Worcestershire Masonic Library and Museum Catalogue:About
In August 1884, an enterprising Mason from Kidderminster named George Taylor organised a Masonic exhibition at the Guildhall, Worcester, under the joint sponsorship of the then Provincial Grand Master, Sir Edmund Lechmere, Bart., and the Mayor of Worcester, Mr W. B. Williamson, who was also a member of Lodge Semper Fidelis. This was the first exhibition mounted in the Midlands and it attracted interest from all over the country, with over 1,000 exhibits loaned by England's leading collectors, approximately 100 of which were were drawn from Bro. Taylor's own collection of memorabilia. The display made such an impression that shortly afterwards the Province negotiated to buy Bro. Taylor's entire collection, which he generously sold at cost price. Such was the origin and nucleus of the museum.
Our Library is a very well-endowed facility to be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the history of Freemasonry. Our large antiquarian stock includes early editions of nearly every printed exposure of the mid-18th century, without which our knowledge of early English Freemasonry would be far less complete, and five old manuscripts, three of which are among the earliest surviving versions of the Ancient Charges: the Wood, Inigo Jones and Lechmere.
Our exhibits include a selection of engraved glass, much of it from the 19th century, and almost all of it very attractive to the layman, as well as of interest to the Mason. We also have a very large display of ceramics, including jugs, dishes and tankards, many of which are decorated with Masonic symbols and date from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. We have many masonic curiosities, including trivets, horse-brasses, meerschaum pipes, unusual gavels and other such Masonic bric-a-brac. Our curators have assembled a remarkable collection of historic medals and jewels, covering the Craft and Royal Arch, and a very large group of more modern jewels pertaining to Worcestershire Lodges and Chapters. There are several items of antique regalia, including pictorial and hand-painted aprons, some dating from 18th century France, together with a number of unusual items of Lodge furniture.
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This website takes the form of a wiki and contains the catalogue of the Worcestershire Masonic Library and Museum, which is housed at Worcester Masonic Centre.
The first catalogue appeared in 1891, jointly compiled by George Taylor and the famous Masonic scholar William James Hughan, and it is still an invaluable work of reference. It shows that some of our most interesting exhibits go back to the Taylor inheritance, including the original Hogart Grand Stewards Jewel, two of our antique manuscripts and various other treasures. Since then, the Museum has grown steadily thanks to generous benefactions by Worcestershire Masons, as well as judicious purchases made from time to time, the most notable of these was the Shackles Collection, an internationally renowned assemblage of Masonic medals from continental Europe and elsewhere, which the Province acquired in the 1920s.
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