Bristol Masonic Society Province of Bristol

The Bristol Masonic Society - Inauguration
The Founding President of the Society was Dr Ernest Henry Cook DSc, JP, a distinguished Analytical Chemist and College Lecturer - one of the founders of the University of Bristol and a future Lord Mayor; he was to receive a knighthood in 1923 for his work as an educationalist.

He was also a highly respected freemason and from 1932 to 1941 the Craft in Bristol was to flourish under his leadership as Provincial Grand Master. His Inaugural Address to the Bristol Masonic Society on 5th October 1917 included the following inspirational passage:

'The active Masonic life of the ordinary man is a very short one. He comes into our meetings in much the same way as a bird flies from the blackness of the night into an illuminated building. He flutters about in our lodge room in his gay plumage for a few years, and then his place knows him no more. He returns to the darkness whence he came. But I sincerely trust not the same person. His mind has been awakened, his outlook on life altered. The poor and the outcast he now knows, may have as pure a soul as he himself, and certainly has the same inheritance in the Grand Lodge above. If he has really imbibed the true principles of Masonry, the deadening influence of self in all his former actions will have departed. He will have found that duty which before was irksome, is now a pleasure. Surely death has no terrors for the sincere mason, his contemplation of the future is both easy and pleasant, and the declining years of life become, notwithstanding the physical deterioration which ac company them but a foretaste of the joys which await him hereafter.

Brethren, we have finished our building. To the best of our ability the stones are well and truly laid, and the cement of human kindness cover the whole. But "except the Lord build the House his labour is in vain, that buildeth." Let us then with due reverence invoke the blessing of T.G.A.O.T.U. upon this our new venture, and start it upon its career with the hope and assurance that it will in time to come be an unending source of enjoyment and instruction for our brethren, and a centre for the propagation of those great masonic principles which are destined to play so mighty a part in the future betterment of mankind.'
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