AN UPDATE FROM THE KENT CLUB FOR LONDON FREEMASONS
By W. Bro Richard Criddle, Club Secretary
The committee has been busy arranging interesting events for the 300 or so Club members.
But first, a bit of a retrospective… in the last edition of ARENA, we promised to give you some detail regarding an event our Events Officer, Bro Daoud Himmo, organised, which featured stories from several Freemasons about Lodges that have re-invented themselves.
Firstly, we heard from W Bro William Urquhart LGR, who, along with W Bro Matthew Murdoch LGR, took Northern Polytechnic Lodge into the Universities Scheme. This was followed by Metropolitan Grand Inspector, W Bro Julian Soper PSGD, who discussed some of the elements looked for in those Lodges wishing to join the Scheme, which included, for example, a Lodge with a great standard of ritual and a core team in place but perhaps with an ageing membership and lower attendance numbers.
W Bro Ivor Macklin PAGDC then related how he got together with a group of Metropolitan Escorting Officers over lunch, during which they jointly conceived the idea of starting a Lodge for Active and Past Escorting Officers. He talked about some of the detail and persistence required to find a suitable Lodge to start that particular initiative.
We then moved onto Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master, VW Robert Grant PGSwdB, who discussed his initial sadness at watching one of his Lodges, The Lodge of St James No 765, come close to closure – but that, with the enthusiasm and support of a number of Freemasons, they managed to turn its fortunes around. His passion for golf and his awareness that golf is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK led him to seek assistance from several supportive and enthusiastic brothers to transform it into a Golf Lodge (see next article).
Next up was Metropolitan Grand Inspector W Bro John Parry PSGD, who talked about special interest ideas more generally mentioning that there are some ten special interest Lodges in the pipeline. These Lodges look to retain their existing members and it generally takes approximately two years to achieve transition.
We will be releasing recordings from the Building and Re-Building Lodges Zoom event in due course, so keep an eye on our Facebook page, or please reach out to the Kent Club team via our website if you are interested in watching them.
As a break from Zoom, early one Saturday morning, our Club Chairman, W Bro Gary Beckwith PAGStdB, Metropolitan Grand Communications Officer W Bro Omaid Hiwaizi SLGR, the MetGOrator and various other Kent Club members gathered outside the Blind Beggar pub in East London to meet actor W Bro Vasta Blackwood. Bro Vas recounted some of the East End history that he studied when preparing for his role in the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. He took us on a tour of some of the key places of East London’s past that feature in one of the scenes from the film. At the end of the tour, several attendees celebrated at a local pub before moving to the Blues Kitchen. The exact details of the tour are being kept private to ensure there are no spoilers for those wishing to join next year – please let us know if you would like to come along.
Kent Club members Bro Anoirel Issa, Bro Jamie McCrudden and Bro Iain Saxton, joined committee members Bro James Squirrell, Bro Norman Jones and Bro Daoud Himmo at this year’s Lord Mayor’s show to walk with the London Freemasons’ float around the City of London. This year we were delighted to see that the Metropolitan events team had arranged for the recently commissioned Hi-Rise lift fire engine to be displayed in front of the Lord Mayor’s stand in full view and with its ladder extended to its full 64m height. The Kent Club team began walking with another fire engine, interacting with the tens of thousands of people lining the route. After a quick pitstop, the team began marching on to the second half of the journey, which then ended with some drinks and food at a local restaurant.
Then in December, we hosted a talk by W Bro Martin Faulks LGR, entitled A Laudable Pursuit: Masonic Memory and Self Improvement in Early English Freemasonry. Bro Martin, a Masonic author and memory expert, used contemporary Masonic writings, memory manuals and diaries to apply the methods of the 18th century to his own Masonry in a talk which not only offered a fascinating insight into the history of Freemasonry but also gave a few practical tips that we too can use from time-tested memory methods.
Looking ahead, we are planning a visit to Taurus Lodge No 3981, which is attached to the Worshipful Company of Butchers. Also in the pipeline is a wine-tasting evening at the Winemakers’ Club in Farringdon, a talk by some Grand Stewards about the history of the Red Apron Lodges in general and the Grand Stewards Lodge in particular. We will be inviting a few of our more active members to visit the Escorting Officers’ Lodge and which meets at the Great Hall of St Barts, and we will also be heading to a special military lodge in a unique setting.
Details of these and all our forthcoming events can be found on our website – londonfreemasons.club – and on our Facebook group. Membership costs just £10 a year, but if you attend our annual dinner (which is always held in a prestigious venue), your ticket price is reduced by £10 – meaning your club membership is free!
And if you would like to get involved in helping to run the Club, then please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 47 January 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 47 here.