Lodge History

The Harrow Temple in Unity Lodge is an amalgamation of 3 lodges that took place in January 2011:

  • Harrow Lodge No. 1310
  • Temple of Harrow Lodge No. 8287
  • Unity and Friendship Lodge No. 8224

The story of that amalgamation can be found here.

Harrow Lodge was the oldest of the 3 lodges, consecrated way back in 1870. Below is reproduction of a pamphlet produced by Harrow Lodge's own Grand Officer W Bro Cliff Baylis to mark the 125th anniversary of the lodge in May 1995 (covering the last 25 years history up to 1995).


PROVINCE OF MIDDLESEX

HARROW LODGE No 1310

Date of Warrant 11 April 1870
Centenary Warrant 6 May 1970

 125th ANNIVERSARY MEETING

2 MAY 1995

Harrow Lodge is proud of its history. It was the second Lodge to be consecrated after the formation of the Province of Middlesex and is the fifteenth in order of seniority in the Province. This Record marks the 125th anniversary and brings up to date the History written to mark the centenary.

These 25 years might seem relatively uneventful by comparison with some periods in the first 100 years, but they illustrate the continuing characteristics of the Lodge and this Record aims to provide essential information on the first quarter of its second century.

It must start with that splendid beginning - the Centenary Meeting held in Freemasons Hall on 6 May 1970 and attended by 44 members and 95 visitors, led by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Norman Moore, assisted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Dr A S Hollins and a team of 9 other Provincial officers. The highlights of the meeting were the presentation of the Centenary Warrant by the Provincial Grand Master, the dedication of the new Lodge banner, and the gift of new Working Tools by the Daughter Lodge, Harrow Progress No 5964, which celebrated its own Golden Jubilee on 14 July 1994.

Thereafter the Lodge resumed a more normal pattern. Meetings continued to be held at the Harrow District Masonic Centre. Membership declined fairly steadily from 80 in 1970 to 51 in 1995 (dining members from 45 to 26) and now includes only 11 who were members at the time of the Centenary meeting. Of these, 6 are Past Masters, but only one is on the dining list and able to attend regularly. In these 25 years 62 new members were initiated or joined; in addition to deaths there were 13 resignations and 5 exclusions.

The number of meetings each year was increased to 5 in 1982 with the addition of November to the traditional months of May, June, July and September. But a decline in work led to a reversal to 4 in 1991, omitting the July meeting so as to retain a wider spread over the year. There were 108 meetings in these 25 years. Two degrees were worked on 48 occasions and at 8 meetings candidates were initiated, passed or raised in pairs. Only once was there no degree performed (the first time since 1939). In November 1990 R M Burns conducted instead a Question and Answer based on the First Degree Lecture. All in all the Lodge has maintained its reputation as “gluttons for work”!

The figures on Page 8 reveal that attendance at meetings also declined over the 25 years. After a temporary increase in the 1980s, attendance now averages a little over 20 members. The decline in the number of visitors has been more marked in recent years to an average below 10. This might be due to financial considerations. In 1970 the annual subscriptions were £10 dining members, £3 non-dining and £1.50 visitors; in 1995 the corresponding figures are £95, £45 and £12 - increases above the rate of inflation (a factor of almost 8 over these 25 years) except for visitors’ dining charge.

The Lodge has been fortunate in keeping continuity in the principal offices of Secretary and Treasurer as follows:

SECRETARY

  • H W Cole - (1962 - 71)
  • A J Davis - (1971 - 80)
  • D Stuart - (1980 - )

TREASURER

  • C J W Proctor - (1959 - 76)
  • H T Fromant - (1976 - 88)
  • G E George - (1988 - 91)
  • R J Kelsey - (1991- )

Worshipful Masters are listed later and have invariably been elected on the principle of promotion from Senior Warden without contest. So far it has not been necessary for any Master to serve a second term.

The Lodge of Instruction has continued its invaluable work, but has experienced greater difficulties in recent years. The location changed after many years at the Beehive, Crawford Street to the Laurie Arms, Crawford Place in 1974, to The Knights of St John, Queens Terrace in 1976 and to the South East St Pancras Conservative Club, Argyle Square in 1992. Falling attendances and increasing costs led to a change from weekly to fortnightly meetings in 1992. The key post of Preceptor has been filled over the years by C W Bowley, F J Ryall, A J Davis, C S Holmes, R M Burns and, since 1992, P G Jiggins, who has for 20 years been a tireless worker for the Lodge and is now DC after acting as deputy to R M Burns in both capacities.

Harrow Lodge has always within living memory been proud of its reputation for very high standards in its Taylor’s Working and this has undoubtedly been due to regular attendance and hard work at LOI. It is therefore regrettable that in recent years there has been a reduction in the number of both Past Masters and newer members who attend regularly; average attendance has fallen from about 15 to under 10. This has inevitably resulted in some falling off in the standard of the ritual at Lodge meetings. Happily it can safely be said that sincerity and true Masonic spirit have been maintained in the conduct of meetings and at Festive Boards and it might well be that in the past too much emphasis had been placed on officers being word perfect for its own sake.

Miscellaneous items worthy of note are:

  1. Honorary Membership or Honoured Guest status for distinguished older members A J Cooper (1970), G A Hughes (1972), W E Raggett and L French (1983), H W Cole (1988), T W Bennett, V P W Garton and C J W Proctor (1993);
  2. the introduction of raffles in order to build up the Benevolent Fund (1978);
  3. the adoption of the revised Taylor’s Working (other than a very few Harrow Lodge traditions) (1980);
  4. the decision not to read in Open Lodge minutes of GP meetings (1983);
  5. the decision to serve wine at Festive Boards (1989);
  6. the revised form of Summons, showing for the first time members and Past Masters (1993);
  7. the continuation of successful and enjoyable annual Ladies’ Nights, organised by P G Jiggins.

Last in this Record must be mentioned two subjects which can perhaps be regarded as the most significant during these 25 years.

First, promotion to Grand Rank. Many had felt that for such an old Lodge, too few members have been honoured. In the first 100 years there were J Coutts, the Founding First Master and already a Grand Officer, Rev C J Martyn, Past Grand Chaplain, a joining member 1870-81, and A J Barrell, Secretary and Treasurer for many years, promoted in 1930 (died in 1939). He was the only Harrow Lodge man to be so honoured in the first 100 years.

Over 50 years later C H Baylis was appointed Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. He was initiated in the Lodge in 1949, Master in 1966, Almoner and then Charity Steward from 1967 to 1981, the author of the Centenary History and this Record; Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1973, Middlesex Visiting Officer for 6 years. He insists that the honour was conferred on the Lodge, even though personal to him.

In May 1992 R M Burns was appointed Past Grand Standard Bearer on promotion from Senior London Grand Rank. He was a joining member of Harrow Lodge in 1971 and soon came to regard it as the equal of his Mother Lodge. He was appointed Past Provincial Assistant Grand Registrar in 1983 and promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1989; Preceptor of the LOI 1983 - 90; Director of Ceremonies from 1986 until his tragic death at the early age of 61 in 1992 - a great loss to the Lodge.

Secondly, this period in the Lodge history saw a significant change in regard to Masonic Charities. The Centenary History records that Harrow is a “working men’s” Lodge; it has no members of “rank and opulence”. In 1970 annual donations from the Benevolent Fund to the four Masonic Charities totalled £35 - about £280 at today’s values. This figure was usually increased in line with inflation until 1987, when the Lodge received a bequest of £15,000 on the death of L French, one of the most senior members who never held office and, incidentally, the printer of the Lodge Summons for many years. In accordance with his wishes, £3,000 was given to the Royal Masonic Hospital for the purchase of some medical equipment; the balance was divided between the Benevolent Fund and a new Len French Charitable Fund. In 1988 a further £6,000 was bequeathed to the Lodge by a senior Past Master, W Harvey, and this was added to the Charitable Fund. High interest rates at that time enabled the Lodge to make annual donations totalling over £1,000 to Masonic Charities and especially to the new Middlesex Retirement Home.

In addition, energetic action by successive Charity Stewards resulted in increased donations from the annual Master’s List. Records for the full 25 years are not available, but in the last 10 years over £18,000 has been donated to Masonic Charities from this source (plus over £3,000 to Masonic and other charities from Ladies’ Festivals). The clearest recognition of this record was the visit to the Lodge in September 1991 by the Pro Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Gordon L Bourne, to mark the Lodge’s achievement as a Patron of the Retirement Home (Princess Alexandra Home).

Support for Masonic Charities from the new Charitable Fund enabled the Benevolent Fund to increase the annual Christmas gifts to widows (currently 14) and to make other donations in accordance with the By Laws. It can certainly be claimed that the Lodge has played a full part, consistent with the means of its members, in support of Masonic Charities in recent years and a special effort is being made for a contribution to the 1998 Festival for the Grand Charity worthy of the Lodge’s 125th Anniversary.

Two thoughts in conclusion. First, this Record might give the impression that everything was rather ordinary during these 25 years. There was certainly Masonic harmony at all Lodge meetings and in the conduct of affairs generally. Harrow is in fact a lively Lodge with strong personalities, but without anyone in recent years who has over-dominated. Those who have lived through this period in its history know that there have often been strong differences of opinion and arguments at GP meetings on such subjects as promotion by seniority, changes in the ritual, the future of the Hospital, the “permissive” variations in the Obligations, publicity, increasing dues payable to Grand and Provincial Lodge, etc. Such discussions and differences of opinion are inevitable and, indeed, necessary in the management of any organisation, including Masonic Lodges, and they indicate strength rather than weakness. These 25 years have given great happiness to many members of the Harrow Lodge and have demonstrated the inherent worth and true spirit of Freemasonry.

Secondly, what of the future? It is very difficult to predict now when there are conflicting circumstances affecting Freemasonry in general. There are financial constraints - subscriptions, meals and charitable donations add up to a sizeable annual sum; there is adverse publicity (in spite of effective counter publicity) which deters some new applicants; there is a general decline in respect for established institutions, coupled with increased availability of other leisure activities, in the national life. The Harrow Lodge cannot escape these wider considerations even as it benefits from the ancient virtues of Freemasonry and the pleasure it gives to those who participate fully in it. It is a truism that the more you put into Freemasonry, the more you get out of it. Harrow Lodge in 1995 is smaller than in the past, but its size is still well above average among Middlesex Lodges. It continues to attract more new entrants than many others. It has a long history and fine traditions. It has given great happiness to and received great service from large numbers of members. Given the active support of present membership, the Lodge can look forward with confidence to the next 25 years.

FOOTNOTE

It has recently come to light that the Lodge sponsored the Colindale Lodge No 3056 in 1904, ie during the period for which Minute Books, etc are missing and therefore this was not recorded in the Centenary History. The first Master of the Colindale Lodge was a Past Master of Harrow Lodge. Regular contact has now been resumed.

 

YEAR

MEMBERS

NEW INITIATES OR JOINING MEMBERS

MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM

ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS

Members    Visitors

1970

80

2

17-44                4-95

71

95

4

21-26                8-22

72

69

1

24-28              19-28

73

67

2

24-27              17-51

74

68

3

23-29              12-47

75

67

3

25-30              18-59

76

67

2

25-29              10-52

77

63

2

26-32              23-41

78

64

2

26-29              18-40

79

61

4

25-32              14-37

80

65

4

30-36              12-57

81

66

3

29-36              12-45

82

64

2

29-35              16-45

83

61

2

34-44              16-36

84

65

4

35-38              11-28

85

65

4

29-38                4-35

86

64

3

24-36              11-39

87

61

1

27-35                9-20

88

58

2

25-30                5-35

89

57

2

25-34                8-28

90

59

2

21-28                6-21

91

55

3

23-27                6-32

92

53

1

23-30                8-16

93

55

2

21-29                5-19

94

51

2

20-29                6-19

 

MASTERS 


1970 T F Bennett
1971 P D Morgan
1972 A A Flaxman
1973 C S Holmes
1974 H T Fromant
1975 R M Burns
1976 D A Fountain
1977 F L Bourlet
1978 D Stuart
1979 A L Franks
1980 P G Jiggins
1981 E Tish
1982 E P Sturgeon
1983 P R Aldous
1984 D M Cheney
1985 D N White
1986 G E George
1987 J A Flaxman
1988 N R Williams
1989 R J Kelsey
1990 J Klein
1991 A R Gebbie
1992 W G Davidson
1993 R R MacDonald
1994 J P Grant
1995 A E Cormack

  

OFFICERS OF THE LODGE 1995

W Bro A E Cormack

Worshipful Master

Bro P J Hyland

Senior Warden

Bro U H Richter

Junior Warden

W Bro J Klein, PM

Chaplain

W Bro R J Kelsey PrAGReg

Treasurer

W Bro D Stuart PPrDepGReg, PPDepGReg(Herts)

Secretary

W Bro P G Jiggins, PPrJGD

Director of Ceremonies

W Bro D M Cheney, PPrAGDC

Almoner

W Bro N R Williams, PPrAGDC

Charity Steward

Bro E M Purcell

Senior Deacon

Bro J D Wooding

Junior Deacon

W Bro D J Pearson

Assistant Director of Ceremonies

Guest

Organist

W Bro A R Gebbie, PM

Assistant Secretary

Bro A M Stobbs

Inner Guard

W Bro E Tish, PPrGSuptWks

Steward

W Bro R R MacDonald, PM

Steward

Bro C Pearce

Steward

Bro R Vessey

Steward

Bro A D Helman

Steward

Bro G G Acton

Steward

W Bro E V Everett, LGR

Tyler

W Bro J P Grant

Immediate Past Master

 

SUBSCRIBING PAST MASTERS OF AND IN THE LODGE 1995

PROCTOR  C J W

1955

RYALL F J

1961

NOBLE F A C

1965

BAYLIS C H

1966

FROMANT H T

1974

FOUNTAIN D A

1976

BOURLET F L

1977

STUART D

1978 (5599 1986)

JIGGINS P G

1980

TISH E

1981

STURGEON E P

1982

CHENEY D M

1984

WHITE D N

1985

GEORGE G E

1986

FLAXMAN J A

1987

WILLIAMS N R

1988 (9087 1989)

KELSEY R J

1989 (5984 1989)

KLEIN J

1990

GEBBIE A R

1991

MacDONALD R R

1993

GRANT J P

1994 (6696 1994)

  

MEMBERS (* denotes country member)

*

RAGGETT W E

(1933)

 

*

GARTON V P

(1943)

 

*

PROCTOR C J W

(1943)

PPrJGD

*

RYALL F J

(1946)

PPrJGD

*

NOBLE F A C

(1949)

 

 

BAYLIS C H

(1949)

PAGDC

*

JACKSON A E G

(1950)

 

*

COX G F

(1954)

 

*

BUTLER H J

(1964)

 

*

FROMANT H T

(1965)

PPrDepGReg

*

FOUNTAIN D A

(1966)

PPrJGD

 

BOURLET F L

(1970)

PPrJGD

 

STUART D

(1970)

PPrDepGReg

 

JIGGINS P G

(1971)

PPrJGD

 

TISH E

(1971)

PPrGSuptWks

*

STURGEON E P

(1973)

PPrAGDC

 

CHENEY D M

(1974)

PPrAGDC

*

GEORGE G E

(1974)

PPrJGD

 

FLAXMAN J A

(1975)

PPrAGDC

 

WILLIAMS N R

(1977)

PPrAGDC  

*

WHITE D N

(1977)

PPrGStdB

*

TIPPING D

(1979)

 

 

KLEIN J

(1979)

 

 

KELSEY R J

(1979 JM)

 

 

GEBBIE A R

(1979 JM)

PrAGReg

 

CRABB W J

(1980)

 

 

MacDONALD R R

(1981 JM)

 

*

MANUEL E J

(1981)

 

 

GRANT J P

(1981)  

 

*

ROBERTS D H

(1982)

 

 

HYLAND P J

(1983 JM)

 

 

CORMACK A E

(1983)

 

*

TOWNSEND D S

(1984)

 

*

STEWART W M

(1985)

 

*

McCANN R S

(1985 JM)

 

*

PARTRIDGE B

(1985)

 

*

McKINLEY N

(1985 JM)

 

 

TYSON M P

(1986)

 

 

RICHTER U H

(1987)

 

 

PURCELL E M

(1988)

 

*

WELCH J A

(1988)

 

*

BICKERSTAFF T

(1989)

 

  

WOODING J D

(1990)

 

*

GRACIE P A

(1990 JM)

 

*

PEARCE C

(1991)

 

 

PEARSON D J

(1991 JM)

 

 

VESSEY R

(1992)

 

  

STOBBS A M

(1993)

 

 

HELMAN A D

(1993)

 

 

ACTON G G

(1994 JM)

 

 

GUY J W

(1994)