Celebrating 100 years of continuous working
After a ten-month delay, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, our Lodge’s Centenary meeting finally took place on Thursday, October 28th 2021. There were 109 present, including 25 non-Masonic guests. The guest of honour was the Metropolitan Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder, who at the previous regular meeting had been elected an Honorary Member of the Lodge.
Each attendee’s arrival was registered in the North Cloisters, and each was given a programme for the meeting and a copy of the 24-pp. Lodge History, fresh from the printers. Members of the Lodge were each given their Centenary breast jewel, with instructions not to display it until the appropriate signal was given.
We then assembled for tea/coffee in the Lower Hall at 4.00 p.m. Those attending the Lodge meeting were due to begin donning their regalia and taking their seats in the Great Hall from 4.30 p.m., leaving the non-Masonic guests to a tour of the Archive Room (hosted by Robert Weaver and Calista Lucy). This included the Ernest Shackleton memorabilia, such as the book printed on site during one of his Antarctic expeditions, and the gems of the historical book collection. The latter included a beautifully illustrated Book of Hours. Unfortunately, a talk by Calista Lucy on the portraits of Old Alleynian VC holders lining the Lower Hall walls had to be omitted due to time constraints.
The Lodge Meeting began at 5.00 p.m. with allusion to the Dispensation granted for the Meeting. Sir Michael Snyder, announced by the Met.G.D.C., W. Bro. Guy Foster, then entered accompanied by a retinue of Metropolitan Grand Officers and other distinguished guests, and received the gavel (which he promptly returned) from our Worshipful Master, W. Bro. Roger Croucher PJGD. The W.M. then read a brief history of the Lodge prepared by W. Bro. Patrick Darby, to whom due acknowledgement was made, and the talk received warm applause. The Met.G.Sec., W. Bro. Captain David Swain, then read out the Centenary Warrant, which was handed to the Met.G.M. who presented it to our W.M. The signal was given for Centenary Jewels to be displayed. The Met.Dep.G.Chaplain, W. Bro.Niall Johnson, then delivered an Oration, reflecting on the Lodge’s first one hundred years and emphasising the importance of nurturing our junior members. There was a collection for Alms, and the Lodge was Closed. The brethren, including the Met.G.M. and other distinguished visitors, remained behind for the taking of commemorative photographs by W. Bro. Bob Tuthill, a guest of the Lodge.
Meanwhile the non-Masonic guests were being royally entertained in the Lower Hall by a string quartet, arranged by W. Bro. Dr. Andrew Storey and introduced by Trevor Llewelyn, Secretary of the Alleyn Club (and a guest of the Lodge). The music chosen came from composers with Masonic connections, including Mozart.
With the ending of the Lodge Meeting, the Masons and guests proceeded to The Laboratory, for a drinks reception in the James Caird Hall, followed by Dinner at 7.15 p.m., at which we were joined by the Master of Dulwich College, Dr. Joe Spence. During the course of the meal W. Bro. Alex Taylor distributed whisky tumblers, embellished with the Lodge crest, to those who had ordered them for themselves and their guests.
At the conclusion of an excellent meal, the Loyal Toast and the Toast to the Grand Master were proposed, followed by a Toast to the Met.G.M., to which Sir Michael Snyder responded, ending with proposing a Toast to the Lodge, to which our W.M. responded. He in turn proposed a Toast to ‘The College’ to which Dr Spence responded, and Andrew Storey, at the piano, led us (or at least those of us who knew the words) in a rousing rendition of the School Song. W. Bro. Roger Croucher then presented the Met.G.M. with a cheque for £3,500 for the Metropolitan Grand Charity, and the Master of the College with a cheque for a like amount for the Dulwich College Bursary Appeal.
All in all, a most delightful and memorable evening.
Kindly provided by W.Bro. Patrick Darby and Mr David Churcher MBE