The derrick
associated with the Junior warden


QUESTION : How and why the derrick come to be associated with the senior Warden and be placed on his pedestal ? Answer : In one lodge room the pedestals have only the columns and pillars - (on the Master’s the V.S.L.). In the centre of the room was a 16-foot table, on wich were the derrick supporting a smooth ashlar, two globes and various others items. The members sat round this table during the lodge meeting ; and, when the Lodge was closed, the old phrase : " Put away our W.Ts. and Jewels " became an actuality, for all on the table was locked away in the Lodge cupboard - " a safe and sacred repository " - after which the table was used for dining and the festive board. What more certain than that, when pressure of numbers became too great for comfort, the table was removed and the furniture disposed around the Lodge room. The derrick, whit its suspended smooth ashlar, would go to the S.W.’s pedestal, as being the most appropriate place.

It is well, however, not to be too dogmatic, as many of the old Lancashire Lodges have elaborate derricks of varying places ont the east side of the pavement, suspended sometimes the rough ans sometimes the smooth ashlar, as the occasion may warrant.

It is likely that the tripod or derrick was introduced to illustrate the pratical use of the lewis, than that it came in merely as ornament.

Where Lodges meet on their own premises and the ashlars are size models of ten or twelve inches side, the tripod is usually some five or six feet in height, and is placed in the south-west, sufficient far towards the centre of the room to leave space for the Deacons and candidate to pass outside in their perambulations. In those Lodges the rough ashlar lies on the floor in front of the Junior Warden’s pedestal.

But where, as in so many London lodges, the appurtenances have to be packed away in a box after each meeting, the necessary tiny ashlar were placed on the Warden’s pedestals, the rough ashlar being given to the Junior Warden and the perfect ashlar to the senior Warden. When the tripod was intoduced in such Lodges it had necessity to be very much in miniature, and it, like the ashlar previously, xas placed on the pedestal.

It should be notes that the tripod, althought it had come intoe use - in London Lodges at any rate - before the Union, is by no means ubiquitous. Thus, in Manhester neither it nor the lewis is in evidence, the ashlars (fairly large ones) lying in the north-east ans south-east corners of the small area of tesselated pavement in the middle of the floor. Nor is there a tripod in Bristol, where the stones are placed on the easterly corners of the low table that supports the Tracing Boards.

Other Texts