Excelsior & Dedication Lodge No. 1155
Secretary WBro Frank Godson PAGDC, SLGCR
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Excelsior Lodge No 1155 - Short history prior to our Amalgamation
The Lodge of Temperance 169 was our mother lodge.
The lodge was founded by many masons who were licensed Victuallers so there were many public houses to choose from in order to meet.
On May 2nd 1867 the Excelsior Lodge, No. 1155 in the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England, was consecrated and throughout its 150 years of existence it has continued to meet regularly at least four or five times a year, without interruption, with the exception of four meetings (September 1939; September and November 1940 and January 1941), all during the Second World War. These meetings were cancelled as a precaution against the effects of enemy air attacks, which at that time were particularly heavy and sustained.
The Sydney Arms Lewisham in 1867 was the first meeting place of the Lodge and it remained the meeting place for some years. The Consecration Ceremony was performed by WBro William Watson, Past Master of the Robert Burns Lodge, No. 25, at the Sydney Arms, Lewisham Road, Lewisham, then in the County of Kent. Since that time the lodge has met at many different venues as has the Lodge of Instruction. Particularly the Royal Crystal Palace Hotel & Frascatis Restaurant the latter for nearly 50 years.
I was Initiated when the lodge met at the Kensington Palace Hotel in 1968. After that date we met at The Lancaster Gate Hotel, and a few hotels in Holborn until we participated in the purchase of the Central London Masonic Centre (CLMC). After the demise of the CLMC we went to the Royal Lancaster Hotel. Excelsior Lodge has benefited from the large payout from the demise of the CLMC. Some has been given to charity and the rest is to help secure the joint lodges future.
There have been 13 different Secretaries and 11 different Treasurers of the lodge. We currently have 41 members. 511 masons joined or where initiated into Excelsior Lodge No. 1155 that no longer belong to the lodge or have died. Up until the 1980,s the lodge had always been strong often carrying out 2 ceremonies per meeting. After this time the Lodge experienced a slow decline in membership. During the 1990’s and early 2000,s very few new masons were Initiated who stayed members. On May the 2nd 2017 Excelsior Lodge No. 1155 celebrated 150 years and we had a superb celebration at the Connaught Rooms with a meeting at Great Queen Street.
Whilst I was a SVO one of my lodges was Dedication Lodge No. 7428. When I eventually gave up as SVO I joined Dedication Lodge and suggested to the brethren of both Dedication and Excelsior that we amalgamate. The process has been good for both lodges and we look forward to a better future for all of the brethren.
Frank Godson PAGDC, SLGCR
DEDICATION LODGE NO. 7428 - HISTORY
It is my privilege today to present a short history of the Lodge of Dedication No. 7428.
It would be impossible to cover all the events of the last 61 years, or to name all the worthy brethren who have given such great service to the Lodge. I will however mention some of each, and apologise for the inevitable omissions. The Lodge of Dedication was consecrated on 20th Feb. 1956, a daughter of Maida Vale Lodge 2743, in the Egyptian Temple, No. 10, at FMH. The ceremony was presided over by Major General Sir Alan Adair, Asst. Grand Master, and his team of consecrating officers. Also present were the 15 founders and 170 visitors. I have it on first-hand information that it was a lavish affair. My father, who was a member of Maida Vale, attended as a guest.
Looking at the list of Founders, I feel privileged to have known every one of them, one was my uncle and my proposer into this Lodge, WBro. Walter Jesky.
At the time of my initiation in 1962, the membership had risen from the original 17 to 46. By the time I reached the Master’s Chair in 1974 it was 73. We continued to thrive with large meetings, LOI dinners, and Ladies Festivals at top West End venues. This progressed to long Masonic weekends in Lille, Antwerp and Brussels, organised by WBros Colin Emden and Martin Altman. The success of their weekends are still talked about today, and led to more recent Dedication events.
I was given the honour of being our last Master. To mark that final year, we organised a Gala Ladies Festival weekend at Kenilworth, a successful and nostalgic occasion, reminding my wife and I of my first Ladies Night in 1975, and of the many happy occasions shared with friends and brethren in the Lodge; a super weekend in Edinburgh for WBro, Lewis Hill and more recently, that organised in Stratford on Avon in 2015 for WBro. John Gluckstein and his wife, for his year as Master.
The Founders had set high standards, both as regards ritual and hospitality, laying the foundation for future prosperity. The founding Secretary was Bro. Manny Beber who meticulously supervised the formation, and then carefully steered the Lodge forward. He was closely assisted by Bro A. M. Walker, the founding J.W. Mickey, as he was affectionately known, came to be considered the Father of the Lodge. His two elder sons, Len and Ben, were joint founders, his youngest, Jack, was the first Initiate. His son-in-law Charles Breslaw, also became an active member. Understandably, the Lodge affectionately earned the nickname of the Walker Lodge. They all gave invaluable service, variously, as WM, DC, ADC, Secretary, Chaplain, Preceptors, etc.
There have been so many other Masters and families who played significant roles in building our history and they too, have left their marks. Unfortunately, time now does not permit me to go into more details, but their contributions are recorded and much appreciated. Our first home was Lyons Corner House, Tottenham Court. Road. When that closed in 1966, we moved to the Piccadilly Hotel, and in 1973, we moved again, to the Grosvenor Rooms Banqueting suite in Willesden Green. It provided excellent Temple facilities and we spent many happy years there. Nothing is for ever, and eventually, escalating costs led us to look for a more affordable venue. In 1998 we found a permanent new home here at Southgate Masonic Centre, ideal for both the Lodge and for the LOI.
The LOI had begun life in 1956 at the Roebuck, my uncle’s public house in Kings Rd. Chelsea, under the enthusiastic supervision of excellent preceptors, initially, W. Bro. Sid Cohen, then, Bro. Mickey and Bro. Len Walker. They set the standard for those that followed, and the LOI, despite many subsequent moves has thrived ever since. A major landmark Lodge meeting was the Banner Dedication Ceremony in 1962. The Banner was paid for and donated by the LOI. At that meeting, so soon after my Initiation, I realised how lucky I was to have joined such a special Lodge,. We have since celebrated our Silver and our Golden Anniversaries. Both memorable occasions. We have enjoyed demonstrations and lectures, white tables and Installations. A long line of social events providing many happy memories.
Our link to Maida Vale, our Mother Lodge was closely maintained for over 50 years, with the respective Masters and Secretaries regularly invited to each Installation. These invitations were also extended our sister Lodge, Tolerance 7998, and our supposed Grandmother Lodge, Ethical 753. These were dropped a few years ago. We subsequently discovered that our true Grandmother Lodge was in fact, St. Lukes No. 144, who, two years ago celebrated their 250th Anniversary. We are one of over one hundred descendants of St. Luke’s; part of the largest family in English Freemasonry.
The Lodge is fortunate to have been honoured with many appointments to LGR and SLGR, with five elevations to Grand Lodge. Three of those were awarded to the Founders, W. Bro. Mickey Walker, his son Len, and to W.Bro. Manny Beber the founding Secretary. They were followed with Sidney Berman in 1990, and then myself in 1995.
By the year 2000 membership had dropped to about 35. We still had a strong body of Past masters, determined to preserve our identity and our Lodge, and we continued to enjoy happy and successful meetings. In 2006 I initiated my friend, John Gluckstein, then 74. He went on to become W.M .in 2013. We had several fathers initiate a son, but remarkably, we had a son initiate his father when W. Bro. Alan Lion had that pleasure in 2012.
WBro. Frank Godson joined us in 2012, and immediately took over as Secretary. We discussed the possibility of an amalgamation with his other Lodge, Excelsior No. 1155. Negotiations and further discussions took place and here we are today beginning a new era in both our histories. A happy marriage that promises well for a long, successful and happy future.
WBro Walter Mann PAGDC, LGCR
WBro Sidney Berman PJGD, SLGCR
was presented with a 60th Certificate on Monday 5th November 2018 by WBro David Nun PSGD, PAGSoj (RA) Met. Grand Inspector
WBro Colin Warren Emden SLGR
was presented with a 50th Certificate on Monday 5th November 2018 by WBro David Nunn PSGD, PAGSoj (RA)
Met. Grand Inspector
WBro Frank Godson PAGDC, SLGCR
was presented with a 50th Anniversary Certificate on
Thursday 7th February 2019 by WBro David Nunn PSGD, PAGSoj (RA)
Met. Grand Inspector
WBro Colin Simmons SLGR, SLGCR
was presented with a 60th Anniversary Certificate
on Thursday 7th February 2019 by WBro David Nun PSGD, PAGSoj (RA) Met. Grand Inspector