The Hall Stone Jewel and the Masonic Million Memorial Fund
As every copy of the Lodge Summons makes clear, Thomas Ralling Lodge is a ‘Hall Stone Lodge’, and at each Installation Meeting the Hall Stone Jewel is transferred by the outgoing Master to his successor. The symbolism of the jewel is explained in the address with which it is presented, but the way in which certain Lodges became entitled to the jewel is not normally explained.
The origins go back to just after the end of the Great War, for it was in 1919 that H R H The Duke of Connaught, as Grand Master, in a message to the Especial Grand Lodge held at the Royal Albert Hall on June 27th for the celebration of Peace, expressed an earnest hope that the Craft, “as a fitting sequel to the proceedings, would determine to create a perpetual Memorial of its gratitude to Almighty God, for the special blessings He had been pleased to confer upon us, both as Englishmen and as Masons, whereby we can render fitting honour to the many brethren who fell during the War.” “The great and continued growth of Freemasonry amongst us demands a central Home,” His Royal Highness added , and suggested that the most fitting Masonic Peace Memorial would be “the erection of that Home in the metropolis of the Empire, dedicated to the Most High, and worthy of the traditions of the United Grand Lodge of England.”
A Fund was set up to which contributions were invited from Lodges and individual brethren, and in July 1920 the Lodge voted to subscribe ten guineas a year for five years, and in May 1925 a further fifty guineas was approved. The Master in 1925, W Bro William Bate, expressed a wish that the Lodge should qualify as a Hall Stone Lodge as soon as possible, and a further 322 guineas was immediately promised by the brethren to add to the £126 already paid. By 25th May 1929 it was reported that only 25 guineas remained to be collected before the Hall Stone Jewel could be presented , and on the 4th of September at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge the Master, W Bro Raymond Belgrove, received the Hall Stone Collarette and Medal from the Grand Master.
In 1936 there was a further appeal by Grand Lodge for contributions to a fund to meet the deficit of £50,000 needed forfurnishings and equipment for the Peace Memorial Building, and by the eventual closure of the Fund in 1940 a further £685 was subscribed by the Lodge.