Victorian London - Directories - Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr., 1879 - "Freemasonry"

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Freemasonry. — The head quarters of English Freemasonry are at the Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen-street, in Lincoln’s-inn, where are the offices of Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter, and where also the meetings of those two great governing bodies of Freemasonry take place. Grand Festival, on which day Grand Lodge meets for the appointment and investment of officers, takes place on the last Wednesday in April. It is impossible to give here the very long list of London lodges and chapters, with their places of meeting, but information on those and many other points will be found in the fullest detail in the “Freemasons’ Calendar and Pocket Book,” published annually at Spencer’s Masonic Depot, 23a, Great Queen-street, under the sanction of Grand Lodge. Among the most popular places of meeting for metropolitan lodges, besides the Freemasons’ Hall and Tavern, may be mentioned the Ship and Turtle, Leadenhall - Street;  Anderton’s Hotel, Fleet-street ; the Cafe Royal, Regent-street; the Inns of Court Hotel; and the Albion Tavern in Aldersgate-street. The three great masonic charities are as follows: The Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, St. John’s-hill, Battersea . rise, S.W. (office, 5, Freemasons’ Hall), for maintaining, clothing, and educating the daughters of Freemasons. Children are admitted at the age of 8 years, and continue until the age of 16. The general committee meets on the last Thursday in every month at Freemasons Hall, and the house committee at the institution on the last Thursday but one. All particulars as to mode of application for admission, &c., may be had at the office. The Royal Masonic Institution for Boys is at Wood Green, N., and the office is at 6, Freemasons’ Hall. The same limits as to age obtain with the boys as with the girls. The general committee meets at Freemasons’ Hall on the first Saturday in every month, and the house committee at the institution on the last Friday but one. All particulars may be had at the office. Both for the boys’ and the girls’ schools the voting privileges of subscribers are as follows:  £1 1s. gives a vote for each election; £5 5s. a vote for life; £10 10s. two votes for life, and three votes if given when serving stewardship, and four additional votes for every subsequent stewardship with similar donation; £52 10s. gives ten votes for life , and £105 will buy thirty votes for life. The arrangements for votes to subscribing lodges are a little different, but are also on a liberal scale. The Benevolent Institution for Aged Freemasons and Widows of Free masons is at Croydon, with a office at 4, Freemasons’ Hall. No brother is admitted under sixty years of age, nor unless he has been a registered Mason for fifteen years. He must also, unless excused by special circumstances, have subscribed for ten years. An income of £40 a year disqualifies for election. A widow must be 55 years of age before she is eligible, her husband must have subscribed for ten years, and she must have been his wife for five. An income of £30 a year disqualifies. The general committee meet at the Freemasons Hall on the second Wednesday, and the house committee at Croydon on the last day of February, May, August, and November. Here, as in the case of the schools, the voting privileges are regulated by the amount of subscriptions, either for individuals or lodges. It may be added that all the Masonic charities are exceptionally well administered, and that the education given to the children is of a very superior class. Among  periodicals of special interest to Freemasons may be mentioned the Freemason, published at 198, Fleet-street.
The best houses in London for masonic clothing and jewellery, lodge furniture &c whether craft, royal arch, mark, or any other variety of the institution, are Brother Spencer’s, 23a, Great Queen-street, opposite the hall, and Brother Kenning’s, Little Britain, and 198, Fleet-street; and students of the various rituals desirous of obtaining legitimate assistance, can obtain it either in a literary form or otherwise by application to either of these houses, or at 15a. Cheapside.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879