Christopher Wren: Google Doodle celebrates birthday of St Paul’s Cathedral architect

 

Monday 20 October 2014

 

Google has used its latest animated doodle to celebrate the 382th anniversary of the birth of Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most acclaimed architects in British history.

Wren, who was born on this day in 1632, is most famous for rebuilding 52 churches in the City of London following the Great Fire of 1666, including the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral.

The future architect was born in East Knowle, Wiltsire, to a rector father, Christopher, and a mother, Mary. He was educated at Westminster School, and then Wadham College, Oxford. He showed a precocious talent for mathematics and invention, and was appointed Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College in London at the age of 25. Five years later, in 1662, he was one of the founder members of the Royal Society.

Soon thereafter he turned his attention to architecture. His first commissioned buildings were the chapel of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, whcih is used for music concerts, lectures and University ceremonies.

His interest in architecture came at a most providential time, for in 1666 the Great Fire of London swept through the City, reducing much of it to cinders and the old St Paul’s Cathedral to ruins. However, Wren had already become involved in plans to repair the cathedral, which include the addition of a huge dome. His plan was accepted by the City the week before the fire.

Wren produced ambitious plans for rebuilding the whole of the medieval city, but these were rejected. Wren had better luck with the city churches, which he designed along with a team that included Nicholas Hawksmoor. He was appointed Surveyor of the Royal Works in 1669, giving him control of all government building in the country.

St Paul’s was opened for services in 1697, but the dome was not completed until 1711, when Wren was 79 years old, having worked on the project for the last 45 years.

The animation begins with an image of various draftsman’s tools, which gives way to a brief animation showing the aftermath of the Great Fire, out of the ruins of which grows the cathedral, finally resolving to an architect’s drawing of it in elevation.

He was knighted in 1673. It has been suggested that he was a Freemason.

 

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A very happy birthday to the long-serving U.G.L.E Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, from all of us here at Flumen Luminis and from all of our brethren from the G.L.N.F.

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Lately many people are talking about Prince William’s relation with Freemasonry. Almost since the beginning of the Grand Lodge of London and after the foundation of the United Grand Lodge of London, many members of the Royal family adhered to the Masonic Lodges in the country.

Freemasonry played an important role in the history of the British Empire and of the Royal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) also known in the 20th century as the House of Windsor.

The House of Windsor is the current royal house of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on the 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of his family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English “Windsor”. Currently, the most prominent member of the House of Windsor is Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms.

Many of them were Grand Masters of the Craft: kings, dukes etc. The last Grand Master and also the one who rules the United Grand Lodge of England is HRH Duke of Kent, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and uncle of Prince William, future Crown Prince.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick; born 9 October 1935), is a member of the British Royal Family and grandchild of King George V. He has held the title of Duke of Kent since 1942.

 

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Masonic Postcard recognising Freemason, Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, JR as the first man on the moon.

 

I love these little historic gems, this turned up thanks to our IPM, Rod.

 

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 Bro James Male is one of the sailors missing in yacht Cheeki Rafiki

 

Bro James Male, of Thomas Bennett Langton Lodge No. 9224, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, is one of the sailors missing in yacht Cheeki Rafiki

UPDATE: Relatives of two Cheeki Rafiki crew members have paid tribute to the ‘passionate sailors’ after the search for the four men was called off.

UPDATE: The US Coastguard resumes search for missing yachtsmen.

Contact with the 40ft Cheeki Rafiki yacht was lost on Friday after it got into difficulties 620 miles (1,000km) east of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

The search for Mr Goslin and three other men was called off in the early hours of Sunday morning local time.

Meanwhile the yachtsman and four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie joined calls for the US coastguard to continue the search, while an online petition has gathered more than 37,000 signatures.

Television presenter Ben Fogle also added his support, adding: ‘We’ve heard too many stories over the years of shipwrecked sailors found in tiny rafts.

‘If they don’t have a beacon that’s emitting, that doesn’t mean they’ve perished.’

 

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London Fashion Week 2014 at Freemasons’ Hall

The great and the good of the fashion world were out in force over the past week for London Fashion Week. Here are a few images of what went on in and around Freemasons’ Hall.

With thanks to Liz Black, Fashion Scout and spaces photography for the kind use of their images.

 

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Celebrating Medals: free talk at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry 

 A chance to get up close and hands-on to some of the hundreds of commemorative medals researched for a Library and Museum project last year

During 2013 the Library and Museum of Freemasonry catalogued more than 1,500 commemorative masonic medals from across the world in a project entitled Celebrating Medals.

The two cataloguers, Suzannah Musson and Nina Nethercott, were the first people to look at this collection in detail since it was acquired in the early 1900s. They also organised and presented a series of talks, some of which you get the chance to hear again for free on 25th February (details below), and a display in the Library and Museum, which will also be available to view.

Celebrating Medals: free talk at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry

Tuesday 25th February
6pm-7.30pm
Location: Library and Museum, 60 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZ

Tickets are free but must be pre-booked by emailing libmus@freemasonry.london.museum

Medals

 

Peter Lowndes on our Districts and the Universities Scheme

 

Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes explains how UGLE has been supporting Districts across the world and looks closer to home at the recommendations of the Universities Scheme Committee

One of my pleasurable duties is, along with the other Rulers, visiting our Districts. In June I was in Trinidad and Tobago and, more recently, I visited Zimbabwe to install our new District Grand Master. We were given a very warm welcome and I was somewhat surprised that the last visit there from Grand Lodge was in 1989. I was even more surprised to find that two of our lodges are in Malawi, where seventy members ensure masonry thrives.

Apart from meeting many of the local brethren and their wives, we were driven to a school in a township seventeen miles west of Harare, where we were entertained by some very moving African dancing and singing. The education support programme that started here in 1992 now has four hundred and seven orphaned children. A trust fund has been set up for these children to provide school fees, books, uniforms, a daily hot meal, healthcare and sports activities. It was most impressive and exactly the type of charity the District should support.

On a different theme, following the presentation at the Quarterly Communication last year on assuring the future of Freemasonry, I challenged the Universities Scheme Committee to consider how the principles expressed in the address could be implemented across the whole Craft.

I have now had first sight of their report, which covers a series of recommendations and examples of good practice from lodges around the English Constitution. This is an excellent document and I will be discussing the proposals through the Provinces and Districts to lodge level. Brethren, how often do we hear that changes and progress in masonry take an eternity? This report has been put together with admirable speed and it is incumbent on the Rulers to ensure that there is no delay in passing them on.

We are united in recognising the importance of recruiting and retaining younger Freemasons and these recommendations will give a better chance of strengthening all lodges, however successful, while not alienating established brethren.

‘We are united in recognising the importance of recruiting and retaining younger Freemasons.’

 

Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

Original article can be found here

Today marks the 66th wedding anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. From everyone here at Flumen Luminis #47 wish them both a very happy anniversary.

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Michael Baigent obituary from John Hamill

Past editor of Freemasonry Today, Michael Baigent was a successful author and influential mason whose writing sparked debate and created a loyal following. John Hamill looks back at his career

It is with real regret that we have to announce the death of Michael Baigent who was editor of Freemasonry Today from the spring of 2001 until the summer of 2011, when increasing ill health forced him into partial retirement. He continued as consultant editor until his untimely death from a brain haemorrhage on 17 June 2013 at a Brighton hospital.

Born in Nelson, New Zealand, in 1948, he was educated at Nelson College and the University of Canterbury, at Christchurch, reading comparative religion and psychology and graduating in 1972 with a BA. In later life he earned an MA in the Study of Mysticism and Religious Experience from the University of Kent.

After graduating, Michael spent four years as a photographer in India, Laos, Bolivia and Spain. Coming to London in 1976, he worked for a time in the photographic department at the BBC, which brought him into contact with Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh, who were filming a documentary about the medieval Knights Templar. Their mutual interests and enthusiasm ultimately led to the publication in 1982 of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a controversial bestseller and still in print after more than thirty years.

Embracing the craft

The success of the book enabled Michael to concentrate on research, writing and lecturing. Writing with Leigh, he produced works on such diverse topics as Freemasonry, the Dead Sea Scrolls, magic and alchemy, the Stauffenberg plot to kill Hitler and the Inquisition. His solo works covered the ancient mysteries, the early Christian church and the influence of religion in modern life.

Michael’s interest in the history of ideas and the esoteric tradition led him to the Craft, becoming a Freemason in the Lodge of Economy, No. 76, Winchester, near his then home. He later joined the Prince of Wales’s Lodge, No. 259, London, and was nominated by them as a Grand Steward and appointed a Grand Officer in 2005.

Freemasonry brought Michael to the notice of Lord Northampton, who invited him to become a trustee of the Canonbury Masonic Research Centre, which he was setting up as a focus for research into the more esoteric aspects of Freemasonry. Equally, Michael became involved in and greatly shaped the early years of the Cornerstone Society, which Lord Northampton had established as a forum for those interested in exploring the deeper meanings of the ritual. When the Orator Scheme was being discussed in 2006, Michael was the obvious candidate to draft the early Orations.

Leading from the front

When Michael became editor of Freemasonry Today it was still ‘the independent voice of Freemasonry’. He greatly extended its coverage beyond the Craft and Royal Arch and attracted a new audience to the magazine, including a growing number of non-masons. He not only sought out contributors and edited their pieces but was responsible for the page design and seeing the magazine through the presses. He employed his old talents and provided many of the photographs that illustrated the content. It was something of a departure for him when in 2007 the magazine merged with Grand Lodge’s then house organ, MQ Magazine, to become the Craft’s official journal. Yet he rose to the occasion and continued to produce a magazine that combined news with interesting, and sometimes challenging, articles.

Michael would have been the first to acknowledge that his work fell outside the normal run of academic historical research, but he believed completely in what he did. He was not writing for other academics but for the general reader, and he had a loyal following. Whether he worked on his own or with Lincoln and Leigh, Michael’s writing was never ignored and always provoked discussion – which is all any writer seeks.

His last years were, sadly, marked by increasing ill health, including an initially successful liver transplant, and financial problems caused by the unsuccessful case he and Leigh took against the novelist Dan Brown’s publisher, claiming that Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code was both a plagiarism and infringed the copyright of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. A gentle, courteous man, Michael was always a pleasure to meet and talk to and will be greatly missed by many. Our thoughts go out to his wife, daughters and stepson and stepdaughter.

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Original article can be found here