THE so-called ‘secret’ Freemasons society is throwing open its doors and inviting non-members.

Worcester Masonic Hall in Rainbow Hill will welcome members of the public on Saturday when it opens in conjunction with the national Heritage Open Days initiative.

It is a rare opportunity for people to go inside the impressive lodge room where Worcester Freemasons hold their meetings. There will be guided tours and long-standing members on hand to answer questions on any topic associated with freemasonry.

The Worcestershire Provincial Library and Museum, located within the hall, boasts an impressive collection of masonic jewels, antique porcelain, embroidery, books, medals and glassware. In the past it has been acknowledged as the most extensive collection of masonic artefacts outside the Grand Lodge Museum in London.

The Worcestershire province wants to radically modernise the public profile of freemasonry and employ a policy of openness and transparency.

Graeme Collins, information officer, said: “Traditionally, we are seen as a secret society. If that’s true, we must be the only secret society with an address and number in the phone book. We want to dispel all the myths. This isn’t a recruitment drive but we want to show people that they can visit us without being intimidated.”

There are 3,400 masons in the Worcestershire province and the Worcester Lodge – known as Lodge 280 – was founded in 1790.

Like all other sites involved in the Heritage Open Days scheme, admission on Saturday will be free.

Co-ordinated by the Civil Trust and English Heritage, this year’s scheme is the biggest yet with more than 3,500 sites opening. From castles to factories, town halls to tithe barns, churches to Buddhist temples, it is being described as a unique chance to discover hidden architectural treasures and find out more about local history and culture.