Lodge History 1877 – 1977

General Interesting Information 1953 – 1977

W.Bro. A. Coventry in 1954 and W.Bro. R. H. White in 1957 both received Grand Lodge Honours. In 1957 W.Bro. H. J. Pool initiated his son-in-law, L. H. Carr and in 1958 W.Bro. H. Hedges initiated his son-in-law, R. H. Lock.

Harold Hedges was for many years preceptor of Albert Edward Lodge of Instruction and always could be relied upon to step in at a moment’s notice to fill an office or conduct a ceremony. His influence and indeed his success in teaching, has been much appreciated by the Lodge, many members owe their standards to Harold, not the least being Ron Lock, following the example of his father-in-law, much respected W.Bro. Harold Hedges.

Fathers initiating sons continued, this pleasure being enjoyed by W.Bro. PhiIip Griffin, W.Bro. Ernest Deacon and W.Bm. S. G. Goodfellow.

The last 25 years of our history is obviously very clear in the minds of most of the members and undoubtedly the most important factor was the purchase by the Lodge of the share capital of Agincourt Hall Ltd.

The building fund was resumed in 1956, several meetings took place regarding the desirability and indeed the possibility of this project.

In September 1960 the purchase of Agincourt Hall Ltd. was confirmed and in December 1960 a vote of confidence was given to W.Bro. Hitchcock and W.Bro Richard White in their handling of the company’s business.

In February 1961 a team of six from Bagshot Lodge of Instruction gave a full Second Degree Working and Lecture. Their names are duly recorded and acknowledged for a ceremony thoroughly enjoyed by those privileged and able to be present.

Among the eminent honorary members, we elected by unanimous vote, W.Bro. P. W. White in 1962, W.Bro. A. H. Coventry in 1968, W.Bro. Herbert King in 1969 and The P.G.M. Earl of Shannon in 1974.

W.Bro. Ernest Deacon was installed in 1962 and due to a resignation of one officer from the Lodge, continued as W.M. until W.Bro. Fred Cotterell was installed in April, 1964. It is fitting to report that despite long journeys from Eastleigh and an exceptionally bad winter
1962 – 1963, Ernie Deacon never faltered, carried out most of the ceremonies on his own and earned the gratitude of the Lodge for his sincere dedication and service to his Mother Lodge.

In November 1963 W.Bro. P. W. White celebrated 50 years as a member and the members of the Lodge responded by making a presentation of gold cuff links at the Festive Board to celebrate this milestone.

The regularity of our proceedings varies but slightly over the years, mainly due to strict control and observance of the Book of Constitutions. Occasionally our attention is drawn to irregularities and 3 interesting situations were properly dealt with.

The tradition of Albert Edward Lodge singing “Lead Kindly Light” when an initiate is brought into Lodge, was requested to be continued. The Provincial Grand Secretary authorised this to continue without comment.

Whilst Bro, G. Tribe was Tyler, it was noted that as he was receiving an emolument he could not be a member of the Lodge. He was therefore requested to resign in order to regularise the situation.

W.Bro. Jim Lowe had to obtain a special dispensation to become W.M. as he had not served a full year as a Warden of the Lodge.

In 1965 Bro. G. Tribe due to ill heath had to resign as Tyler; he was succeeded by Bro. W. Nethercliffe. A cheque for £75 on behalf of Albert Edward Camberley and Agincourt Lodges was sent to Bro. Tribe and he suitably acknowledged this appreciation of his services.

During the fairly affluent years of the 60″s/70’s the Lodge acquired a new carpet, the United Masonic Club contributed, from their profits, new seating for the Temple.

Bro. Jim Woods offered to renew all collars as he progressed from Inner Guard he also presented a Table Lectern for the Secretary’s Table. Later W.Bro. Jim and son Bro. Michael contributed a superbly embroidered table cloth for the Secretary’s Table.

W.Bro. George Porter celebrating 30′ years a member, contributed 3 new gavels and Bro. O. G. Rideout supplied a frame for the Warrant, W.Bro. H. J. Pool presented the Lodge with a box for the Working Tools, made by Bro, Belman.

Brother Harold Cox made and presented a handsome frame for the Centenary Warrant. W.Bro. Arthur Lunn presented to the Lodge at the Centenary Meeting a magnificent centenary cushion, which he embroidered himself. No mean achievement for a dedicated Mason, past his three score and ten years.

The Lodge contributed by 100% membership, to the 250th Anniversary Fund in 1967 and acquired a commemorative jewel, now adorning the W.M.’s collar.

In 1966 W.Bro. Bill Hampshire joined the Lodge and in. a very short time, was installed as Master and in 1970 succeeded W.Bro. H. J. Pool as Secretary. A position he has occupied with distinction ever since, contributing more to this job than any predecessor, particularly in handling the involved and complicated arrangements to celebrate our Centenary in 1977. The successful meeting duly held, will serve forever as a fitting tribute to a willing and able Secretary and Past Master.

The late 60’s and early 70’s inexorably took their toll of some of our revered members; first Richard White in 1968, Percy White (Senior) and A. T. C. Lunn in 1969, Herbert King in 1972. Also at this time, a little known member, not even raised to a M.M., Bro. Denis Smith, was killed in a road accident in Spain, leaving a widow and two daughters.

Su ccessful petitions were made on behalf of the two daughters, the elder receiving full education as a boarder at the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, Rickmansworth, and the younger daughter still receives education at The Elmhurst School, Camberley, her fees being paid by the State and the R.M.LG.

W.Bro. Hitchcock continued his services as Treasurer, also was elected Chairman of Agincourt Hall Ltd., and became the first Master of a new lodge, The Rose of Hampshire and first chairman of the new Rushmoor District Council His death in 1974 was lamented by many people from all walks of life, not least being members of Albert Edward Lodge.

W.Bro. Bert Rumble was installed in April 1974, but ill health resulted in early retirement and unavoidable absence from the Lodge. W.Bro. Jim Lowe, himself recovering from a serious illness, did a remarkable job as I.P.M. and indeed assuming all the responsibility of the Lodge and standing in for Bert, His dedication received the congratulations he richly deserved .

Our oldest serving member, Bro. C. B. Hutton, thanks to W.Bro. Jim Woods was brought regularly to Lodge meetings. Bro. Hutton, with his brother, W. G. Hutron, also a member, were dental mechanics and always lived in Reading.

Brother Hutton was so delighted in his declining years to receive warm brotherly love from the Albert Edward Lodge, that he made provision in his will to leave the Lodge a certain amount of money. The money could not be mentioned, as it was a balance after certain relatives, etc., had been duly paid. It turned out to be a sum in excess of £2,500.

In 1975 the Directors of Agincourt Hall Ltd., under the Chairmanship of Percy White Junior, brought the attention of Lodge members of certain proposals from the tenant of Agincourt Hall.

Briefly it entailed an extension of the tenant’s lease at a favourable rental. In return the tenant would’ spend certain sums of money to improve the decor essential repairs, modernisation of the kitchen, new bar, improved toilet facilities, etc.

All catering and bar service would be in the hands of the tenant and the Lodges would lose all control over the caterer and the’ United Masonic Club would cease, denying members the use of their own bar. Several discussions took place, with arguments being put forward by both sides, those in favour and those against.

Eventually at a meeting on November 5th, 1975, presumably without any fireworks, W.Bros. Hampshire, Pay, Warsop and Lock accepted on behalf of the Lodge, Agincourt Hall Ltd. proposals.

The representatives of the Lodge as trustee directors were W.Bros. E. Deacon, G. Porter and G. Fidler.

The last mentioned, Bro. Gilbert, enjoyed over 40 years membership of the Lodge; he succeeded Bill Hitchcock as Treasurer and his great affection for the Lodge was always apparent by his willingness to conduct ceremonies and assist in every possible way. III health made him resign as Treasurer in 1976 and his death is recorded in September 1977, just before the Centenary Meeting he was looking forward to so much.

Another Brother, much respected W. T. Cleeves, D.C.M., enjoyed 40 years membership in February 1977; his regular visits to the Lodge are thanks to W.Bro. John Warsop.

Sometimes we tend to overlook the services of the Stewards, particularly the dining stewards. Two names should be mentioned, our late W.Bro. Arthur Huntley, who had spent a considerable time in Chile. He was P.M. Straits of Magellan Lodge No. 68. Punta Arenas, Chile (C.c.). What a grand fellow Arthur Huntley was; a ready smile, efficient handling of the dining arrangements and a willingness to accept any duty. His sudden death in October 1975 was a sad blow to the Lodge. The generosity of Mrs. Huntley, their son and Arthur’s twin sister is much appreciated. All contributions were made to The Royal Masonic Hospital on behalf of our Centenary Fund, to Arthur’s memory.

Our present Dining Secretary is Charles Smith, who is proving to be a very worthy successor and his handling of the Centenary Dinner was exemplary.

W.Bro. Fred Cotterell, our Almoner. has done dedicated work among the sick and the widows, and his regular visits at Christmas time with small gifts is very much appreciated by the recipients.

The culmination of our 100 years was the celebration of our Centenary on October 5th, 1977.

A lovely Church Service at St. Paul’s Church, Camberley ,our appreciation to W.Bro. Fred Cotterell for the arrangements.

A well organised and superb Lodge Meeting at the Civic Hall, Camberley; due credit to our D.C., W.Bro. George Porter, ably assisted by our A.D.C., W.Bro. John Warsop.

The near perfection performance by our W.M. Mike Alliott and his officers had to be seen to be believed.

The Festive Board that followed could not be faulted and our thanks to W.Bro. N. C. Vine for his catering par excellence.

To finalise this chronicle of events, due tribute must be given to all the members, whose generosity enabled us to donate well over £5000 to The Royal Masonic Hospital and a bed will be endowed in our name to celebrate our Centenary in this practical and positive way.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this story, as much as I have enjoyed writing it. It is the story of men, our brothers, with the background of family life, reaching out to all mankind with brothery love, relief and truth. If we continue for the next 100 years as we have for the first 100 years, our successors will delight in the knowledge that The AlbertEdward Lodge 1714 had its foundations well and truly laid.