The Royal Agricultural University hosts the Grand Officers Mess
The Grand Officers Mess for Freemasonry in Gloucestershire took place this year in the sumptuous setting of the main dining hall of the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.
It is an opportunity for senior Freemasons to get together for a social occasion, inviting guests who have made a significant contribution over the year. The evening was opened by the head of Freemasonry in Gloucestershire, Tim Henderson-Ross, and by the President of the Grand Officers’ Mess.
Those present were treated by a fascinating talk on Concorde by Lindsey Henniker-Heaton, a Senior Design Engineer who became quite misty-eyed when reminiscing about the iconic aircraft which has such a strong local connection. He was probably not the only one however (please also see news article ‘Concorde- a Supersonic Love Affair’).
The venue was the Main Dining Hall of the Royal Agricultural University. Students use the Dining hall every day. In past years students always dressed for dinner (jacket, collar and tie) and dinner was served by waiters under the direction of a Senior Maitre D. These days dressing for dinner is not required unless it is a special formal event.
The names round the walls are of students who were awarded the College Diploma or MRAC (Member of the Royal Agricultural College). This was awarded to students who had achieved significant merit in their College course in the particular year. Those who gained Distinction in their studies had their first initial posted in red.
The first Diplomates were awarded in 1847 – two years after the College opened.
It was built as an Agricultural College, and not a re-purposed building. Placed in the span of the brackets supporting the ceiling of the dining hall are shields bearing the coat of arms of the benefactors to the College to establish it as the first Agricultural College in the English speaking world.
There are two exact copies of the main building – at the University of Guelph in Canada, and at a University in New Zealand.
The dinner was what might be expected of one of the leading agricultural educational establishments: absolutely first class!
To go to the website for the Royal Agricultural University please click on the link below.
We thank Andy Fautley for the photographs of the evening and Nigel Bridges for the information on the University.