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How to wear the apron
By R.W. Bro. L. Healey, D.G.M.
A question that has exercised the minds of a number of freemasons during the past few years has recently come into prominence in the international masonic world as a result of a ruling made by the Grand Lodge of Scotland last year [1951].
At a quarterly communication presided over by MW Bro. Malcolm Harvey of Kinord, KCMG, DL, the Grand Master, a law was adopted that lodge aprons "Shall be fastened under the coat, and must be worn so as to be visible."
In the Grand Jurisdiction of British Columbia from the time of the formation of Grand Lodge up to recent years, it was the established practice to wear the apron under the coat, as evidenced by a varied assortment of group photographs taken during the early years, as well as the experience of those now living during later times. In fact any departure from this custom was an exceedingly rare occurrence up to the end of World War II, except in the case of brethren of the Armed Services attending lodge in uniform.
The advent of the double-breasted jacket as a later fashion in men's wear created the problem as to how to wear the apron visibly in lodge with the jacket buttoned. Some brethren solved that problem by fastening the apron outside the jacket rather than leave it open, with the result that a motley assortment of styles of apron wear could be observed in the average lodge at labour.
No doubt the Grand Lodge of Scotland gave complete consideration to all angles of the matter, perhaps consulted with the editor of the "Tailor & Cutter" as to the possibility of the double-breasted jacket being on the way out as a style for evening wear. But there is a stronger probability that the decision was based upon a firm determination to adhere to the custom regarding the wearing of the apron which has prevailed for more than two centuries past in that Grand Lodge, as well as in its neighbouring jurisdictions in the old land. And that a change at this time to suit a passing fad in the design of men's garments was neither necessary nor desirable.
The Grand Lodge of British Columbia has derived a great many of its usages and customs from the Grand Lodge of Scotland under whose jurisdiction five of the nine lodges which formed the Grand Lodge in 1871 had their existence. This timely ruling, therefore, is of particular interest to the members of British Columbia lodges as an incentive to continue to establish usage and custom, and wear the apron as the brethren of this Grand jurisdiction have always worn it, fastened under the coat and in such a manner as to be visible.

Reprinted from Masonic Bulletin, February 1952, p. 47..


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