Restarting – An Inspector’s eye view

W Bro John Shulman PSGD MetGInsp gives us an ‘Inspector’s eye view’

With some trepidation, I approached Freemason’s Hall around 4.15 pm on 1st September. This was the restart of Freemasonry; one of the first meetings since March. Would the plans put in place be effective? Would anyone turn up? How nervous would everyone be?

Walking into reception, with its hand
sanitizer, a temperature check, all the
staff protected by screens and arrows all
over the place, felt like the ‘new normal’.
A little quieter, less congested; but it was
walking into Freemasonry proper, and
that was comforting!

Onwards to Temple Fourteen where
three members of Duke of Albany Lodge
No 1963 were waiting. Duke of Albany,
an old lodge consecrated on 4th May
1882, is proud of its history of continuous
meetings since that date. Wars have not
stopped them, but Covid-19 could have
proved a problem. With only three
members of the lodge able to attend on
this occasion, their proud tradition was
in danger. As their Inspector, I was
informed of the problem and immediately
noticed that the meeting was at the same
time and venue of my mother lodge, Titan
No 6002. Not so venerable, but it
celebrated its 75th Anniversary the
previous November. I asked for
volunteers, and quickly two brethren
stepped forward to attend early and assist
Duke of Albany.

The brethren from Albany, W Bro Steve
Nunn LGR acting as Worshipful Master,
Bro Pat Mahoney and Bro Gary Sprawling
were joined by myself, W Bro John
Ledgister LGR and W Bro Karim Wallani
from Titan. Now quorate, The Duke of
Albany Lodge held its 699th meeting,
successfully and maintained its proud
tradition. So far, so good. My first meeting
since March was successful. Now on to
the Titan meeting. A little more
ambitious, a fiftieth-anniversary certificate
to present with RW Bro Stephen Fenton
PJGW DepMetGM in attendance and a
revised passing ceremony to conduct!

Fifteen brethren were in attendance and,
having got over some initial apprehension,
the brethren soon relaxed and embraced
their return to the Craft. Titan Lodge was
opened and then called off to allow the
presentation to be ‘zoomed’ to the
members and visitors who were unable
to attend.

Fifty years before, to the day, W Bro
Wally Bard LGR had been initiated into
Titan. As Bro Stephen proceeded to
illustrate the state of the world in 1970,
the brethren were immersed into the
picture of vastly different times. Bro
Stephen described W Bro Wally’s career
both masonic and professional.
Concluding with the many active
voluntary offices which had been his
constant contribution throughout his life,
he remarked how W Bro Wally was a
true Mason, undoubtedly worthy of the
honours conferred onto him. W Bro
Wally, visibly moved, thanked Bro
Stephen and the brethren of Titan Lodge
for the presentation and the certificate.
He said he always had, and always would
hold Titan close to his heart.


The Lodge was called back on and Bro
Robert Bucknor-Smart was passed to the
second degree using the revised socially
distanced ritual. It was a little odd to those
of us who are used to the standard
ceremony, but I am sure that Bro Robert
enjoyed the experience nonetheless.


Without a festive board to attend, the
brethren then dispersed into the evening.
Certainly, the lack of a festive board
dampened the experience a little, but to
be able to greet and see both old friends
in my mother Lodge and meet new ones
at the Duke of Albany was a true thrill,
and such an evening with brethren old
and new working together in harmony is
to my mind the true essence of the Craft.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 42 October 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 42.