Yorkshire Freemasons have reaffirmed their longstanding commitment to Harrogate by continuing to stage their annual meeting in the spa town into the next decade.
The Province of Yorkshire West Riding has signed a five-year contract with Harrogate Borough Council to hold its Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting in the Royal Hall, whilst also booking the Majestic Hotel for the next three years for its annual post-meeting celebration dinner.
Traditionally held on the first Tuesday in May, the annual meeting sees almost a thousand Freemasons from across the Province’s geographical area – south Yorkshire, west Yorkshire and parts of north and east Yorkshire - and further afield heading to Harrogate for the ceremony and dinner.
Provincial Grand Master, David Pratt said: “Both the Royal Hall and The Majestic Hotel have become synonymous with our annual gatherings, and I’m delighted that this is set to continue. In previous years, Provincial Grand Lodge meetings were also held at the Majestic Hotel in addition to the Royal Hall.
“The proximity of the pair to each other is another qualifying feature, as is the fact they are located in the town centre and can cater for the number of masons that attend each and every year.”
Paula Lorimer, director of Harrogate Convention Centre, said: “What fantastic news that the Freemasons are to continue their long and historic partnership with the Royal Hall. The new five-year contract is a huge vote of confidence in the venue’s facilities and team.
“The Royal Hall and its neighbour, The Majestic, are an ideal home for prestigious events like the Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting. We look forward to welcoming The Yorkshire Freemasons back to Harrogate next year.”
Matthew Hole, general manager of the Majestic Hotel – which is undergoing a major £15m refurbishment - said: “For many years it’s been our pleasure to host the Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s annual celebration dinner.
“Since first opening our doors more than 100 years ago, The Majestic Hotel has been the setting for many Masonic functions, in particular ‘ladies’ nights’.
“We are the only hotel in the town centre that can cater for parties of this scale in one room, and this is where we come into our own. We are very much looking forward to continuing our relationship with the Freemasons over the years to come.”
Whilst the first occasion the Royal Hall hosted the fraternity’s annual meeting was in 1937, its masonic links go back to the hall’s origins, including local benefactor, industrialist Samson Fox, and designers Robert Beale and Frank Matcham, who were all Freemasons.
Additionally, Julian Clifford, the Royal Hall’s musical director for many years, and Alderman David Simpson, four times Mayor of Harrogate, who laid the foundation stone in 1902, were also members of the fraternity.
Pic shows L-R: Mathew Hole, General Manger of the Majestic; Provincial Grand Master, David Pratt; Harrogate Convention Centre director, Paula Lorimer.