H.R.H. THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT AND STRATHEARN was born in 1850, the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria. In 1879 he married Princess Louise, the daughter of Prince Frederick of Prussia. He was a career soldier and served in Montreal, India, Ireland, the Mediterranean and South Africa, attaining the rank of Field Marshal in 1902. The Duke was the Godfather of Queen Elizabeth II as well as being her great-great uncle.
He became the Grand Master in 1901 when his brother, who had been the Grand Master for 27 years, acceded to the Throne as King Edward VII and he became an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1911. The Duke was Grand Master until his death in 1942
A paragraph in the ‘Court Circular’ section of The Times stated:
‘The Duke of Connaught, Grand Master of the Order of Freemasonry in England, has become a member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple which until its removal to Jerusalem, is holding its meetings in the Freemasons’ Hall, Chester.’
This announcement in The Times would seem to be a little premature – a good job that the ballot at the next meeting proved favourable!
KING FREDERICK VIII OF DENMARK (1843-1912) became King in 1906 on the death of his father King Christian IX. He was a liberal ruler but his reign was weakened by ill health. The royal families of Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg are all descended from him. He was the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Denmark and proposed as an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) on 8 April 1911
KING GUSTAV V OF SWEDEN (1858-1950) was the eldest son of King Oscar II and was King from 1907 until his death in 1950. He was the last Swedish King to intervene directly in the politics of the country (in 1914 on the disputes over defence budgets) and also the last to be Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces. During World War I he was considered to have German sympathies and in World War II he apparently attempted to convince Hitler to soften his persecution of the Jews. He was also noted for appealing to the Hungarian leader to save the Jews ‘in the name of humanity’. Appearing under the pseudonym of ‘Mr G’, he was a devoted tennis player and promoter of the sport – a game he became familiar with during a visit to Britain in 1876. He was the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Sweden and became an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1911
ALBERT BRADY, (stage name ALBERT FELINO) was known as a comedian/vaudeville artiste. In 1906/7 he appeared at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh in The Forty Thieves and in 1921/22 he featured in Robinson Crusoe at the Theatre Royal Glasgow with Will Fyffe. He was a member of St. Clement’s Lodge, Aberdeen (688 Scotland) and at the age of 28 in 1905 he joined Chelsea Lodge (3098) where he was Worshipful Master in 1915. In 1911 he became a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464).
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT (1857-1930). Unlike other Presidents of the United States who were Freemasons, William Taft was unique by the fact that he was ‘Made a Mason at Sight’. This can only be done by a Grand Master of a Grand Lodge that allows it, by waiving the three degrees and by administering an obligation at one sitting after which the candidate must go on to petition for membership of a lodge. Within one month of his inauguration as President of the US he became a member of Kilwinning Lodge (356) in Cincinnati on 14 April 1909. In later life he said he regretted not having joined Masonry by the normal route but made it plain that it had not been of his own choosing but was due to circumstances over which he had no control.
On 8 April 1911 (whilst Republican President of the US) Taft was proposed as an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) by W. Bro. Robert Freke Gould, W.M. and seconded by W. Bro. Sir William Hesketh Lever, Bart. A ballot took place on 21 October 1911 and proved unanimously in favour.
He was the 27th President of the US (1909-1913) and had previously served as Solicitor General, Governor General of the Philippines and Secretary of War although he was a great protagonist of peace. In 1921 he became Chief Justice and on his death he became the first President to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. As he once got stuck in the bath at the White House a larger model had to be installed!
THOMAS JOSEPH EDWARDS (1879-1933) was known as the ‘Huntsman Ventriloquist’ because he usually wore hunting attire for his performances. He had been a circus performer/singer and was one of eight children of a ‘horse-keeper’ and reputed former jockey. His sister was Maude Edwards, also a ventriloquist whose ‘dummy’ was known as ‘the little stable boy’. Maude was managed by her brother, Tomas, who later became a successful theatrical manager. She, like Tom, toured the American Music Halls and on her return decided that he was taking too large a slice of her earnings and sued him in the High Court and won. A review of the Orpheum Theatre, Seattle, for 15 May 1911 stated:
‘Other acts included … ventriloquist Tom Edwards. Inexplicably dressed as though he were part of an English hunting party, Edwards performed with a dummy in the likeness of a small boy, and at the end of the act pretended to put the child down for a night’s rest. According to Edgar H. Thomas, Edwards was apparently doing fine with his act until, “flushed with his success”, he attempted a line of comedy that pushed the boundaries of good taste …’
In 1910 he worked in a number of theatres in New York and in November 1924 he is reported as appearing at the London Coliseum. He was married to Alice Melville, also a ventriloquist and actress who was the grand-daughter of George Melville I, the founder of the dynasty of theatre owners and managers. Edwards was the manager of the Tom Edwards Vaudeville Company and was often billed as ‘Tom Edwards & “Curly” Ventriloquial Comedians’. Tom Edwards appeared in the first Royal Command Performance in 1912 and became a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1911. He was initiated into Chelsea Lodge (3098) in 1908.
RT. HON. SIR T.F. HALSEY, BART., P.C. was appointed Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1903. Sir Frederick was the first of four members of the Halsey family to lead the Province of Hertfordshire as Provincial Grand Master. He became an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1911.
SIR CHARLES WARREN, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., F.R.S. (1840-1927) was born in Bangor, North Wales. He was an officer in the Royal Engineers and in 1867 went to the Holy Land with the Palestine Exploration Fund where he conducted the first major excavations of Jerusalem. This project ushered in a new age of Biblical archaeology and Warren’s most significant discovery was a water shaft (Warren’s Shaft) and a series of tunnels underneath the Temple Mount. In 1886 he was appointed Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and came under much criticism for not solving the ‘Jack the Ripper Case’. He was a very enthusiastic Freemason and was instrumental in the use of the underground quarries in Jerusalem for Masonic Festivals and Rituals long before there were any lodges there. Warren became an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1911.
CHARLES RICHARD WHITTLE (1874-1947) was a comedian/singer from Yorkshire. At the age of 10 he started working in a Bradford silk mill and later became a clog-iron maker and served an apprenticeship as a shoe-smith. By this time he was appearing in local public-house concerts earning 6 shillings a night with a pie for his supper. His next step up the ladder was at the City Varieties, Leeds in 1900 followed by work in minor London theatres.
His first on-stage song was entitled Why Hasn’t Daddy Come Home and in 1902 an article in the Chatham Observer recorded ‘Charles Whittle, versatile comedian, has some capital songs of a somewhat fresh order’. He went on to enjoy huge success with songs like Kelly from the Isle of Man, Put me Amongst the Girls and Let’s all go Down the Strand – Have a Banana, a song he bought from the writers Harry Castling and C.W. Murphy. In 1910, Scott and Mills wrote Fall in and Follow me for him. His recording career on the Regal and Corena labels ran from 1911 until 1916.
A correspondent writing in The Era on 7 July 1916 remarked:
‘Appearing at the Ealing Hippodrome, Charles Whittle is one of those amusing vocalists whose mere appearance at the footlights is the signal for an outburst of merriment. He is funny without effort, every line of his patter is really droll. In I’m Muggins the Juggins the artist is at his best, and some of his facial contortions are irresistibly comic.’
Many of his chorus songs were performed in top hat, suit and spats and at the first Royal Command Performance held at the Palace Theatre on 1 July 1912 Whittle was one of the artistes selected to appear in Variety’s Garden Party finale along with the great Harry Champion. He carried on performing into the 1920s and retired in 1930 aged 56, still living in Yorkshire where he appeared in local concerts, socials and charity events. In 1939, when George Black opened the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand the first show was a revue called Let’s all go Down the Strand and Charlie was asked to take part in it. This led to offers to appear in other London theatres and he eventually appeared on a BBC television programme in 1947.
He was initiated into Chelsea Lodge (3098) on 17 July 1908 and became a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) on 21 October 1911.
VISCOUNT GARNET JOSEPH WOLSELEY, KP, OM, GCB, GCMG, VD, PC, (1833-1913) was an Army officer who served in Burma, the Crimea, the Indian Mutiny, China, Canada and throughout Africa which included his brilliantly executed Ashanti campaign. From 1882 until 1890 he was Adjutant-General at the War Office after which he was given the command in Ireland. In 1894 he was appointed Field-Marshal and the next year was made Commander-in-Chief of the Forces. He was a frequent contributor to periodicals and also published The Decline and Fall of Napoleon (1895), The Life of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough to the Accession of Queen Anne (1894) and The Story of a Soldier’s Life (1903). In recognition of his military succession an expression arose, ‘all Sir Garnet’, meaning that everything is in good order and he was the inspiration behind the celebrated Gilbert and Sullivan character ‘Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance who was ‘ … the very model of a modern Major-General’. He was a Past Grand Warden and was made an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1911.