LONDON CRAFT DIGEST: Summer 2023
Here are just a few stories from London Freemasons and the London Lodges that have met over the last few months.
GPKL Viking Charity Walk in aid of Medicinema
On Saturday 1st July, five members of Grove Park Kent Lodge No 2824 along with four family members completed a 27 mile charity walk in aid of MediCinema.
MediCinema install and run state-of-the-art cinemas in hospitals and other places of care so that long term patients can enjoy a night out at the cinema to see the latest blockbusters with their families and carers, which provides an enjoyable distraction from their treatment.
The walk started at Pegwell Bay and followed the Viking trail along the Kent coast, finishing at Herne Bay. The walk took just under 9 hours to complete and raised over £4000 for the charity.
We are a London Lodge despite having Kent in our name. The Lodge has historical connections with Kent, so it was apt that we undertook this challenge along the Kent coast and we are proud to be associated with, and to have raised some money for the MediCinema charity.
More information about MediCinema and the great work it does can be found at medicinema.org.uk.
Of course, we all remember our Initiation Ceremony and the day we came into Freemasonry. But what if that ceremony was conducted by your great uncle, father, uncle and second cousin? That was the case for 18-year-old Freddie List, initiated at Baker’s Hall on Monday 12th June 2023. Freddie’s arrival makes him the fourth generation of Lists to join the Cerepania Lodge No 4817.
The current serving Lists quickly volunteered and stepped up to the mark to welcome Freddie into Cerepania Lodge: his great uncle Derek (Senior London Grand Rank and a Freemason for 47 years) occupied King Solomon’s Chair, his father, Dominic, and uncle, Philip, respectively undertook the Junior and Senior Deacons duties, while Derek’s cousin, John (Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies), presented the Charge after Initiation. The ceremony was conducted in the presence of the Lodge’s Visiting Officer, Richard Montgomery (Past Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies).
Freddie hails from a family steeped in Masonic history, many of whom were, or are, also members of Cerepania Lodge. Derek’s Father and Grandfather (both Fredericks) were Masons, as were his brothers Colin and the late Neil (Freddie’s grandfather) and Neil’s sons Philip and Dominic.
Freddie said “I am delighted to join Freemasonry and my father’s Lodge, also the one that my grandfather belonged to, and I hope I will do them and the rest of the members proud over the coming years. This is very exciting!” Meanwhile, his Great Uncle Derek who performed Initiation ceremonies for Neil, Philip, Dominic and now Freddie, added “It is a huge honour for me to welcome Freddie and continue the long tradition of ‘Lists’ within Cerepania Lodge and I hope he will enjoy it as much as I have and continue to do so”.
Cerepania Lodge offers a very warm welcome to guests; and will be celebrating its centenary in 2026.
Coronation Champion Awards
W Bro Joe Brocking of Acanthus Lodge No 2715 has recently received a Coronation Champion Award (only 500 awarded), a most prestigious honour. The awards, organised by the Royal Voluntary Service, were devised by Queen Camilla to celebrate the nation’s army of volunteers. Both she and King Charles were keen for the Coronation to be used to recognise and reward those who go the extra mile in their communities.
The 500 Coronation Champions were awarded a special pin and a certificate signed by the King and Queen and were hosted at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in May. This Coronation Champion Award was in recognition of W Bro Joe’s decade long outstanding volunteer work for St Catherine’s Hospice, which provides expert end of life care and support to terminally ill people and their families across West Sussex and East Surrey.
Fathers and Sons…
Fraternal congratulations to W Bro Lee and Bro Tom Morton of Lodge of Guiding Light No 7539, in which Lee was able to initiate his son, Tom. Lee says, “It was a truly magnificent and very touching evening. The Master kindly let me take the Chair and I was truly humbled to be able to conduct the ritual for my son. The last part in welcoming our newly made Brother into Freemasonry was particularly special. The words ‘Let me be the first to congratulate you, Brother Morton’ was a little emotional.” Lee adds that the family bonds are commercial, too: “Tom is not only my first born, but he is also my right hand in my business. He has worked for the family business since leaving University, becoming Managing Director Designate and creating a path for my retirement. I am a great believer in succession.”
Similarly, way back on 9th January, W Bro Roy Swaby was fortunate enough to install his 25 year old son, W Bro Ross Swaby into the chair of the Earl of Lathom Lodge No 1922, making him the Lodge’s youngest ever Master. Keeping it in the family, Roy’s younger son, Bro Danny Swaby (who was the youngest member ever to join the Lodge) was then installed as Junior Warden.
Hand of Charity Lodge
On the 14th March 2023, Hand of Charity Lodge No 9237 was privileged to be able to present a certificate marking 60 years in Freemasonry to W Bro Ivan Kuber. The presentation was performed by Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master, Mark Horlock.
Ivan’s working life started when he left school at 14, selling ribbon, elastic and darning wool in the market. At 18, he joined his father selling textiles across South Wales. In 1953 his brother Larry joined him and in the 1960s they started to manufacture which enabled the pair to wholesale and export, whilst still keeping their retail business in South Wales until the early 2000s.
Ivan first joined Freemasonry at the Lodge of Continued Friendship No 6701. Two years later, he joined his brother in the Lodge of St James No 765.
The Craft then took him to the Evander Lodge No 7459. Ivan was a member there for over 20 years until a number of Evander members decided to form a new Lodge. That Lodge was the Hand of Charity Lodge No 9237. Ivan and his brother are the only remaining founders in the Lodge and continue to be very active.
Gray’s Inn Lodge
Monday 20th March was a night of double celebration for Gray’s Inn Lodge No 4938. Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master VW Bro Jonathan Hillman, accompanied by his Escorting Officer W Bro Tim Spriggs, was in attendance to celebrate the long service of the Lodge’s Chaplain, W Bro Gavin Merrylees who was initiated into Gray’s Inn Lodge on 3rd December 1962. Bro Jonathan spoke about Gavin’s fascinating life both inside and outside of Freemasonry, before presenting him with a sixtieth year certificate.
The Lodge then performed a triple Passing ceremony, with Senior Deacon, Tarik Lee Trimble Bey, expertly presenting the Working Tools, and Junior Deacon, Rasul Sayed, giving an exceptional delivery of the Tracing Board. Both are Fellowcrafts, having only been initiated into Freemasonry in January 2022.
After the Lodge was closed, twelve female guests were admitted into the Lodge Room; among them RW Bro Maxine Priestley, Deputy Grand Master of Freemasonry for Women, who was processed into the room alongside Bro Jonathan and the Worshipful Master, W Bro Kyle Patterson. After welcoming the ladies to the Lodge, the Brethren and guests retired to the Grand Officers Robing Room for a White Table dinner. Two of the ladies present expressed an interest in joining Freemasonry for Women, helping to solidify the bond between our two societies.
Jubilee Masters Lodge No 2712 Quasquicentennial (125th Anniversary) Meeting
Photos by W Bro Christopher W Eley, Text by W Bro Michael F Barnes
125 years ago, on 20 June 1898, Jubilee Masters Lodge No 2712 was consecrated at the Hotel Cecil (just off The Strand) by VW Bro Edward Letchworth, Grand Secretary. The event was attended by more than 200 brethren. Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee had taken place one year earlier (22 June 1897), and to celebrate that great event, the Lodge chose its name.
The Centenary history was originally compiled by the late W Bro Bryan F Page. A summary of the first 25 years was prepared and delivered in open Lodge by W Bro John Hubbard and a summary of the past 25 years was prepared and delivered by W Bro Michael Shurety. A memory stick containing this combined history was presented to each Brother at the Festive Board.
At this point, the Inner Guard announced the arrival of the Metropolitan Grand Master, RW Bro Sir Michael Snyder, accompanied by two Deputy Metropolitan Grand Masters, RW Bro Warren Duke and RW Bro Matthew Hampson, and the Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, VW Bro The Rev Timothy L’Estrange.
RW Bro Russell Race then presented Sir Michael with a donation of £50,000 to the Air Ambulance Appeal. During the meeting there was also a musical interlude when The Fini Quartet from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama played chamber music by Mozart.
This was a very memorable meeting with 411 brethren in the Grand Temple of whom some 265 dined afterwards at the Grand Connaught Rooms, the whole being presided over by the Worshipful Master, RW Bro Sir David Wootton, Deputy Grand Master.
Thanks are due to the hard-working Lodge Secretary, W Bro Len Bulman, and members of the Lodge Committee, for the considerable planning and organisation that made the event so successful. Special thanks also to VW Bro Chris Clark for organising the musical interlude and to our photographer, W Bro Chris Eley, for his splendid coverage of the event.
Nigeria Heritage Lodge No 10030
On February 18th 2023, London’s Masons were cordially invited to join the celebrations for the consecration of the Nigeria Heritage Lodge No 10030 at the Croydon and District Masonic Centre. The thought of forming a Lodge for people of Nigerian decent, people who have Nigerian friends or, in the words of the Address, “people who just like the exuberant nature of Nigerians or Nigerian culture” had been discussed for some time among some Nigerian Masons. And with the advent of social media connecting them, it was only a matter of time before the prospect of forming a Lodge grew in strength.
After many weeks of exchanging ideas, 25 Masons met at Great Queen Street to lay the foundations and form committees to make the necessary enquiries on Lodge formation. The journey has been long, not least thanks to the effects of the pandemic restrictions. The Nigeria Heritage Committee owes a great debt of gratitude to the Province of Surrey, who provided immense assistance and guidance at every stage of the process.
The choice of ritual to be adopted was a major concern because every founder would, naturally if given his choice, want his own Lodge’s ritual to be adopted. But the matter was concluded when the history of Emulation Ritual was made known to the founders. The relationship between Nigerian Ritual and Emulation Ritual dates back to 1939; when George M. Gray, the District Grand Master of Nigeria, decided to print his own ritual book as a result of difficulties arising from learning and rehearsing ritual in his District of Nigeria without any formal ritual book. These printed copies were also purchased by Brethren in England, because at that time, and until 1969, the Emulation Lodge of Improvement did not recognise any printed ritual text. The Nigerian Ritual is based on Emulation with slight variations in its language of presentation, wordings, and perambulations.
Charter Master, W Bro Emenike Mgbemena, said “Today is more than just the consecration of another Lodge. To us it is a historic day for all Nigerian Masons, both in the United Kingdom and in Nigeria, because it has been the dream of all Masons who have an affinity with Nigeria to have a Lodge in the UK that offers a close cultural link by name and by membership. The dreams of decades have become a reality with today’s consecration of Nigeria Heritage Lodge No 10030.” Nigeria Heritage comes under the Provincial banner of Surrey, but meeting in Croydon will be convenient for many London Masons and London’s Nigerian community will of course be particularly welcome.
St Andrews Lodge
On 10th July at the Royal Air Force Club, Piccadilly, Metropolitan Grand Inspector W Bro Col. Simon Bennett presented W Bro Martyn Burch PJGD with a 50 Year Long Service Certificate at an especial gathering of St Andrew’s Lodge No 222, with a glorious celebratory dinner held within the Club afterwards.
Old Owen’s Lodge No 4440 Celebrates it’s Centenary
Consecrated in October 1922, having been sponsored by Egyptian Lodge No 27, Old Owen’s Lodge No 4440 reached its centenary last October. On Saturday 27th May, being an old school lodge, the Lodge Celebratory meeting was held in the Edward Guinness Hall of Dame Alice Owen’s School in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.
Dame Alice Owen’s School was founded in the small village of Islington in 1613 and was relocated to Potters Bar in the 1970’s. The Lodge previously met in the Edward Guinness Hall at the School in 2013 as part of the school’s 400th Anniversary.
The meeting was honoured to welcome RW Bro Matthew Hampson DepMetGM. as its Guest of Honour; with a deputation of other Metropolitan Officers. In total there were 69 attendees at the meeting. A brief presentation of the Consecration minutes was given along with a little of the history of the Lodge, together with a printed booklet covering the history. The Centenary Warrant was presented to the Lodge by RW Bro Hampson followed by an Oration by W Bro John Morrison MetAGChap. A champagne reception and Festive Board followed, all on site at the School.
Two Presentations of 50th Certificates
Many congratulations to two recipients of long service certificates in Freemasonry.
On 4th April at Freemasons’ Hall, Metropolitan Grand Inspector, W Bro Tony Jacobs, presented a 50 Year Long Service Certificate to W Bro Peter Dunnett of Mill Hill Lodge No 3574.
And on 2nd May, at Mumbai Square Masonic Centre E1, Metropolitan Grand Inspector, W Bro Tony Shepherd presented a 50 Year Long Service Certificate to W Bro Colin Goff of Eversley Park Lodge No 4577.
75 years for Rupert Craven
Many congratulations to Rupert Craven, the senior member of Navy Lodge No 2612. Rupert is 97 years old, but more impressively, on 5th March 2023, celebrated 75 years continuous service as a member of Navy Lodge.
He was initiated on 5th March 1948.
He was lucky enough to attend the Lodge meeting when Prince Philip was raised to a Master Mason in 1952 just weeks before the coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
He is pictured here at home in the very North of Scotland, being presented with his 70th certificate by W Bro Jonty Powis, a former Metropolitan Grand Inspector, and with the bottle of malt whisky that the Lodge sent him after completing his 75 years in Navy Lodge
Despite the many travel challenges laid down due to rail strikes, the Military Lodge No 2621 mustered its troops and rose to the challenge, meeting at Mark Masons’ Hall on Saturday 3rd June, with Brethren coming from as far afield as Romania, York, Manchester, and the South coast. The occasion was three-fold: to assist daughter Lodge Imperial Cadet No 3824 in passing two Brethren – Bros Malhotra & Dibbens; to welcome the Lodge’s new Visiting Officer, W Bro Simon Hammond SLGR on his first visit to the Lodge; and to receive a Bronze award for contributing to the London Air Ambulance Appeal from W Bro Paul King SLGR MetGChStwd, also a member of the Lodge.
Dante’s Initiation: A nautical theme, a first class welcome
Over 75 brethren attended United Mariners Lodge No 30 on 18th April 2023 to witness Bro Ryu Dante’s initiation at only 18 years and 6 days old; making him undoubtedly the youngest initiate in the Lodge’s 270-year history and possibly the youngest Freemason in London.
Guests included VW Bro Ian Clark, Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master, and Metropolitan Grand Inspector W Bro Scott Simpson in his official capacity with a delegation of Metropolitan Grand Stewards. 24 new initiates, together with their personal mentors, also attended as part of the Welcome Project.
Prior to the Initiation ceremony, W Bro David U Thompson PSGD, a former Metropolitan Grand Inspector, presented the Lodge with a Nautical Cable Tow which he had specially commissioned for this meeting. Bro David said: “It is formed from a single length of white rope to denote purity and innocence. The noose is formed from a running ‘Turk’s Head’, a three-parted knot to represent the three who rule the Lodge. At the tail end are five consecutive ‘Wall’ knots to represent the five who hold the Lodge and, when fully extended, it has an overall length of seven feet to represent the seven who make it perfect.” (If you’re interested, a quick search online will show you examples of the Nautical Cable Tow).
Bro Ryu was initiated by his father, W Bro Jason Dante LGR, MetJGD. The Ancient Charge was then delivered to Bro Ryu by W Bro Jeremy Lindop PAGStB, who initiated W Bro Jason Dante into the same Lodge 17-years prior, making the masonic circle complete.
At the festive board, Bro Ryu was able to meet other newer Brethren under the banner of The Welcome Project and many signed the back of his EA apron as a keepsake. After a stellar toast to the candidate by W Bro Keith Miller PAGDC, Ryu received an original Zino Davidoff Book from W Bro Miller and an Initiate’s cigar from Hazara Lodge No 4159. Payback was Bro Ryu’s first Masonic speech, in which he spoke fondly about his father’s journey into Freemasonry and the opportunity he had to follow in his father’s footsteps as soon as he turned 18.
Freemasons at Pride
As many of you will know, Freemasons participated in this year’s London Pride event. Not everyone did – including Terry Treadwell, who has now been attending London Pride as a Volunteer Supervisor Route Steward in truly brotherly fashion for no less than nine years.
Terry is a retired member of Rectitude Secundus Lodge No 6778, and says “I was so surprised and very very proud to see Freemasons at Pride – well done to all of those involved. I made myself known to them, we chatted and I do hope this will be repeated next year.”
60th Long Service Certificate
Bro Robert MacVicar, PAGReg, presented to W Bro William Roger Cortlandt Dawson PAGStdB (Eng) his 60th Long Service Certificate and Lapel Badge on the 28th March 2023 explaining how he gained a choral scholarship to Cranleigh School, left with a distinction in higher Physics and thence graduated from Faraday House College of Electrical Engineering in 1951 with D.F.H. 1st Class.
He took over the project for the “Horizontal Launch Assist” for NASA as a visiting Fellow at Sussex University in 1997 developing a revolutionary topology for linear motors that quadrupled their power.
Masonically, in 1959, while on a commercial visit, he met a Brother, who told him about the Craft and he was proposed into the Lodge of the Nine Muses No 235 in 1963 by his uncle and where several of his family were already members. He has been a wonderful Worshipful Master twice, the second on the occasion of the Lodge’s 225th anniversary. He was given Grand Rank in Craft in 1992 and in Royal Arch in 1996.
He also joined Circle of Sussex No 7905 and more recently his local lodge in Staffordshire, St Michael’s Lodge No 2487.
His Chapters include Phoenix Chapter No 173, Eccleshall Chapter No 5389 and Chapter of St James’s No 2 where Bro Robert is also a member.
He replied to the presentation of the award with the words ‘Freemasonry is a joy; a wonderful, rewarding, pastime, creator of lifetime friendships but not a profession.’
Old Masonians’ Lodge makes £10k donation
Nearly 80 members and guests saw a leading London school Lodge mark 125 years since its foundation at its April installation meeting at Freemasons’ Hall. One highlight of a memorable ceremony and celebration was the presentation of a £10,000 cheque from Old Masonians’ Lodge No 2700 to masonic charities.
The cheque was received before the meeting by W Bro Les Hutchinson, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, from incoming Master W Bro Neil Clare, who was in a wheelchair for the occasion following a recent bout of illness. Also pictured are, far right, Past Master W Bro Martyn Craddock and Lodge DC W Bro Barry Bloomfield.
The Lodge was supported by many senior Grand Officers and a full room of Installed Masters saw W Bro Clare put in the Chair of King Solomon. To coincide with the anniversary, an illustrated digital history of the Lodge was written by Bros Simon Greaves, Michael Coggles and Peter Acton and circulated digitally. It records the formation of the Lodge, established by old boys of the former Royal Masonic School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, which closed its gates in 1977. The history lists founders, Past Masters and current officers as well as recording some of the special Lodge traditions that make it distinctive; such as the two Latin graces used at the school which are repeated at festive board dining today.
Lodge Of Enterprise 75th
Warmest congratulations to the Lodge of Enterprise No 6494 on their 75th anniversary meeting, held on 23rd November 2022 (by dispensation) at Radlett Masonic Centre. The initiate was Jonathan Hives, lucky enough to join with the assistance of some very experienced company. Attending were RW Bros Stephen Fenton and Paul Gower, VW Bros Derrick Silver, Chris Caine and Ian Wellesley-Harding, Metropolitan Grand Inspector Lewis Bloch. Metropolitan Deputy Grand Chaplain Rabbi Zvi Solomons acted as Chaplain.
Ilford Lodge Centenary
On April 20th 2023, Ilford Lodge No 4442 celebrated its centenary. The meeting further marked 60 years in the Lodge for W Bro Tom Jay PGStB and 50 years for W Bro Alan Bartropp SLGR.
The Lodge was honoured by the presence of RW Bro Warren Duke PJGW who presented the certificates, performed in a very personal and beautiful way which made the day memorable for not only the recipients but also the 24 other Masons who had joined Ilford Lodge to celebrate the occasion; including W Bro Lewis Bloch PSGD and W Bro David Bailey PSGD, both former Metropolitan Grand Inspectors.
A brief outline of the Lodge’s history was expertly presented by the Lodge Secretary, W Bro Malcolm Bilmen SLGR. The Metropolitan Visiting Team were represented by W Bro Tudor Morgan (Metropolitan Assistant Grand Secretary) and W Bro John Morrison (Metropolitan Assistant Grand Chaplain); who between them delivered the Warrant and the Oration to all present in a fine rendition of facts and information.
The evening concluded with the festive board and all present concluded that they had witnessed something special this day; and would remember it for many years to come.
Farringdon Without Lodge
As a consequence of the Coronation of King Charles III, Farringdon Without Lodge No 1745 held a rescheduled Lodge Meeting on 20th May 2023. It was an exemplary introduction to Freemasonry for the Lodge’s brother initiate, Bro Alexandre Duprat. He is the latest French national living and working in the UK to join Farringdon Without, further strengthening the Lodge’s long-standing links with France.
At the subsequent White Table Festive Board, friends, family and visitors enjoyed dining in Freemasons’ Hall; and Chris Booth of CHAPS acknowledged the receipt of £5000, representing two years’ charitable donations by the Lodge. Chris gave a brief talk on the work of CHAPS and the role of PSA Tests in addressing prostate cancer.
West Ealing Lodge
It was a welcome return to the chair for W Bro Colin Underwood at West Ealing Lodge No 6274 on 22nd May 2023. In a 25 year Masonic career, this is the fifth time he has led the Lodge. A typically fun and productive meeting held in good harmony, it also saw a change of key Officers and a Ceremony of Passing for Bro. Stephen Elms. The Lodge welcomes any and all visitors to the Lodge and indeed to the West London Masonic Centre.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 52 August 2023 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 52 here.