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The Masonic Hall Radlett harbours the Radlett Cork Lodge, one of several independent Cork Lodges derived from Scottish tradition who, in 2012, formed the ‘Grand Fleet of Cork Lodges’. Some of the older Lodges have histories originating without reference to the ‘Great Board of Corks’, and may properly be considered independent of that body.

Lodges associated with the Grand Fleet of Independent Cork Lodges:

Radlett Cork Lodge - Hertfordshire

Itchen Cork Lodge - Hampshire

Nelson Cork Lodge - Beaconsfield, Bucks

Wantsum Cork Lodge - Broadstairs,Kent

Floating Corks of Devonshire - Devon

Wildfire Cork Lodge - Kent

Bristol Citte - Bristol

Milton Keynes Cork - Buckinghamshire

Brayford Cork - Lincolnshire

‘The Cork’ as it is universally and informally well known, is described as a ‘fun degree’; allied to Freemasonry although not formally recognised by any Grand Lodge. The earliest records, manuscripts, and regalia are held by the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, although the origins of the Degree are unknown. Before the Second World War there are various references to English Mark Lodges working the Cork degree at dinner after their formal Mark meeting. A body known as the ‘Great Board of Corks’, presided over by the Great Admiral and consisting of senior Grand Officers of Mark Grand Lodge, controlled the Cork Degree for many years, but fell into abeyance. By 2002 it had been revived, with at least one surviving member of the original Great Board. Additionally, at least one Board of Corks under the authority of the Great Board, has survived the passage of time. English bodies styling themselves as a 'Board of Corks' fall under the jurisdiction of this Board.

Boards authorised by the Great Board of Corks:

The Alt Board of Corks No.1,
Ormskirk

The Isis Board of Corks No.2,
Oxford

The Wenning Board of Corks No.3,
Morecambe

The Fleet Board of Corks No.4,
London

The Dee Board of Corks No.5,
Chester

The Serpentine Board of Corks No.6,
London

The Wyre Board of Corks No.7,
Blackpool

The Croal Board of Corks No.8,
Bolton

The Estuary Board of Corks No.9,
Shenfield

The name is derived from the organization's emblem of a cork with a corkscrew inserted at an angle. The principle aim of The Cork is is to raise money preferably for children's charities with no deductions being being made for administrative expences. The ritual, being based in the era of Noah and the ‘Great Flood’, is satirical and is distinctly nautical in form with the Officers, who roughly equate to the Officers of Craft Lodge, all having naval titles.

Officers of the Radlett Cork Lodge:

Rather Worshipful Admiral

Uncommonly Worshipful Mate

Highly Worshipful Purser

Hardly Worshipful Lookout

Nearly Rather Worshipful Vice Admiral

Undoubtedly Ship's Writer

Little Less Worshipful Doctor

Barely Worshipful Cook

Mainly Worshipful Bosun

Particularly Worthy Screw

Almost Worthy Carpenter

Particularly Worthy Shipmate

The Radlett Cork Lodge meets twice a year on Saturday afternoons near to the autumnal and vernal equinox. Meetings tend to be high spirited, boisterous affairs with the initiation ceremony taking precedence. The festivities which follow may be a three-course meal such as sausage, beans and chips!. Entertainment may spring forth from the members, there can be an auction of ‘worthless tat’, an obligatory raffle of equally poor prizes, and there may be ‘fines’ with coins being thrown into a bucket or other recepticle.

Membership is open to Master Masons in good standing who are either a Master, Past Master, or Warden of a Craft Lodge, or a Companion in the Holy Royal Arch. Membership is not financially onerous with costs being a small, one-off membership joining fee; dining fees; drinks; and of course charity. Candidates can be proposed and initiated on the same night. Dress is informal but a hat of your own choice is obligatory, the sillier the better.

If this has wetted your appetite for evenings of fun with fellow Brethren, then ask a ‘Corky’ to propose you but if you don’t know one, contact the Undoubtedly Ship’s Writer or ask at the bar!

Radlett Cork Lodge

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