The Fifth Meeting - Shrewsbury Festival

Within two years of its Consecration the Lodge had well over 200 members from all corners of the world – it was bulk balloting on a large scale! It seems that at some Lodge Meetings someone would be proposed, seconded and made an Honorary Member there and then, probably just on a show of hands; no notice appearing in the Summons. Brethren from all walks of life clamoured to be associated with this unique Lodge; demand for membership was so great that a Lodge ‘Local Secretarial Committee’ was formed which was composed of 24 Brethren:

W. Bro. F. Broadsmith (Chairman) – Secretary
W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson (Deputy Chairman) – Secretary for Foreign Correspondence
W. Bro. J. Clarke
Bro. A.T. Wright – Assistant Secretary
Bro. The Rev. C.A. Griffin – Asst. Sec. for Foreign Correspondence
M.W. Bro. Count Goblet D’Alviella – Secretary for Continent of Europe
R.W. Bro. James M. Lamberton – Secretary for North America
W. Bro. W.F. Walker – Secretary for South America
R.W. Bro. Sir John Pringle – Secretary for the West Indies
R.W. Bro. D.J. Haarhoff – Secretary for South Africa
W. Bro. M.B. Martin – Secretary for India
R.W. Bro. Lieut. Col. J. Rankin Reed – Sec. Australia & New Zealand
W. Bro. A.E. Mitchell – Secretary for Palestine
W. Bro. Captain T.G. Lumley-Smith – Secretary for Egypt
W. Bro. Canon F.D. Newham – Secretary for Cyprus
W. Bro. A.R. Perkins – Secretary for Burma and the Far East
W. Bro. C.J. Doughty – Secretary for London and District
W. Bro. W.J. Kerr – Secretary for Liverpool and District
W. Bro. H.R. Wood – Secretary for Manchester and District
W. Bro. W. Richmond – Secretary North-West England and Wales
W. Bro. the Rev. J.G. Gibson – Secretary for North-East England
W. Bro. Charles Woods – Secretary for South-East England
W. Bro. the Rev. Canon Bowen – Secretary for South-West England
W. Bro. James Rountree – Secretary for Ireland

The fifth meeting of the Lodge was held at 4.30 pm on Saturday, 12 October 1912 at the Masonic Hall, Music Hall Buildings, The Square, Shrewsbury by Dispensations granted by Sir Offley Wakeman, Provincial Grand Master of Shropshire and the Right Honourable Lord Egerton of Tatton, Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire.

On Friday 11 October 1912 the Brethren and their ladies met at the Crown Hotel, Shrewsbury at about 5.00 pm when a visit was paid to the museum, the original home of the famous Shrewsbury School. This was followed by dinner at 6.30 pm at the Crown Hotel. At 7.30 pm an Emergency Meeting was held of the combined Shrewsbury Lodges, The Salopian Lodge of Charity (117), The Salopian Lodge (262) and the Pengwerne Lodge (3229) in order to welcome the Members of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple. This was followed at 8.00 pm by a Smoking Concert in the ancient Hall of a Mansion known as Vaughan’s Place at which W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson P.P.G.W. delivered a short paper entitled ‘A Recent Tour through Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia’.

Saturday commenced with breakfast at the Crown Hotel at 8.30 am followed by a visit to the Castle and Ancient Council House at 9.45 am. ‘Motor-cars’ were then available to take the party to Uriconium or Viroconium (Wroxeter), the ruins of a city which had become the centre of Roman power for 500 years. At 12.30 pm they visited the Abbey Church, the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter and St Paul founded in 1083 by Earl Roger de Montgomery. Lunch was then served at 1.00 pm at the Crown Hotel. In the afternoon they toured the town on foot, walking through Butchers’ Row which was full of old timbered houses and on down Pride Hill to the Old Mint. In the High Street they saw Ireland’s Mansion and Owen’s Mansion and then on to the Old St Chad’s Church. A visit to the Guild Hall at 3.45 pm allowed the party to inspect the old Corporation Plate by kind permission of His Worship the Mayor, Major C.R.B. Wingfield. Whilst the ladies enjoyed tea at 4.30 pm the fifth Regular Meeting of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple took place in the Masonic Hall. Dinner with the ladies was at 6.00 pm in the Music Hall Building followed at 7.15 pm by a social evening. Tickets for the banquet were 8/- (40p) each including wine. Photographs of the party during the visit were taken by Bro. Mills of the Carbonora Company.

In the absence of the Worshipful Master, W. Bro. A.E. Coveney, P.P.G.W., ‘… who had been removed to the Grand Lodge Above’, the Immediate Past Master W. Bro. R.F. Gould took the Chair at this the fifth Regular Meeting of the Lodge, at which there were 25 members and 22 visitors present, the Dispensations were read followed by the Summons convening the meeting. The minutes of the previous meeting were then read, approved and confirmed. The two proposed Honorary Members from the last meeting were unanimously elected by a show of hands and a ballot for the 17 proposed Joining Members was also unanimously in favour.

On opening the Lodge in the 3rd Degree the ‘Emblems of Masonry’ were surrounded by a Royal Crown and Sceptre, against which rested a Trowel. These symbols referred to the fact that Monarchs themselves have not thought it derogatory to their dignity to exchange the Sceptre for the Trowel; have patronised our mysteries and joined in our Assemblies. The Minutes then record:

‘The Lodge mourned the death of His late Majesty King Frederick VIII of Denmark, Most Worshipful Grand Master of Denmark, and Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple.

At the foot of the Emblems of Masonry was the Square, the Jewel of our late Master – W. Bro. Albert E. Coveney, P.P.G.W. of Cheshire, and Past Chairman of the Committee of Benevolence of the Province.

Both these Worthy Brethren had been removed by T.G.A.O.T.U., during the tenure of their respective Offices, to receive the reward of their labours in the Grand Lodge Above.

W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson then formed the Brethren in a circle and delivered an Oration with appropriate extracts from Scripture to the Strains of the Dead March.

After the Brethren had expressed their sympathy, the Memory of our late Brethren was accorded Grand and Royal Honours.’

It was then proposed that a Memorial Address be sent to His Majesty King Christian of Denmark, expressing the sympathy of all the members of the Lodge on the great loss King Christian and the Freemasons of Denmark have sustained by the death of his late lamented father, King Frederick, the Grand Master of Denmark and Member of this Lodge. It was also proposed that a letter of condolence be sent to Mrs A.E. Coveney, expressing the sympathy of all the members of the Lodge to both her and her family in the great loss they have sustained by the death of her husband and our Master, W. Bro. A.E. Coveney, P.P.G.W., and at the same time to point out that her loss is not only shared by the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple, but by Freemasonry in general.

The Master-Elect, W. Bro. Charles E. Keyser, M.A., J.P., D.L., Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Hertfordshire was then installed into the Chair of King Solomon by W. Bro. Robert Freke Gould, P.G.D. Mention was then made by W. Bro. Gould of the work of W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson in connection with the Lodge. He referred to a proposed Testimonial at present in progress and moved that:

‘This Lodge, as a Lodge do present to W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson, P.P.G.W., and D.C., some permanent testimonial, the form to be left to the Committee composed of: W. Bro. R.F. Gould, W. Bro. C.E. Keyser, W. Bro. The Lord Bishop of Chichester, W. Bro. Sir W.H. Lever and the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.’

The proposition was seconded and carried unanimously.

The Treasurer, W. Bro. Dr H. Keays Bentley, presented his statement of income and expenditure for the year 1911/12 after which the Charity Representative W. Bro. W.J. Kerr presented his accounts which included the following donations:

Royal Masonic Institution for Boys
Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution
Cheshire Masonic Benevolent Institution
Cheshire Masonic Educational Institution
The Earl of Derby’s ‘Titanic Fund’

£21 0s 0d
£21 0s 0d
£10 10s 0d
£10 10s 0d
£4 4s 0d

W. Bro. Shelley-Thompson then read out a telegram from W. Bro. Sir William Lever, Bt., expressing regret that fog prevented him getting to Shrewsbury from London in time for the festival. He continued by saying that they had hoped that day to present to Sir William, an autographed portrait of the King of Sweden, who was a Member of the Lodge.

On behalf of W. Bro. Sir W.H. Lever, P.P.G.W., W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson extended an invitation to visit Port Sunlight on Saturday morning 17 May 1913 and afterwards to a Garden Party at Thornton Manor in the afternoon; the Lodge Banquet being held at Thornton Manor in the Evening. It would appear that either the Secretary made a mistake over the date in the Minutes or that the date was later changed as the visit actually took place on Saturday 14 June 1913.

The following 5 Brethren were proposed as Honorary Members:

W. Bro. R.G. Venables, P.A.G.D.C., Dep. Prov. G.M. Shropshire
W. Bro. W.H. Spaull, P.A.G.D.C., Prov. Grand Secretary Shropshire
W. Bro. V.C.L. Crump, P.G.S.B.
W. Bro. William Hammond, P.G.D., Librarian Grand Lodge
W. Bro. William John Chetwode Crawley, L.L.D., Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Ireland (Author of Caementaria Hibernia)

The following 24 Brethren were then proposed as Joining Members:

W. Bro. Sir Joseph Sykes Rymer (Lord Mayor of York)
W. Bro. Henry Busby Bird, J.P.
W. Bro. Wilmot Eardley, P.P.G.W. (Gentleman)
W. Bro. Edmund Vannutelli Salaman, P.P.G.D., (Director)
W. Bro. Arthur Dewhurst Carver (Engineer)
W. Bro. Samuel Sebastien Smith (Agent)
W. Bro. J. Crossley Pratt (Gentleman)
W. Bro. Sidney Arthur Creas Fairbarn (Gentleman)
W. Bro. William Henry Huish (Manager)
Bro. George Smith (Manager)
Bro. John Charles Ernest Muller (Artiste)
Bro. Charles Percy Noar (Cotton Broker)
Bro. Arthur Dexter (Engineer)
Bro. Sidney Tolfree (Manager Hippodrome, Wakefield)
W. Bro. Major W.W.R. Gilbert Cooper (2nd Bt. E. Surrey Reg.)
Bro. George Russell (Actor-Manager)
Bro. Ernest A. Frost, ‘Thora’ (Ventriloquist)
Bro. Richard Dooner (Manager)
Bro. Thomas Pearse (Cashier)
Bro. Albert Joseph Vallint (Claims Clerk)
Bro. Anand Singh, Shwebo Burma
W. Bro. Frank Vaughan, Canada
Bro. Robert Dawe Voss, South Africa
W. Bro Henry Jones, P.P.G.D., East Lancashire

After the 3 risings the Lodge was closed. The Minutes of this meeting were signed on 5 July 1913 by Lord Egerton, Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire.


In July 1911, William Hesketh Lever was created a Baronet by the King and to honour this occasion the individual Brethren from the 8 lodges of which he was a member i.e. The William Hesketh Lever Lodge (2916); The Lilley Ellis Lodge (3236); The Randle Holme Lodge (3261); The Bohemian Lodge (3294); The Oxton Lodge (3462); The Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464); The George V Lodge (3514) and The Albert Coveney Lodge (3510) decided to subscribe towards a silver-gilt casket bearing the Arms of all 8 Lodges. Inside the casket was an illuminated scroll which congratulated him on the great honour bestowed upon him and referred to his numerous charitable deeds. It quotes Lady Lever, during one of the many visits to Thornton Manor, as saying ‘my husband’s brethren are my brethren’ and appended to the scroll were the names of the 158 Brethren who subscribed towards it. The actual place or date of this presentation is not known but it is thought most likely to have taken place sometime in 1912.

Silver-Gilt Casket Presented to Sir William Hesketh Lever

Illuminated scroll congratulating William Hesketh Lever on being made a Baronet by the King which also refers to his numerous charitable deeds.

Appended to the scroll are the names of the 158 Brethren who subscribed towards it

Joining and Honorary members for this meeting

ERNEST A. FROST (stage name ‘THORA’)

ERNEST A. FROST (stage name ‘THORA’) was not only a great female impersonator but also a ventriloquist with a male dummy – I am not sure if the name of the dummy was Hugh Thorn or if it was Frost’s ‘in drag’ stage name. ‘Thora’ sang in a very pleasant soprano voice while Hugh growled in a rough voice. This type of drag ventriloquism is an illusion employing a kind of ‘reverse-difference’, and it effectively separates the two voices, relying on the gender construction that considers a woman incapable of producing a ‘physiologically deep’ male voice. At the end of the performance ‘Thora’ would pull off her wig to reveal that ‘she’ was actually a bald-headed man! In 1909 the New York Times reported that ‘Thora’ (ventriloquist) was appearing at the Alhambra Theatre. Ernest Frost was proposed as a Joining Member of the Lodge on 12 October 1912 by Bro. Frank Weston, a theatrical agent from Birkenhead.

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