I have been a Freemason for over 10 years and often heard talk of the special workings of Bristol masons.
When our lodge Secretary circulated information about a forth coming visit to attend a 3rd degree at a Bristol lodge on Saturday December the 7th, I was keen on signing up for it. As it happened, I delayed confirming my interest until the very last moment but thanks to the sterling efforts of our Secretary Mike Perry I secured the last seat on the coach. The coach was leaving at 2pm from the Slough Masonic Lodge, and my wife dropped me off in good time to catch the coach. This meant that I would be able to fully enjoy the festive board after the ceremony.
I positioned myself on the back seat of the coach, allowing a bit more room for my legs. I was soon in an interesting conversation with some Brothers from one of the Windsor Lodges. We stopped on the way up at Newbury to pick up another couple of Brothers. Looking down the length of the coach as it headed along the M4 I couldn’t help thinking that all the large black Masonic cases precariously balanced on the luggage racks above the seats didn’t look particularly safe! Maybe the coach company should have supplied hard hats for their passengers during the journey? Fortunately the coach driver was very competent and no injuries were sustained.
We had distinguished company amongst our numbers on the coach, such as Gordon Robinson the Provincal Grand Master and other high ranking officers.
Bristol is a busy City and the Masonic Hall is situated in the centre of the City, the coach only stopped long enough to allow us to vacate the coach. Finally we all congregated in the main reception area of the lodge, along with brothers of other Bucks lodges.
An Official of the Bristol Masonic building introduced himself and welcomed us all to their Masonic Hall, he then took us for a very interesting Tour of the various Temples and meeting rooms, along with telling us about the history of the building. On completion of the tour we were invited to whet our whistle at the bar before the Ceremony began.
The Temple we entered for the 3rd degree Ceremony was the largest in the building, as far as I could see. I’m sure there were in excess of over 100 brethren in attendance in the Temple. It was very impressive seeing so many dark blue apron’s, it could easily have been mistaken for a meeting at Great Queens Street.
Although the 3rd degree was held in Emulation it was fascinating to see the subtle differences between the Bristol workings and our own 3rd degree lodge workings. The quality of the ritual was impressive.
On completion of the meeting we retired briefly to the bar for a drink before the festive board. The Festive board was held in one of the huge dining rooms, the food was very good along with whole festive board in general.
Finally we trundled back outside and shortly the coach pulled up. Once back on the coach, in no time at all, all that could be heard was the sound of snoring ZZZZZZZZZZ.
I would like to thank the organisers of the trip and I had very entertaining afternoon/ evenings experience.
Brother Bob Newton. Marlow Bridge Lodge 8616