Alma Chapter, No. 3534 – A Sad Surrender

Alma Chapter, No. 3534 – 75th Anniversary Meeting in 1998

In a moment tinged with sadness E Comp Peter de Wolfe PGStB – 2nd Provincial Grand Principal had the honour and privilege, along with E Comp Justin Purcell ProvDepDC, of accepting the Charter of Alma Chapter, No. 3534 on its closure at TDMC on Saturday 22nd May, after 98 years of service to the Holy Royal Arch in the Province of Middlesex.

Although these are regrettable moments, they are the ebb and flow of freemasonry and nothing remains the same forever.

A Brief History of the Chapter –

During the course of the proceedings a Companion read some of the Chapter history.

It had been founded by 22 Petitioners with Masons of note including 2 OBEs, 2 MCs and a VC.

The Consecration took place at Freemason’s Hall on Thursday March 22nd 1923.

Like its namesake Lodge, whose membership had been made up of Officers, Warrant Officers and Sergeants of the 7th Battalion Royal Fusiliers stationed at Hounslow Barracks, the Chapter membership also comprised those who had strong military connections to the Royal Fusiliers.

The Regiment had participated in the victory at the Battle of the River Alma in the Crimean War, September 1854 against Russian forces.

Many early Companions were also members of Roll Call Lodge, No. 2523 including Captain Robert Gee VC MC who at the Consecration of Alma Chapter was 2nd Principal – see

A painting depicting the Battle of Alma which is displayed in the National Army Museum – London – public domain

In the beginning the Chapter met at the Bulstrode Hotel, Lampton Road, Hounslow before moving to the Red Lion Hotel, Hounslow.

For the last 50 years the TDMC had been its home.

The Chapter celebrated significant anniversaries and the 25th, 50th and 75th Anniversaries met with some aplomb.

The 75th Anniversary meeting had 40 Companions attending.

More recently the Chapter had to reduce the number of meetings from 3 per annum to 2 and sadly that decline meant the Chapter became unviable.

Nevertheless, the annals of Middlesex freemasonry will forever record Alma Chapter and the work of its members in promoting the Holy Royal Arch which is the foundation and keystone of the whole Masonic structure.

Let us then give credit for that work and celebrate it.

Alma Chapter has not gone out with a whimper, but on a high note of masonic service over 98 years which deserves to be acknowledged.

(When researching Alma on Google, it appears that there exists in the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Michigan USA – York Rite, an Alma Chapter. The Chapter name continues elsewhere, which is a comfort).

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