The French Revolution which began in 1789 changed forever the relationship between freemasonry and the state.
In England, freemasonry was non-political and the discussion of politics at Masonic meetings was forbidden (as continues to be the situation today) but after 1789 English freemasons had to deal with the consequences of revolutionary politics and Masonic lodges avoided closure only by agreeing to register lists of their members with local authorities.
This remained a legal requirement until 1967 when the Labour Government led by Harold Wilson abolished the Unlawful Societies Act. Freemasonry had spread from Britain across continental Europe in the early 1700s and there freemasons were blamed for causing the Revolution and the subsequent political and social unrest which many countries experienced.
The suspicion of freemasonry which arose at that time has had a longlasting impact on politics and society. The ‘Freemasonry and the French Revolution’exhibition at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry traces the impact of the Revolution on freemasonry in England and Europe.
To Friday 18th December 2009.
Exhibition free of charge to all visitors
Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.
Museum closed at weekends.
The Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Great Queen Street
London, WC2B 5AZ