chapter of West Lancashire No 8516, whose home is at Liverpool Masonic Hall on Hope Street, only had to cross over the street to visit their recent hosts, University Chapter of Liverpool No 4274. Consecrated on 21 October 1926, University Chapter meets within the Medical Institute on the corner of Hope Street, which is a truly fascinating venue to visit.
Following the opening of the chapter by first principal Rob Burgess, in unison with his two fellow principals, the standard business procedure was followed, after which Past Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Barrie Crossley entered the chapter and announced that the principal guest, Second Provincial Grand Principal Barry Jameson stood without demanding admission. Barry entered the chapter, accompanied by Vice-Chairman of the Liverpool Gladstone Group John James and fellow grand officers Michael Jones and Malcolm Warren. The three principals greeted Barry Jameson warmly, following which Rob Burgess offered the sceptre, which Barry briefly accepted, before graciously returning it back.
With all seated, it was the turn of Chris Gleave of the ‘Stewards’ demonstration team to take the floor, to explain that the evening’s lecture was to be on the Royal Arch tracing board and that it would be accompanied by a slide show.
The lecture commenced with a brief history of tracing board designs, which were standardised by John Harris (1791-1873), after an invitation was made in 1845, by the Emulation Lodge of Improvement, for artists to submit designs for tracing boards. John Harris’s designs won the competition easily and he produced a series of designs for tracing boards, including the Royal Arch. Known simply as the ‘Harris Tracing Boards’, the designs for the three Craft degrees were widely adopted in lodges and form the basis of many still in use today, while his Royal Arch board failed to gain similar popularity.
Concentrating on the Harris Royal Arch board, the lecture itself was split into a number of sections, each of which had a different narrator, taken from the members of the Provincial Grand Stewards team. Each section looked in detail at the various artefacts or symbols which appear on the tracing board and some that don’t, in order to help explain their Masonic meaning or relevance, such as the staircase, carpet, trowel, the five platonic bodies and the pedestal.
The presentation was met with much interest and acclamation, after which the companions made their way to the library and gallery for the festive board. In response to the toast to Supreme Grand Chapter, Barry responded on their behalf. He gave thanks to the demonstration team, reminding all that the team gave their time and efforts on a voluntary basis and where all active in their own chapters and lodges throughout the Province. He further stated that the team would be out at the next meeting of Temple Chapter No 1094 across the street in Liverpool Masonic Hall, in two weeks’ time. Temple Chapter would be celebrating 150 years and the team would be demonstrating ‘See who seeks admission’.
Barry next thanked the three principals and companions of the University Chapter of Liverpool for being such excellent hosts for the evening and he appreciated how much time and effort it had taken. He next took the opportunity to congratulate those who had been offered an appointment or promotion in either Royal Arch or Craft and this was met with warm applause.
Finally, he said how pleasant it had been within the chapter room to see how many wore the MCF 2021 Festival jewel and would encourage everyone to spread the word about how good Royal Arch Masonry is.
A very fitting end to an evening, which had been of great interest and well received by the companions present in the chapter.