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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

1925: Freemasons Held World's Largest Banquet

Freemasons used to do things very big indeed. 

Silent documentary film footage appears on the British Pathe website of a massive Festive Board - deemed the world's largest banquet at that time -  held by UGLE Freemasons in London in 1925. 

From the description:

The world's largest banquet. 5 miles of tables, and 1300 waitresses needed to look after this great party of 8000 Freemasons. Olympia, London. 
[Long shot] of the vast hall full of people stood up, they all sit down at the long tables and unfold their napkins, the camera pans across them. [Medium shot] as the waitresses walk up and down the rows serving food, the camera pans across them. [Medium shot]  of the banquet, they chat while eating. Various shots as the waitresses carry on serving the men.

A longer description of this record-setting banquet appeared in an article in Freemasonry Today from July 9th, 2015:
The event was in aid of the Masonic Million Memorial Fund which raised money to build our beautiful Freemasons' Hall in London. 
The historic lunch was held on Saturday 8th August 1925 at Olympia. Special trains were laid on to transport the over 7,000 members to the venue, who dined on five courses and coffee, served by 1,250 waitresses in just over an hour!  
Five miles of tables were laid with 50,000 plates, 30,000 glasses, 30,000 knives, 37,000 forks and 15,000 spoons. The assembled enjoyed salmon, lamb, chicken garnished with tongue and York ham.  
A central conning tower was erected in the gallery which was fitted with electrical signalling devices for the caterers to supervise the event. There was also a loudspeaker system with amplifiers that allowed all the diners to hear the speeches clearly. Music was provided by the band of the Welsh Guards.  
Books of matches were issued at the end of the meal, featuring an image of the event jewel on one side and the coat of arms of the United Grand Lodge of England on the reverse. Cigars and cigarettes packed in specially designed cases were also distributed.

1 comment:

  1. It would be very cool to find a cigar case or matchbook from this event.

    Does anyone know of good places to look for UGLE antiques?


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