After nearly 14 years of somewhat uncertainty the Masonic Memorial Garden at the National Memorial Arboretum has recently taken several very positive steps towards achieving its completion.

The original scheme designed in 2001 has had many voluntary revisions, has been subject to imposed changes and even to enforced prolonged delays.

However our latest proposal has now received approval from the Memorials Advisory Committee at the N.M.A., the Lichfield D.C. Planning Committee and even more crucially our own quantity surveyors in their calculation of the projects overall anticipated cost.

The raising of the funds necessary to finance the project has also taken a massive step forward with U.G.L.E. underwriting a major part of the projects cost to enable it to be completed by 2017 to coincide with the Tercentenary celebration of Grand Lodge. 

The construction timetable has seen the piling and reinforced ground beams installed before the end of January 2016. Following this we have undertaken the ground works and site substructures to enable the stonemasons to undertake the superstructure in the summer of 2016. The cutting of the stone sections at the quarry and also the “turning” of the cylindrical columns have been ordered to enable this timescale to be achieved.

The final scheme continues the theme of using natural materials in its construction. The various textures and colours of the natural stone has been selected to emphasise the different aspects of construction and the symbolism and historical base of Freemasonry, the stonework being a smooth buff sandstone with the columns constructed in Cotswold Gold Limestone. Hopefully this will highlight the different colour of the columns against the buff stone walls.

The square and compasses are to be carved on the stone wall on site.

The paving is in a predominately blue coloured sawn natural stone, with intermittent brass strips after the third, eighth and fifteenth row. 

The grassed area within the garden is being removed and replaced with permeable limestone hardcore, a geotextile layer upon which will be Cotswold aggregate. This will remove the necessity for any mowing equipment to enter the inner garden area and provide a permeable surface for water drainage. 

There are several other details not shown on the artistic illustration and their significance will we are sure be relevant to freemasons and add those final pieces to the project which will make our Masonic Memorial Garden a memorial for which all freemasons can be justly proud.

We are still striving to raise sufficient funds locally in order to meet the total overall cost of the development but we are sure that with the generosity of our members and that of our neighbouring provinces this will be achieved.

The Masonic Memorial Garden was completed for our usual remembrance service held on site on the 11th November 2016.

An official opening and luncheon took place on the 18th April 2017 as part of the Tercentenary celebrations of Grand Lodge.

Picture key... Click on the thumbnails for a full view
1 - Excavation to form piling matt.
2 - Preparing to sink the first pile - 6000mm deep to solid ground.
3 - Reinforcement for ground beams on top of pile caps.
4 - Excavate grassed area and laying permeable stone and geotextile fabric.
5 & 6 - Foundation walls built to carry stone walls and columns.
7 - Cotswold chippings to garden area.
8 - Kerbs and Cotswold chippings, with bark mulch to surrounding hedge.
9 - Stonemasons at work
10 - External paving being laid
11 - Wilf Burt - Stonemason
12 - Pro Grand Master at the dedication