In the Beginning

The Manor of Bexley Lodge was formed on October 29, 1943 when the Founders-Designate met at the Masonic Hall, Bexleyheath, to discuss the formation of a new Lodge in view of the growth of population since 1927, when the last Lodge was founded, from 24,000 to, in 1939, 80,000. With this increase, the three existing Lodges working in the Borough of Bexley were full so the formation of a new Lodge was of paramount importance.

In 1943 when the first of the meetings of the Founders-Designate took place Britain was at war with Germany nnd, Although it was never considered as such, was an act of faith in our ultimate victory by all concerned.

Due to nightly air-raids, the blackout, the uncertainty of travel facilities and other inconveniences some of the meetings took place on Sunday mornings and afternoons at Print Works House, Crayford, at the kind invilntion of Bro. Percy Stewart, a Founder-Designate. At the first meeting at this venue on December 5, 1943 at 3 p.m. the following items were discussed:

Name of Lodge

Number of Founders, limited to 30

Founders' Fee  6 guineas

Initiation Fee/Joining Fee, 20 guineas/5 guineas

Annual Subscriptions, 4 guineas

Ritual to be worked.  Strict Emulation

Banner (question to be deferred until after the War!)

Lodge Committee

Dress at Meetings (due to clothing rationing, evening dress was considered inappropriate)

Place of Meetings.  Bexleyheath Masonic Hall.

At a meeting of the Founders-Designate held at the same venue on Sunday December 19, 1943 at 3 p.m. the name of the Lodge was proposed by W. Bro. S. A. Jenkins, P.P.S.G.D. as "The Manor of Bexley Lodge". This was seconded by W. Bro. L. L. Lonsdale, P.P.S.G.D. and carried unanimously. Bro. Wicks and Bro. Buckland were thanked for the suggestion and research. The Lodge takes its name from the Manor of Bexley whose Charter was granted in the year 814 by Cenulph, King of Mercia, to Wilfred, Archbishop of Canterbury, for the use of Christ Church.

The place of meeting to be the Masonic Hall, Bexleyheath, on the fourth Saturday in March (Installation), April, May and September. It was decided that the number of Founders be limited to 25 by a majority vote. The Ritual to be worked Emulation. Gavelkind Lodge No. 4266 was to be asked to be the sponsoring Lodge due to the fact that the majority of the Founders-Designate were members of that. (This that Lodge did in true Masonic spirit. W. Bro. H. C. Ward, the Worshipful Master of Gavelkind Lodge proved to be a very good friend and his gift of the Worshipful Master's and Wardens' Collars and Jewels was very much appreciated.)

The Brethren were asked for nominations for Master-Designate and after W. Bros. E. S. Downes, L.G.R. and L. L. Lonsdale, P.P.J.G.D. had declined, Bro. F. Shallcross proposed and Bro. W. C. Brentnall seconded W. Bro. M. D. H. Garrett. This proposition was carried unanimously, as was the proposition to nominate Bro. G. F. Baker for Senior Warden. However, two names were submitted for the Office of Junior Warden - Bro. A. Gleeson and Bro. P. J. Stewart. A ballot was taken and Bro. Stewart was elected by a majority of 12 to 6. The rest of the Officers to be appointed by the Worshipful Master.

On May 13, 1944 the Acting Secretary, Bro. G. G. Adams, dispatched a letter and the Petition to W. Bro. F. J. Bryan, the Provincial Grand Secretary, stating the reasons for the Petitioners' application for another Lodge in Bexleyheath.

In October 1944 Bro. Adams was able to send out a statement that the Manor of Bexley Lodge No. 5977 was to be Consecrated at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London W.C. on Thursday, November 23, 1944 at 2.45 p.m.

As Suite 17 at Freemasons' Hall had accommodation for only 150 it was confidently anticipated that every seat would be filled. This proved to be correct - the total number attending was 13 Consecrating Officers, 21 Founders-Designate and 119 visitors -153!

The luncheon prior to the Consecration was at the Connaught Rooms at 1.00 p.m. and consisted of:

Creme Persanne

Venison Jardiniere

Macaroni

Potatoes

Apple Pudding

Coffee

and cost 25 shillings inclusive of wines, beers and gratuities!

On Sunday, January 14, 1945 a further meeting of the Founders was held and the following gentlemen were interviewed for proposed membership of the Lodge: Messrs. A. W. Bragg, Dr. Charles Morgan, O. C. Stevens, A. E. Fowler-Tutt and R. P. Dunwoodie. It was unanimously decided that they be" recommended to the Lodge for membership.

 

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