The May association meeting was brought forward to the last Day of April which saw some of the members spending a lovely day visiting Port Sunlight Village on the Wirral. It was indeed a day in the sunlight as the weather was perfect for visiting such a splendid setting with its superb gardens, museum and of special interest the Lady Leverhulme art Gallery.
The village was built in the early 1900’s by Viscount Lord Leverhulme, philanthropist, ‘soap king’ and Freemason. He was one of the most successful UK businessmen who created the first global company to be established here. His strict upbringing and benevolent attitude to those around him helped create Lever Brothers which specialised in producing soap products. He created the Port Sunlight village to house and educate his workers at a time when many others gave scant regard to the welfare of its employees.
Leverhulme was kept equally busy in his Masonic activities going on to attain high Grand Rank in both the Craft as well as The Mark Degree. He loved art and part of his collection includes many fine and rare Masonic pieces.
Upon arrival the brethren accompanied by their good ladies met with President Allan Shields and then had a coffee in the museum cafe before taking a tour of the museum, one of the houses and watching a 20 minute film show which gave a very informative summary of Leverhulme’s upbringing and the story behind how he formed Lever Brothers.
A most enjoyable light lunch was taken in the art gallery cafe. A hearty serving of ‘Scouse’ was enjoyed by those who wanted to try some traditional Liverpool local cuisine. Leverhulme built the gallery in memory of his late wife after whom it was named. It contained his large collection of art which he wanted to make available for everyone to share.
The gallery was later to be the home to lodge meetings in a room which had a secret entrance used when candidates were being initiated. It was also to house Leverhulme’s Masonic collection which includes regalia, jewels, and ceramics.
While much the Masonic collection is on public view some is currently being collated and prepared by curator David Moffat, who was on hand to show the members of MAMR some of the treasures.
They were able to view old manuscripts, aprons, collars as well as charging glasses and ceramics. An hour was spent looking at these wonderful artefacts that at the moment are not on public view a rare opportunity for research for which Dave was thanked.
For a great day out,a visit to Port Sunlight is well recommended by MAMR.
Visit: http://portsunlightvillage.com/ for more information.The full story of the incredible business and Masonic life of Leverhulme will be published in the 2019 transactions: ‘Soap Powder and Freemasonry’ by the current MAMR President AM Shields.