Lodge Life: Liverpool Orangemen put on show at city museum

An Orange parade taking place through the streets of Anfield, Liverpool
An Orange parade taking place through the streets of Anfield, Liverpool

An exhibition exploring the history of Orangeism in Liverpool has gone on public display in the city.

The display at the Museum of Liverpool marks the first time the local Provincial Grand Orange Lodge has had such high-level exposure to a wider audience.

Provincial Grand Master, Steve Kingston, with a miniature Orange banner which is part of the exhibition at Liverpool Museum

Provincial Grand Master, Steve Kingston, with a miniature Orange banner which is part of the exhibition at Liverpool Museum

Launched last week, the display features objects, photographs and interviews examining the heritage of the institution and its members in the north-west of England.

Items on show include a Lambeg drum, a miniature banner and a King William tea set. Information panels provide an explanation of ceremonial pieces such as a gavel and Bible, as well as the significance and background of Orange collarettes.

Another artefact of note is a glass bottle from the First World War displaying an Orange emblem; underlining the military credentials of members beyond the lodge room.

Steve Kingston, provincial grand master, described the museum display as “fantastic”.

He said: “We’ve not had an exhibition like this in Liverpool before. It’s a real good platform for information, and covers every aspect of what we do and what we are about.

“We’re not saying everyone is going to agree with us, but at least people can form their own opinions based on the material available.”

Mr Kingston said he was hopeful the initiative would further underline a growing acceptance of the different traditions in the city.

“We stand for the fact people can have their own cultural views and religious liberties – all we are asking for is the same in return.”

Janet Dugdale, director of Museum of Liverpool, said: “The Museum of Liverpool’s Our City, Our Stories programme gives a voice to the communities, groups and individuals that make up Liverpool’s character and history.

“The Orange lodge has been part of the city for centuries and we’re pleased to be working with the community to present their most meaningful objects and share their story.”

The year-long exhibition takes place ahead of a busy 2019 for Orangeism in Liverpool as it marks the 200th anniversary of the first Twelfth of July parade in the city. Orangemen, ladies and juniors continue the tradition to this day.

A series of events are planned, including a banner parade, provincial dinner and a service. An Orange arch will also be erected for the first time in many years.

The institution maintains a strong presence in the city with currently upwards of 70 lodges and 20 junior lodges based in Liverpool.

Former members include businessman, John Houlding, who is fondly remembered for being the driving force behind the formation of Liverpool Football Club.