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Benjamin Partridge Blog
The Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Monday, May 14, 2007
This library is inside the United Grand Lodge of England near Holborn tube. I went along with a friend this morning. Freemasonry is weird. The whole time I was there the thought was troubling me, "What is this all about?"
The museum was filled with items bearing the freemason symbols - the compasses, the set square (obviously big on geometry - whatever you think of them, they'll always deliver a good right angle) and the star - but there was nothing about what freemasonry stands for.
It did nothing to allay my fears that Freemasonry is a bizarre cult for men who never grew out of setting up secret societies as boys. But what is at the centre of the conspiracy? Did I see any clues?
Well when we arrived at the reception there was a large pile of bottles marked with signs saying "toxic" with a skull and crossbones. I assume this was cleaning fluid rather than preparations for some sort of final solution. On the corridor to the library there was a sign to an "embroidery room" - perhaps it is all a cover for a bunch of men who, aside from their jobs in the police force or judiciary, enjoy embroidery.
More likely they need such a room to maintain their sashes. The museum was very sash heavy, each one labeled with enigmatic explanations such as "This sash is given to the Grand High Master and ??"
I didn't get any books out from the library but I suspect that they contain a lot of ??.
The whole thing was just a bit weird and neither I nor my friend felt particularly at home in the freemasons library. Added to the eery atmosphere, there was a bit of real masonry going on outside and it was far from quiet so we didn't stay long. Part of me wanted to hang on for the tour at 2pm but we feared that we'd be the only non-Masons on the tour which would undoubtedly lead to some awkward moments.
On the way out we visited the giftshop where to my delight amongst many ties and cufflinks they sell a freemasonry jokebook. To give you a good idea of its content, I'll share one of the punchlines with you,
"I just got the summons and you've been made Senior Dean!"
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