Lodge History 1877 – 1977
General Interesting Information 1877 – 1902
During the early part of the Lodge’s existence, meetings of all kinds were held, regular lodge meetings, emergency, audit, reference, special, general; all faithfully recorded in the minute books.
After awhile, with the Lodge rapidly gaining members, it was felt that the number of meetings could be reduced, June, July and August meetings being cancelled.
Installation meetings being held each November, until 1891, then each January until 1941 (fifty years) War time uncertainty of meetings and meeting places caused a further amendment when Arthur Coventry was installed in April 1942 and installation meetings have been held each April ever since. Meetings held in May ceased to exist after May 1938.
Steady progress of the Lodge ensued with several joining members and new members, the latter all recorded in The Declaration Book. Members being drawn from all walks of life and various districts, mainly of course from Camberley and Yorktown, but Berkshire residents also were very prominent from Reading, Wokingham, Crowthorne and Sandhurst, many of whom travelled by rail to Blackwater and then a comparatively short walk to The Duke of York, along unlit roadways, or by horsedrawn carriages.
Our first meeting place, The Duke of York Hotel, built in 1850, had many proprietors, among whom was Bra. H. Whale (Founder Member), followed by Bro. Preece, both members of the Lodge.
During the initiation of W. H. Twort, 26th May, 1880 the ceremony was interrupted by a noise from an adjoining room. It proved to be one of Bro. Preece’s female servants. She was promptly removed by Bro Latham, acting inner guard. Bro. Preece was invited into the Lodge, so that members could call his attention to the repeated interruptions and discomforts
suffered by the members since Bro, Preece had been proprietor. Bro, Preece was not at home. This interruption had obviously no effect on Bro. Twort’s first impression of Freemasonry. 5 months later, having been passed in June and raised in July, Bro. Twort was elected Treasurer, his first spell, later to be a long continuous occupation of this office.
In 1881 Bro. McLaughlin wanted to resign whilst in office as Senior Warden; a letter was sent explaining that he could not resign whilst in office. He accepted this situation and thanked the W.M. for arranging a deputy, as pressure of business prevented his regular attendance. This situation resulted in W.Bm. Westall serving 2 years as W.M. Bro. Westall commemorated his high office by giving the Lodge a Senior Warden’s Chair and at the end of his second year a W.M. Chair.
During these 2 years a sum of £15 was refunded to 5 Founder Members (£3 each). Ten guineas donated to the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, esuring a vote in perpetuity to this charity. Bro. Payne, Tyler, was in slight financial difficulty and he was relieved of this distress from the Almoner’s Fund.
The Provincial G.M. wrote a letter to the Lodge stating that he had been informed that a feeling among the members existed against the admission of N.C.O.’s of the Army into the Lodge.
It was unanimously resolved that a reply be sent immediately contradicting such a report. There were certainly many unsuccessful ballots during the early years and all sorts of rumours and intrigues were obviously indulged, but lack of real communication was probably the reason for misunderstandings of this nature.
In March 1882 the Provincial Grand Lodge of Surrey was opened at The Assembly Rooms, Bagshot by General Brownrigg on the occasion of the Duke of Connaught laying the foundation stone of St. Anne’s Church, with full Masonic honours.
Twenty six members of Albert Edward Lodge were present, including His Royal Highness, who was an honorary member, easily outnumbering any other Lodge in the Province.
In November 1883 a committee meeting was held at The Great Western Hotel, Reading to consider plans for the Installation Meeting to be held at The Cambridge Hotel, Camberley, later that month.
As a matter of interest, The Cambridge Hotel was built in 1827 and therefore is celebrating 150 years in Camberley.
W.Bro. E. Nichols was installed, who then presented cuffs for the W.M. and Wardens.
On Lady Day 1884 a list of members was supplied to the Clerk of Peace for Surrey.
The election for W.M. took place on October 29th, 1884 and a tie resulted; Bro. Lendrim and Bro, Higerty. There is no denying that Bro. Lendrirn was a popular member, always at hand to take any office, certainly always a force to be considered.
The W.M. had the casting vote and in his wisdom declared Bro. Higerty Master elect.
February 25th i885, Mr. J. Harnack, Controller of House for H.R.H.’ The Duke of Connaught was initiated.
A number of apologies received, mainly by telegram, a common means of communication in those days.
W.Bm. Westall proposed as Honorary Member. Passed unanimously.
Discussions took place with the landlady of The Cambridge Hotel (Mrs. Hallett) regarding rent and tariff. Liquid refreshments would be reduced in price, but supper would remain at 3/- per head.
In Mav 1886 David Sparvill, Baker, was initiated. Bro, Sparvell became a very prominent citizen. of Camberley and Chairman of the Frimley. and Camberley Urban District Council, and lived well into his ninetres.
In this year it is interesting to note that the Secretary was invited to dine at the Lodge’s expense.
1887 Jubilee Year and a Jubilee Meeting was held at Grand Lodge, 5 members allowed to attend at one guinea each.
A new harmonium was purchased, but later an organ was authorised to be purchased and 20 members, all listed in the minute book, each contributed half a guinea towards the cost.
Such was the affinity of the members of the Lodge to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, that on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter, H.R.H. Princess Louise of Wales to the Earl of Fife, a Mr. Pountney of Caversham was commissioned to prepare an address on vellum which carried hearty and fraternal congratulations.
The vellum was despatched in a blue moroccan case to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales from Albert Edward Lodge 1714.
In 1890 the Lodge Benevolent Fund was formed, rules created and passed unanimously.
Bro. E. Nichols presented the Lodge with Masonic Allegorical Engravings.
An emergency meeting was held on December l st, 1890 because of the sudden death of Edwin Nichols at the installation banquet. The Brethren proceeded to Farnborough for the funeral, full Masonic ceremony with about 100 Masons attending.
A little later Bro. Daniels, proprietor of The Cambridge Hotel, died and thoughts of removal back to The Duke of York were reconsidered.
November 25th, 1891 the Lodge was host to the P.G.M. of Surrey, Colonel Gerard Noel Money, CB.
The death of Bro, W. J. Lendrim sadly recorded. Ten guineas was voted immediately to Mrs. Lendrirn. Later Twenty Pounds was voted to Mrs. Lendrirn.
Meetings were resumed at The Duke of York Hotel and during the next few years quite a lot of discord occurred within the Lodge.
Joining members complained of not being given the opportunity of standing for W.M. Allegations of fraudulent use of subscriptions were made, all denied. Irregular procedure for the election of W.M. was referred to an emergency meeting. W.Bro, Lt. Bunting declared that Bro. Norman was elected under a mis-
apprehension and that part of the minutes should be deleted. Motion carried by 23 votes to 19. In December another vote took place and the voting was 23 in favour of W.Bro. Lt. Bunting and 15 in favour of Bro. Norman.
In January W.Bro. Bunting was installed as W.M. for the second time. Later Bro, Twort was elected Treasurer and he fervently asked the members for a better understanding and feeling between them so that the Lodge could prosper, otherwise all the Lodge property woud be valued, those wishing to resign could take their share. Happily this did not occur, W.Bro. Twort’s influence and integrity prevailed and the Lodge really did prosper.
In February 1893 the Lodge contributed the sum of 5 guineas towards the bells for St. Michael’s Church, suitably acknowledged by Reverend F. M. Middleton.
Bro. H. Savage, one of the first initiates, was in financial difficulties and to alleviate his distress quickly, the W.M. suggested “a whip round with the hat” and he personally woud contribute half a guinea.
The end of the stormy period of 1892-93 was a letter from the Provincial Grand Secretary criticising the W.M.; a vote of confidence was taken and carried. Subsequently Bro. Norman. at the centre of the controversy was elected Master Elect. His installation attracted the P.G.M. and Grand Secretary of England.
Captain Bunting congratulated on his promotion, a fitting end to his Mastership of the Lodge.
March 1895 Collars and Cuffs should be cleaned at not more than one shilling each. Although economy and thrift was exercised in the Lodge, charitable assistance was liberally given, quite often in strange ways. Five guineas to Mrs. Street to help repair her
house, £4. 4. 6d. to Bro. Bunce loaned to assist in payment of his arrears and dues.
January 1896, a letter of condolence to Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the death of her son, Prince Henry of Battenburg, suitably acknowledged by the Secretary of State, Home Office, Whitehall.
As the end of the century approached the Lodge continued to expand, with joining members and initiates from Wokingham, Crowthorne, Sandhurst and Yorktown. February 1898 meeting included an initiation, passing and four raisings.
Contributions were made to the Duke of Leeds fund, the Grand Master’s fund to relieve Masonic Lodges in South Africa, which had suffered during the Boer War.
Several members thought that the Benevolent Fund was really a Bank from which they could borrow money. W.Bro. Watts on his appointment to a post at Dover requested a loan of £11 for removal expenses. This was later withdrawn and Bro. Watts was loaned money just to pay his arrears.
In 1900 Bro. Lardiner, proprietor of the Duke of York, requested the Lodge to find alternative accommodation. The White Hart, Blackwater, was put forward as a possible venue, but after a lot of discussion, Bro Lardiner reconsidered his request.
1901 the death of Queen Victoria, resulting in Albert Edward Prince of Wales, becoming King Edward VII.
In October 1901 Colonel John Davis, P.G.M., visited the Lodge.
December 1902, new licensing laws introduced and a letter from Grand Lodge stated that it was not right to introduce wine at an Installation Meeting to toast the new W.M. in Lodge. .
A Coronation photograph of members of the Lodge was taken.