FREEMASONRY has been brought to book, thanks to a generous donation from a former member.
Earlier this month, a newly refurbished library and museum was opened at the Sindlesham-based Berkshire Masonic Centre by Anthony Howlett-Bolton OBE.
Dignitaries in the audience on Friday, May 3, included borough mayor Cllr John Kaiser – who had just been re-elected earlier in the day – and Sir David Wootton.
The library is said to be one of the biggest and best outside of London and is open to anyone who wants to find out more about Freemasonry in England. There is a particular emphasis on Berkshire.
The collection includes more than 20,000 books, including some very rare editions.
There are also more than 3,000 certificates, prints, postcards, photographs and archival items, and a recently acquired stamp collection all in the museum and the custodians are constantly adding to it. The museum is also supported by a reference database with 90,000 records.
Some of the items are more than 200 years old and include ceramics and pottery, such as a very rare Masonic chamber pot; a bust of Albert Prince of Wales – the future King Edward VI, as well as furniture and Masonic badges and regalia.
Mr Howlett-Bolton is the leader of Berkshire Freemasons and was delighted with the refurbishment, which came from a legacy left by Robin White.
“We are extremely grateful to Robin for his very thoughtful legacy, it has enabled us to create this wonderful Library which has built upon his knowledge and passion for Masonic History,” he said. “I hope all those who interested or wish to find out about Freemasonry come and see this collection.”
And Sir David, who is one of the senior leaders of English Freemasons, added: “This Museum and Library looks wonderful, and making the facilities open to all will greatly enhance the understanding of Freemasonry.”
Cllr Kaiser said: “The refurbishment has created a superb facility in Sindlesham that documents Freemasonry in Berkshire. I’m sure that people will find it fascinating to see this history in such wonderful setting.”