The 2012 Prestonian Lecture

Scouting & Freemasonry:
two parallel organisations?

The annual Prestonian Lecture is the only lecture held under the authority of United Grand Lodge and is the oldest Masonic lectureship in the world.

In my 2012 Prestonian Lecture I detail the numerous parallels between Scouting and Freemasonry, as well as three major differences.

Inevitably the issue arises whether the Founder of Scouting, Robert Baden-Powell, was a Freemason. In preparing this Prestonian Lecture I undertook new research using primary sources and brought up to date previous work on the subject. Therefore I believe I have the definitive answer to that question. I have also examined how Freemasonry may have influenced Scouting and the contributions of Masonic Scouters.

Moving on, I describe the role of the Kindred Lodges Association and the current and potential future relationships between Scouting and Freemasonry at national and local levels. I give examples of how such relationships are working today. Finally I outline my personal vision of how Scouting and Freemasonry can be of help to each other as they both face challenges in our rapidly changing society.

However, my lecture is not just an historical analysis. Nor is it a journey into nostalgia. Based on my continued active involvement with Scouting, I describe Scouting today and look to the future at the possible mutually beneficial relationship these two organisations can have at local and national levels.

The Lecture is complemented by a published book that covers the ground in considerably more detail.

The book is on sale at deliveries of the Lecture and through this website.

Tony Harvey
The Prestonian Lecturer for 2012