The historic Manchester Hall was adorned with anticipation and reverence in the heart of Manchester. With its opulent decor and timeless architecture, the grand hall set the perfect stage for a significant event in the Masonic calendar: the installation meeting of the Lodge of Silent Temple No. 126, one of the oldest lodges in the province.

The lodge of Silent Temple No.126 was based initially in Burnley way back before UGLE was formed, steeped in a vibrant, rich history which was looking to hand back its warrant but was repurposed under the leadership of WBro Mark Davis and the L & D committee, and now serves as a Learning and Development lodge aimed at light blues but is open to all masons.

Bull Hotel, Manchester Road, Burnley, Lancashire, England, one of the meeting places for Lodge of Silent Temple they met there around 1886

Amidst the brethren, their regalia shimmering under the hall’s soft, golden lights stood a figure of prominence. WBro Paul O’Carroll, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master (APGM) for City East, was the Master Elect for the esteemed Chair of King Solomon. This honour, symbolising wisdom, leadership, and tradition in Freemasonry, was a testament to his dedication and service.

A hush fell over the assembly as the clock struck the appointed hour to tyle the lodge. The installation ceremony began with the outgoing Worshipful Master WBro. Mark Davis (The previous City East APGM) opened the lodge with precision and grace and was Assisted by The Director of Ceremonies (WBro. Jo Glass)

WBro Paul O’Carroll, resplendent in his Masonic attire, was not just a participant but a key figure in the ceremony. He was presented to the Installing Master by his son, Bro Oliver O’Carroll, who proudly placed his father in the middle of the lodge for him to renew his obligations as a master elect. This moment truly showcased his dedication and service to our Masonic community.

WBro Mark Davis then skilfully completed the installation and presented the Worshipful Master’s collar, jewel, and a beautifully appointed top hat to restore an old tradition to the lodge.

Lodge visitors and Members of 126

With a steady hand, he placed WBro O’Carroll into the Chair of King Solomon. This seat signifies leadership and embodies the timeless principles of Freemasonry, a testament to the depth of our traditions.

It was now up to WBro O’Carroll’s son, Bro Oliver O’Carroll, to deliver a heartfelt address to the Master in any installation. It is considered an honour to provide the address, but this was even more poignant for Oliver as he was proudly addressing it to his dad.

The rest of the officers for the year were put into post, and then Bro Hiten Patel delivered a sublime address to the wardens.

The acting officers took their posts within the lodge one by one. After that, it was the turn of the newly Installed Master to deliver the Address to the Brethren. Still overflowing with emotion from his son’s address, WBro O’Carroll delivered his address to the brethren and completed the lodge business, where it was announced that more members would be joining the lodge in the future.

Following the formalities, the brethren adjourned to the dining hall for the convivial social board. In this cherished Masonic tradition, members gathered to share a meal, engage in fellowship and celebrate their bonds. The tables were adorned with fine linens and sparkling glassware, reflecting the warm glow of the chandeliers overhead.

The atmosphere was lively, filled with laughter and conversation as the members enjoyed a sumptuous meal. Toasts were proposed, honouring the newly installed Worshipful Master and the enduring spirit of Freemasonry. Traditional Masonic songs were sung, melodies echoing through the hall and adding to the festive mood.

During the evening, an esteemed member rose to deliver the “10 o’clock Toast,” a brief history of the Lodge of Silent Temple No. 126. The brethren listened intently as he recounted the lodge’s origins, tracing them back to the late 17th century. He spoke of the lodge’s founding principles and commitment to brotherly love, relief, and truth.

The lodge’s journey through the years was highlighted, including its notable achievements and the contributions of its distinguished members. The brethren were reminded of the lodge’s role in fostering personal development, community service, and the enduring values of Freemasonry. The history was a testament to the lodge’s resilience and ability to adapt and thrive through changing times.

As the evening ended, the brethren departed with a renewed sense of purpose and camaraderie. Paul O’Carroll’s installation as the Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Silent Temple No. 126 was a fabulous event that reaffirmed the lodge’s enduring legacy.

The convivial social board and the historical reflections added meaning to the night’s proceedings, reinforcing the bonds of brotherhood that unite Freemasons across generations.

The Lodge of Silent Temple No. 126, with its rich history and commitment to Masonic ideals, stood poised to continue its journey, guided by the wisdom and leadership of its new Master, WBro Paul O Carroll.