Our first physical meeting in 20 months was in October when we had a private tour of the Museum of Freemasonry and the Grand Temple at the Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden.
Earlier meetings during 2021 were held via Zoom which had the benefit of enabling participation by members who would find it difficult to attend a meeting in London.
- We started with a talk by the Ambassador, Markku Keinänen, who spoke about current topics of interest, particularly some of the practical consequences of Brexit.
- Patrick Salmon, Chief Historian at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and his colleague Dr Richard Smith spoke to us about the murals by Sigismund Goetze and other art works at the Foreign Office which had recently sparked controversy in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Princess Olga Romanoff, whose maternal grandmother belonged to the Finnish Borgström family, spoke about her Finnish and Russian family background, the challenges of living in and maintaining her historic house, Provender, and also her family’s connections with Mannerheim and his daughter, Anastasie, who is buried at the nearby Church.
- The AGM was successfully conducted online in April and concluded with a reading of a chapter from Tony Lurcock’s latest book, ”Finish Off with Finland” a Miscellany which was about to be published.
- The Finnish Art Group had been due to hold its 30th anniversary exhibition in 2020 but had to postpone it for a year because of the pandemic. Several of the artists who were to exhibit their work gave presentations via Zoom in May by way of a foretaste of the exhibition at the Coningsby Gallery which was opened on 7th November by the new Ambassador, Jukka Siukosaari, in the presence of an enthusiastic gathering. The exhibition was supported financially by the Society and also by Suomi-Seura.
- 17th December was the 110th anniversary of the founding of the Society. The number does not have the cachet of a centenary, but perhaps we will mark it in a modest way sometime next year. In any case we could not surpass the Centenary Dinner which we held at the Grocers Hall in 2012 attended by the Society’s Patrons, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and President Tarja Halonen. Prince Philip had been our Patron since 1955. An account of his connections with Finland can be read on the Society’s website.