A Banner Day in Royal Middlesex Chapter History

Companions of Royal Middlesex Chapter, No. 1194 with Members of the Provincial Executive and Escort

The Companions of Royal Middlesex Chapter, No. 1194 recently celebrated two milestones in their rich history, with a 150th Anniversary, combined with the dedication of its first ever Banner.

The meeting, attended by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent E Comp Peter R.A. Baker, was also treated to a reprise of the history of the Chapter, researched and compiled by E Comp Malcolm Johnstone, PPrGSwdB.

Royal Middlesex Chapter was consecrated at the Northumberland Hotel, Isleworth on 21 March 1871 and its first MEZ was Colonel Francis Burdett, the first Grand Superintendent of Middlesex Provincial Grand Chapter.

In fact, Colonel Burdett was advanced through all three of the Principal Chairs on the evening of Royal Middlesex’s consecration and this enabled him to serve as the Province’s Grand Superintendent.

Prominent members over the years since have included Sir William Lancaster, founder of Putney Hospital, Master of the Musicians Company and Treasurer of the United Grand Lodge of England; Major-General George MacKenzie Franks, who fought in the First World War and became Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery; and Sir Howard Button who was an MP, Alderman and Sheriff of the City of London and became Chairman of Middlesex County Council.

Steady Membership Levels –

Initially comprising more than 25 Companions, Royal Middlesex has over the years enjoyed steady membership levels with new exaltees averaging one per year, except for the first 30 years and two joiners per decade on average.

The yearly fee at Consecration was 30/-, rising to two Guineas in 1875 and £2-12-6 in 1899.

Enviably, there was no further rise in subscriptions for 62 years.

However, this must be seen in the context that in 1875 the fees were double the average weekly wage. Now at £175, fees are a much more reasonable 29% of average earnings.

Other changes over the years include the venue of the Chapter, which has moved through the Mitre Hotel, opposite Hampton Court Gates and the Rest Hotel, Kenton, to its current home at HDMC.

In common with many Lodges and Chapters, it has a strong engagement with charity, supporting many local, national, and Masonic charities and was a Platinum Grand Patron Chapter of the 2020 Festival.

Celebrating a Rich History –

Founders Jewel and Banner

To celebrate its rich history and coinciding with its 150th Anniversary the Companions decided that it would be appropriate to commission a Banner and set about deciding on the design.

They based it on an 18-carat gold Past MEZ Breast Jewel, hallmarked 1908 and anonymously donated from someone who claimed they bought it at a car boot sale and wished to return it to its rightful home.

It is the only PZ Breast Jewel in the Lodge’s possession and is figuratively presented on Installation night to the IPZ.

With the design approved by Provincial Grand Chapter and Supreme Grand Chapter the Banner was manufactured in Pakistan and dedicated at HDMC on 21 October 2021, a fitting start to the next 150 years of Royal Middlesex’s history.

A thank you to Media Team member Ian Mitchell for this report. Ed

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