Originally written and included in the Lodge centenary book ‘Our First One Hundred Years’ 1898—1998 : by W Bro. Douglas Innell
While researching for information about our Lodge, I found much more detail in the Summons than in the minute books. It is therefore unfortunate that copies go back only as far as February 1926.
It is of particular interest to me that the agenda for the meeting included the joint initiation of my father, Frank Innell and Bert Allen. My father remained a Master Mason and Bert was promoted to the Acting Rank of Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
I have obtained the above two Summonses from the museum at Grand Lodge dated 1901 which have a photograph of the members of the Lodge in front of the Masonic Hall. Another, dated 1905, shows just a picture of the Masonic Hall.
On reading the old summonses it is amazing to see how much work was done at each meeting.
For example: 20th March 1926, the Lodge was opened at 4.45pm. Bro. Storrar and Bro. Calcutt were Raised, Bro. Innell and Bro. Allen were Passed and Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Sorrell were initiated - plus, of course, the usual opening, closing, minutes, etc., of normal procedures. Dinner was at 7pm. There is no mention of the Lodge being called off and called on!
For years afterwards every meeting followed a similar pattern, with double raisings, double Passings and double Initiations.
Hardly a year went past without at least, one extra ‘Emergency Meeting’ to Pass or Raise a Brother. No explanation is given for the reasons for such emergencies, except during the war, when if a Brother happened to be on leave he would be available and could be progressed.
For the first time the Summons for the October meeting of 1936 listed the names of all the members. At that time there were 164 members – about 100 more than we have at present! Only 15 of those were joining members, so everyone else was initiated into the Lodge.
War broke out on 3rd September 1939 and the Summons for the October meeting had printed inside: “The Board of General Purposes have decided to hold Lodge meetings as usual.” The subscription for 1939-40 to be £1.1.0d (one guinea), the supper after the meeting to be 10/- (ten shillings) inclusive of refreshments.
The only indications in the Summons during that period that there was a war on was a notice asking Brethren who could do so to attend a memorial service at Prittlewell Church for Pilot Officer Bro. Joe Saddler, who was killed in action in February 1941.
Dress for the meetings suggested Service or morning dress.
A number of members of the Forces were initiated, in particular several serving in the Royal Navy.
During the war years, Albert Lucking’s insignia was not included on the Summons. It did not return until the November meeting of 1947.
In October 1946, the subscription went up to four guineas a year (payable in advance). This rose to five guineas in October 1950 and dinner was then included in the subscription.
In 1950, it was decided that meetings would in future be limited to two degrees. Until then three degrees with two candidates for each degree was a normal meeting and a tea break was taken as well. Officers, especially the Deacons, had their work cut out for them in those days!
For the meeting held on the 18th October 1952 the Lodge banner was reproduced on the front cover. This was the Installation Meeting and also the Ceremony of Dedication of the Lodge Banner.
The presentation was made by W.Bro. A.A.W. Simmonds PGD., PPGW., Provincial Grand Secretary and the Consecration and Dedication by W. Bro. Rev. P.C. Lee MA., Provincial Grand Chaplain.
Following the ceremony the new Master was installed and appointed his officers, Grand Lodge Certificates were presented to four members and all sat down to dine at 7pm.
There is no record of why the Banner was dedicated, or if it was a new one to replace one which by then would have been 50 years old.
In October 1993, W. Bro. Fred Steed and W. Bro. Maurice Sharp presented the Lodge with a new Banner.
This was a token of appreciation by Fred for his Grand Lodge honours and Maurice celebrating his 40 years in the Lodge.
A request was made to the Province that this Banner should be dedicated. But, that’s another story!
In April 1953, W. Bro. Arthur David Cotgrove died. He had been Secretary of the Lodge for nearly 50 years.
W. Bro. Edgar Whittle took over for the next five years and then in 1957 W. Bro. Reginald Cotgrove carried out the Secretary’s duties until just before his death in 1964.
So all in all, the Lodge has had a Cotgrove looking after its interests of the members for the best part of 58 years.
In honour and recognition of both these very worthy Brethren our ‘Famous Fish Night’ has been regularly held at the March meeting.
It proved so popular in the past that we had as many as 182 members and guests sitting down to dine! Unfortunately, with dining fees as they are now, members would need to have very friendly bank managers to be able to invite half a dozen guests!
UPDATE - 1998 to date…
Since the above was written the summons basic layout has not changed over the past 50 years or so until 2009 when its production radically changed - with the advent of home printing it is now designed and printed ‘at home’ on a PC and emailed to all members; the size has also been reduced to a folded A4.
Regardless of this the quality and appearance has been maintained and therefore we anticipate this format should be ‘good to go’ for the next period of time.