Paraphrased from the announcement
When Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 there were about 500 Masonic lodges in the British Empire. By the time she died in 1901, there were nearly 2,000. All these new lodges needed equipment and all the new members needed their ceremonial costumes so these years also saw the development of specialist retailers who adopted modern marketing techniques to reach their audience. ‘The Masonic Emporium’ exhibition at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in Freemasons’ Hall in London’s Covent Garden explores the development of this market, telling the story of its suppliers and customers. It runs from Thursday 1 July to Thursday 23 December 2010 and is free of charge to all visitors.
The exhibition also explores how manufacturing for this market changed from a small scale cottage industry to larger scale production and how Masonic manufacturing took full advantage of increasing industrialisation. As Grand Lodge standardised the design of its regalia we find Masonic jewels changing from individual works by craftsmen like Thomas Harper to the commemorative medals for Queen Victoria’s Royal Jubilees in 1887 and 1897, made in their thousands by different companies to an identical pattern.
Robes and aprons, jewels and collars, tracing board and working tools, books and lodge stationery, decorative china and commemorative silverware, the needs of the individual mason both at the lodge and at home, the needs of both an ordinary lodge and the United Grand Lodge of England, this was the market the various companies competed against each other to supply. The fruits of their labour can be seen in the Library and Museum today. This is the history explored in ‘The Masonic Emporium’.
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Who/What/Where – VISITOR INFORMATION
Exhibition Title: The Masonic Emporium
Venue: The Library and Museum of Freemasonry, Freemasons’ Hall,
Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZExhibition dates: Thursday 1 July – Thursday 23
Exhibition free of charge to all visitors
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm. Museum closed at weekends.
Visitor information: www.freemasonry.london.museum
or +44 (0)20 7395 9257
LIBRARY & MUSEUM OF FREEMASONRY
Registered charity number 1058497
Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street
Covent Garden, London WC2B 5AZ
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7395 9257