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Square Meals: 300 Years of Masonic Dining

Exhibition about Freemasons and their feasts

The Freemasons' love of a good meal has long been legendary. London's imposing Fremasons' Hall is hosting an exhibition exploring the ways in which they have supped over the centuries, from the first Grand Lodge's meetings at the Goose and Gridiron, via the huge feast for 7000 in 1930s Olympia, to the Georgian manners and customs still practiced by today's diners. Illustrating this history is a spectacular assortment of Masonic symbolism-strewn tableware, which ranges from enormous silver centrepieces to jelly moulds. There's even a particulary fine Masonic set squares and compasses toast rack.

Square Meals: 300 Years of Masonic Dining runs at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ from 7 July to 26 September. The museum is open Monday to Friday, 11am to 5pm, and entry is free. For more information call 020 7395 9257 or visit the website.

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Early Masonic lodges did not seperate the ceremonies and entertainment from the festival meal, and often gave bottles and glasses on the table symbolic meaning - such lodges are termed 'table lodges'.

 

Bristol blue decanter and Beilby enamel firing glasses from the late 1700s

 

A toast rack with the dividers made from Masonic set squares

Reputedly the largest sit-down lunch ever served in this country was at Olympia in support of the 'Masonic Million' appeal – 7000 masons in regalia were fed five courses and coffee by 1250 waitresses in just over an hour on five miles of tables.

 

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