In the heart of Manchester, where the echoes of history intertwined with the modern bustle of the city, stands Manchester Hall an architectural marvel that bore witness to the secrets of centuries. On a brisk November evening, the members of the Lodge of Silent Temple number 126 gathered for a meeting that promised tradition and mystery.
That evening, the Lodge of Silent Temple Number 126 was joined by the Manchester Level Club (MLC), a club formed to help newly made Brethren understand more about Freemasonry, to hold a meeting where newly made Masons could attend an explanation/demonstration of the First-Degree Tracing Board, helping them in Masonic journey.
The Lodge of Silent Temple Number is one of our province’s earliest established lodges and is renowned for its esoteric rituals, allowing younger brethren to widen their Masonic knowledge.
In attendance for the meeting was WBro Paul OCarroll, who recently was made an Assistant Provincial Grand Master (APGM) and is responsible for the City East Area in the Province of East Lancashire.
The Worshipful Master (WM) WBro Mark Davis opened the Lodge in due form, and the minutes from the last meeting previously circulated were approved. The WM then proposed a ballot to permanently change the regular meeting dates, seconded by the APGM WBro Paul OCarroll.
The following business was to elect the new WM for the ensuing year. The Lodge members elected WBro. Paul OCarroll as master elect and Bro. Hiten Patel as Treasurer. The Almoner had nothing to report, so the WM. called the Lodge off (temporary closure of formal business) to allow the MLC to give the lecture everyone was looking forward to hearing.
The District Chairman, WBro Ed Beaman, the Deputy Area Chairman, WBro Fraser Mullins, the Area Secretary, the Communications Officer, WBro Darren Fletcher and WBro Harold Cooper, the Provincial Grand Senior Warden, attended the evening.
During this fascinating and mystical lecture, the members of the Level Club gave an inciteful explanation of the First-Degree Tracing Board, an essential part of lodge furniture. Sometimes displayed flat on the floor, and sometimes vertically against a pedestal.
The Tracing Board. is a printed illustration portraying the varioussymbols of Freemasonry. They are used during the ritual of each of theMasonic Degrees when an experienced member explains the various principles of Freemasonry to new members and as reminders of the concepts of the ceremony itself.
In the early days, Freemasons were operative builders, and the tracing boards were used to draw or calculate the design of an intended building. Nowadays, it is used as an allegorical illustration of the mysteries of the degree.
Every Lodge places the T.B. in different places according to their custom and uses them to give newer brethren a chance to start to learn more about them.
In every journey, each Brother needs help from the more experienced members, which happened on the 28th of November when the MLC gave a presentation to remember many new members.
The event would not have been possible without WBro Daviss efforts, as he helped the MLC to enjoy their experience, but also to WBro Philip Titterton, the new Mentor of the Area, who also helped by imparting his wealth of knowledge. The brethren involved in the presentation were Bros. Poole, Steciuk, Gallacher, Mills, Berry and Davies, and last but not least, the three commentators who produced this Explanation of the Tracing Boards: Bro Patel MLC chairman, Bro. Garner stepped in as Junior Deacon, and Bro. Toto stepped in as Senior Deacon at the last minute.
After the explanation ended, WBro Davis called on the Lodge again. The evening was a success in raising monies for the 2026 Festival Appeal, with 108.65 collected from the Alms plate and 230 from the raffle.
WBro Davis, with the assistance of his Wardens, closed the Lodge before going to the Social board, where all the brethren enjoyed a night of brotherhood and friendship with good food and wine.
Freemasonry isnt just about rituals; it is a way of living that gets under a Brothers skin, reaching his heart and becoming an essential part of his life.
Story by Bro Francesco Toto