Our Secretary, Mike, is a very unassuming sort of fellow. You rarely hear him say much about himself and he isn’t the sort of person to blow his own trumpet and so I felt that I should do that on his behalf.
Among his many attributes, he is extremely knowledgeable about the Craft and Chapter and presents many well researched and interesting lectures including Rugby and Freemasonry and Football and Freemasonry including the connections between Freemasonry and the World Cup-winning squad in 1966. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Chapter related and is always a mine of information when you want to find out what some of those words or phrases actually mean.
You very rarely hear from Mike that he was heavily involved in the creation of the Isle of Man commemorative Stamp collections issued to mark the Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England 1717 – 2017. For the full story, you can follow this link which explains the whole story in detail. We were more than delighted that Mike’s involvement meant that the Lodge would be immortalised in the philatelic world (at least) by the mention of the Petts Wood Lodge 5435 name actually printed on one of the stamps. We were extremely lucky to have a mention as let’s face it, Mike actually did all of the work.
Each stamp in a set of six had a Lodge number printed on to it together with other specific information some only visible under Ultra Violet light! The main influences on the design of the stamps were the Collar Jewels worn by Officers within the Lodge and the lapis lazuli blue and gold that are ever-present in Craft Lodges, regalia, and decorations.
Each stamp has a geometric pattern worked into the background. The designers were influenced by the stunning Art Deco architecture at Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street, which is reflected in many other Masonic buildings.
Each stamp also bears the name of a Lodge in small lettering. The Lodges chosen, in the Isle of Man, Kent, London, Bristol and Aylesbury, all have significance to Freemasonry, a Masonic journey or to those who assisted in bringing the stamps to fruition.
Each stamp also bears a GPS reference to mark a location important to Freemasonry. Taking the numbers at the top of the stamp and entering them into Google Maps will take you to these places, which include the Grand Master’s throne in the main temple at Freemasons’ Hall, London and the centre of the Masonic Garden of Remembrance at the National Arboretum and Air Ambulances (see below).
Specifically, of interest to us, is the highest denomination stamp at £3.40 which depicts the Worshipful Master’s Collar Jewel, the Square, and our Lodge Name and number, ‘Petts Wood 5435’. On this stamp there are three very special GPS references; the landing pads of the Air Ambulances at Caernarfon, Wales (G-WASS), RAF Benson Thames Valley (G-TVAL) and London, (G-LNDN). This symbolic reference to the results of charitable giving honours Freemasons, who have donated millions of pounds to these causes.
We are, of course, delighted to have been included in this singular honour but, of course, it is our Secretary, Mike, that deserves the kudos in this case. As the story in the Link explains, he had a big part in the project to bring these magnificent stamps from inception to issue.
There’s even more to the story as the Isle of Man Post Office produced a coin to mark the Tercentenary. Designed by the same people who created the stamps, it is a solid token by which to remember an important and enjoyable year in our history. Only 300 of these have been struck bearing the Tercentenary logo.
If you look closely on the limited edition coin (on the right) you’ll see the initials MBMC17 under the right-hand side of the square – the initials stand for Mike Baker Maxine Cannon 17. Maxine was the Head of Stamps and Collectibles at Isle of Man Post Office. Mike Baker, is, of course, our hard-working Secretary who hides his light under a Bushell.
Our grateful thanks to Ben Glazier, the designer for much of the content, and for the images from his website. Do please visit his website and read about all of the stamps and the design notes behind each.