THE LODGE HISTORY
A brief history of the Old Alleynian Lodge No.4165
The end of the First World War in 1918 was a watershed in the history of Freemasonry in England, with many of the men lucky enough to return alive from the trenches seeking a way to continue the sense of camaraderie they had experienced under fire. Among the 282 new lodges founded between the Armistice and the end of 1920 was The Old Alleynian Lodge, given the number 4165 in the register of the United Grand Lodge of England. Its imminent formation had been announced at the Alleyn Club Dinner in July 1920 by Bro. Sir Ernest Shackleton, the renowned Antarctic explorer, in his response the Toast to the Club proposed by a former Master of the College, The Rt. Rev. Bishop Welldon (himself a masonic Grand Officer). The Lodge was Consecrated (that is, founded) at a formal meeting held on 14th December 1920.
The ‘Consecration’ meeting was held at the Hotel Cecil in the Strand, where meetings were held until the end of 1925. From 1926 the Lodge’s regular venue was Gatti’s Restaurant in King William Street in the City. After the Second World War, the Lodge met at Freemasons' Hall in Great Queen Street. Each change of venue had to be sanctioned by Grand Lodge. There were, however, occasional forays to ‘The Library’ (now the Old Library) at Dulwich College. In 1989 the then Secretary of the Lodge, Peter Tydeman, resolved to make the College our regular meeting place, and we have been warmly welcomed there ever since.
Lodge membership grew rapidly after the Consecration, and by the end of 1923 there were 55 members, many joining from other Lodges but some initiated in the Lodge itself – there were fifteen Initiates in the first sixteen months. Membership currently stands at around 40, having reached a peak of 80 in 1939 and never having fallen below 35. We are proud that many members of the Lodge have achieved high office within Freemasonry at national level.
Owing to the pandemic, the Lodge was unable to celebrate its Centenary in December 2020 as had been intended, but we nevertheless held a Zoom meeting on the exact date of the Centenary so that members could raise a glass to each other and to the Lodge. The Centenary meeting was eventually held on 28th October 2021 at Dulwich College, with The Metropolitain Grand Master in attendance as well as The Master of Dulwich College.
A Hall Stone Lodge
During the First World War over 3,000 Freemasons lost their lives. In 1919 at a special Grand Lodge meeting it was announced that a new Hall would be built to replace the old Freemasons' Hall, as a memorial to them. Construction on the new building began in 1927 and those who donated to the fund would be awarded a jewel (a special masonic medal), which differed depending on the amount of their donation. Following completion of the building in 1933 at a cost of £1.4m, there were 1,321 lodges designated as "Hall Stone Lodges" for the financial contributions they had made towards its construction, of which the Old Alleynian Lodge is proud to be one. The full list of lodges can be found today inscribed on the walls of Freemasons Hall in London.
Explore more of the history of the Old Alleynian Lodge
SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON
Founding member of the Old Alleynian Lodge
Below is a short video produced by the United Grand Lodge of England about the life of Sir Ernest Shackleton which we are delighted to be able to share with you.