Lodge Centenaries are always special occasions and Thursday the 13th September 2018 was such an occasion.
The Centenary meeting of Edgware Lodge, No. 3866 meeting was held at the Harrow District Masonic Centre and it was a special for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it was to be the first official visit for the new Pro Provincial Grand Master, Rt. W. Bro. Peter Baker.
Secondly it was a member of Edgware Lodge who had conceived the idea of the Harrow District Masonic Centre.
Sadly this Brother did not live to see his vision come into being.
Indeed, Edgware Lodge was the 3rd largest contributor to the fund raised to create the Centre which finally saw light of day in 1954.
Some of the original Lodge furniture used by many Secretaries and Treasurers over the years had also been presented by the Lodge.
Since the building of the Centre Members of the Lodge have given time and devotion in assisting with the administration and running of the Centre.
Edgware Lodge was born at the end of the First World War by a group of local tradesmen and worshippers at the St Lawrence Church in Little Stanmore.
Indeed, the Lodge Crest portrays this church which had special relevance to the composer Handel whose Organ is to be found there.
A former Rector of St Lawrence Church was non other than John Theophilus Desaguliers the son of a French Huguenot Minister, who became the 3rd Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England in 1719.
This shows an extraordinary Masonic connection.
The Lodge was Consecrated by the Right Worshipful Lord George Francis Hamilton GCSI (Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India) the Provincial Grand Master in 1918 and the Installing Master was the Very Worshipful Alexander Burnett Brown, Deputy Provincial Grand Master at the time as well as holding Office as Grand Superintendent of Works.
Like many Lodges formed at that time, it flourished meeting in the Abercorn Hotel at the bottom of Stanmore Hill and then for many years at the Railway Hotel Edgware.
About 25 years ago the Lodge fell on hard times with a fall in membership but struggled on for some years.
In 2003 the remaining Members finally concluded that sadly it was not possible to continue and made plans to surrender its warrant.
However, a chance meeting between a Member and another Brother at a meeting in Ealing determined that a group of Masons, all members of Lions Club International, were looking for a home.
So approximately 6 months later at the Installation Meeting 10 new Members joined the Lodge with many instantly appointed to office as Wardens, Deacons and Inner Guard.
With so many new Candidates the Lodge was able to support other Lodges with work for some time after.
Edgware Lodge now has a rosy future as it moves ahead into its second century.
The centenary meeting was a splendid evening.
All those Members who were involved in its organisation are to be congratulated and the Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brother Umesh Ragwhani, conducted the evening in a relaxed and friendly way.
Members were presented with a commemorative pin whilst all those attending received a set of cuff links and a copy of the Lodge History to date.
The following Provincial Officers attended:
RW Bro Peter Baker ProProvGM
W Bro Paul Huggins PSGD AProvGM
W Bro Peter Annett PGStB AProvGM
W Bro The Rev Dr Bill Dolman ProvGChap
W Bro Howard Walters PAGDC PPrJGW, ProvGTreas
W Bro Michael Dean PJGD PProvJGW, Acting ProvGSec
W Bro Jim Mitchell PAGDC ProvGDC
W Bro Brian Shaw ProvGSwdB
W Bro Liam Delahunty ProvSGD
W Bro Stuart Smith ProvAGDC
W Bro Chris Pugh ProvGStB
W Bro Phil Cooper ProvGStwd
W Bro Frankie Whelan ProvGStwd
W Bro Tom James PProvAGSwdB, ProvGTyler
The Members of the Lodge were absolutely delighted to receive this visit from Province and the presentation of a Centenary Warrant.
This visit and the introductory address given by the Pro Provincial Grand Master made the entire evening something those present will never forget.
Edgware Lodge No: 3866 Centenary Oration
W.Bro Rev. Dr William Dolman
Human beings have always liked to commemorate important milestones in life, be they birthdays, anniversaries happy events and sad events. We celebrate 10 years, 25 years but rarely do we celebrate a Centenary. It is a very special event. So there is a real cause for celebration this year for Edgware Lodge No: 3866.
Today we celebrate and give thanks for this Lodge, but we celebrate not only the Lodge institution itself, but the individual Members of the Lodge in the past, and present who sustain it. So when we celebrate a Centenary, we celebrate and record our gratitude to each of the Members of the Lodge, the Founders, and those who have touched and touch the lives of today’s Brethren.
And here I must thank the authors of the history of the Lodge, which must of course inform anything I say today. One hundred years ago this Country saw the end of the First World War, the war to end all wars as it was known. And it is always interesting to learn something about the groups of people who got together, and joined forces, to form a new Lodge, and to learn what impelled them to move forward with the complex and expensive process.
I have learnt that the group planning the consecration of Edgware Lodge did have links, joining them together, Special Constables in the Police force, members of the congregation of a local church, a church with strong links to the composer Handel, and local businessmen. Quite a disparate group, but a very keen and determined group if brethren.
Meetings were held and in a very short time a petition was prepared, and the new lodge was consecrated in the notable Frascati’s restaurant.
Frascati’s at 32 Oxford Street had strong Masonic connections. It was a very fashionable restaurant, dating back to Victorian times, decorated, I am told, in gold and silver. The manager, Mr Cox, was an enthusiastic Freemason, and welcomed brethren warmly. There was, I understand, a well-appointed Masonic Temple there. The Food was good, menus in the continental style, we are told, and the Chef around this time had been Chef to the late King Boudouin of Belgium.
It was decided that the Lodge should be part of the Province of Middlesex, a very good choice, I must say. The Lodge crest shows St Lawrence’s Church on Whitchurch Lane, Handel’s own church.
The Consecration took place on 11th July 1918. The Lodge held five meetings a year after it was founded. In addition there were a number of emergency meetings to Initiate new Members. Not only was a Lodge of Instruction started, with meetings increased from fortnightly to weekly meetings, but Members were fined if they did not attend. That was something that surprised me. Working was, as the history says, strict Emulation.
Like many Lodges, perhaps most Lodges, the venue for Lodge meetings moved, from the Abercorn Hotel in Stanmore, then to the Railway Hotel, Edgware, where the LOIs had been held for years, so the venue was known to Members. Moves can be unsettling, but the Lodge obviously held together strongly and it is notable that in 1935 a new Member was instrumental in promoting the idea of a Masonic Centre at Harrow, where we are today.
It was a time when Masonic services were held regularly, large public events, at St Lawrence’s Church, Whitchurch, the church on the lodge crest. I wonder how many of us an remember Masonic services. I remember only one, when as a boy, a Lewes, I was in the procession at a South London church, with Masonic Brethren of my father’s Lodge. I doubt if he or I, at the time, as a young boy, ever imagined that I would follow in his footsteps and join the Craft, one of the best decisions I have made in my life. But that’s another story.
In 1960 a Royal Arch Chapter Edgware chapter was Consecrated, so that the Lodge had its own Chapter.
Edgware Lodge, like many others, has had up and downs in its fortunes. Many Lodges suffered from loss of Members in the 1980s and some were forced to hand back their Warrants. But this story must common to many Lodges. However, Edgware Lodge sprang back to strength, with the help of Brethren from another Lodge, who had had been in difficulty. Edgware Lodge grabbed their lifeline and towed the lost Brethren into the Lodge, a wonderful and generous move, and from then on the Lodge grew in strength and remains strong today. Doesn’t this all illustrate the fraternal maxim of brotherly love.
We move forward to the early years of the 21st century, when there was a plethora of Candidates for Initiation, a saturation which many Lodges will have envied. In my oration I have purposely avoided naming individual brethren who founded and maintained the strength of the Lodge, It would be invidious to do so. Every Lodge owes its strength to every single member of the lodge.
A line of gold running through the lodge’s history, since its early years, has been its generous devotion to the charitable aims of Freemasonry, and massive sums have been raised for charitable purposes. It shows the very best of masonic virtues.
But when we celebrate the Lodge, we don’t celebrate the name of a Lodge, but we celebrate and record our thanks to the worthy men who founded the Lodge, who nurtured it, through good times and difficult periods. No one promised that life was a rose garden. But the Lodge Brethren showed dogged perseverance, determination that the Lodge would survive and succeed. And at a time like this we do not merely look back, but we look forward to a radiant future for Edgware Lodge.
It has been my privilege to deliver this oration with pride in this important milestone in the life of this, Edgware Lodge, and in doing so I wish the present and future brethren of Edgware Lodge every success in future years.
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