The Old Alleynian Lodge is one of nearly 8,000 masonic Lodges warranted by the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). Based in London it is also a member of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London, of which all London Lodges are members. We are in good health with a membership of around 40 - and there are more than 200,000 Freemasons nationally and almost 6 million globally.
Founded in 1920, the Lodge has recently celebrated its Centenary year, albeit virtually. Among its membership the Lodge has boasted many eminent OAs including most notably Sir Ernest Shackleton, who was a founding member of the Lodge, whose heroic explorations are still held in high esteem, especially by the Dulwich community and also by Freemasons.
The original founding purpose of the Lodge was to provide ‘a gathering where men of every school generation are at home with one another’, and 100 years later that original purpose is still being fulfilled, with members from their early twenties to their early nineties.
Today, membership of the Lodge is open to former pupils of the school as well as past and present teaching staff. As would be expected of any OA society, they come from all walks of life, backgrounds and occupations. Our diverse membership currently includes students, accountants, solicitors, builders, business owners, doctors and teachers.
The traditional values of Freemasonry are "Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth", which are now expressed as Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity. Hence Freemasonry is seen by many members as a refuge from the main sources of division within society, to unite men of all backgrounds, races, political beliefs and religions in a common unifying association where all are welcome and work in harmony with one another. Freemasonry and its teachings become the common bond - indeed, even discussion of politics and religion may not take place within a masonic Lodge. One of the great additional benefits of the Old Alleynian Lodge is its close link with the College.
The relationship between the OA Lodge and the College has been a highly valued and long lasting one. We have been able to hold our meetings at the College by the kind permission of successive Masters since 1989. Needless to say, members of the OA Lodge are keen supporters of the school’s efforts, particularly the Bursary Appeal. For many members, the OA Lodge acts as their most tangible connection with the College, and being able to visit the school regularly is a true privilege which all members greatly value.
The relationship between the OA Lodge and the Alleyn Club is equally well established. The annual Alleyn Club Dinner is a firm date in members’ diaries and we will usually host our own table or two. The support that the Lodge has generously received from the Alleyn Club has been invaluable, with grants enabling us to restore antique Lodge furniture, and to create a scheme to reduce costs for new young members. This connection has recently been further strengthened by the assistance provided by OA Lodge members to the Alleyn Club food bank.
Charity is a fundamental aspect of Freemasonry, with £42m given to both masonic and non-masonic causes in 2019. The most recent charity appeal in London was in support of the London Fire Brigade. This raised £2.5m to purchase two ‘Super Hi-Lift’ turntable vehicles in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. There is, however, a larger recent history of charitable support for the emergency services: you will find the masonic ‘square and compasses’ liveried not only to the new turntable vehicles but also on many London Ambulance rapid response cars and even the London Air Ambulance.
So whether you want to follow in the masonic footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton, or if the charitable endeavours of the organisation have a a special appeal to you - or even if you just like the sound of a masonic lodge that meets at the College - there is no doubting that the OA Lodge and Freemasonry in general will have something to offer you.