Laying a Foundation Stone

Freemasonry was very much in the public eye in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Reports of great Masonic occasions and local lodge meetings appeared in the national and local press. Two weekly Masonic newspapers, providing reports of meetings, comments on Grand Lodge affairs, Masonic news and historical items, were readily available at newsagents and station bookstalls. Freemasons were also very visible. Processions celebrating national or local events would automatically include representatives of the local Lodges in their regalia. The foundation stones of churches, Civic buildings, bridges and other public structures were often laid with Masonic ceremonial in full view of the local inhabitants. The event was usually preceded and followed by a procession around the town. HRH Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, laid many foundation stones, both at home and abroad during his period as Grand Master, 1874-1901. He is seen here at Truro Cathedral in 1880.