This film is part of Free

Old People, Croydon and Covent Garden

From Croydon centenarians to widows in Warwickshire, this absorbing film celebrates the works of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution in the 1950s.

Non-Governmental Organisations sponsored film 1969 22 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


This film provides an extensive overview of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution as they shifted operations from Croydon to Hove. It’s a thorough affair, even covering the admin system used by clerks at the grand temple in Great Queen Street to ensure Masonic dependents receive their annuity. We travel to Warwickshire to meet a widow, and also a centenarian at Croydon’s Asylum for Worthy, Aged and Decayed Freemasons, opened in 1850. We then tour the new home in Hove.

The film assures viewers that those receiving funds from the Masons will do see in strictest privacy, and is careful to never use the world charity. It’s a well-made affair, travelling across the country to meet case studies – often widows – as well as offering a good look at the old Victorian care home in Croydon – we meet a 101-year-old resident – and the new building, Harewood Court, opened in 1955, in Hove, which provides “elegance of a different kind”. Concludes with an appeal for support, informing brothers that the RMBI is “dependent on the generosity of every member of the craft”.