The Sixth Meeting - Hunter Street, Chester

The 6th Regular Meeting of the Lodge was held at Freemasons’ Hall, Hunter Street, Chester on Friday 13 June 1913 – the first occasion the Lodge had met on a Friday. There were 50 members and 15 visitors present. In the Summons convening the meeting were listed 215 Members of the Lodge each with their Hebrew number at the side and there were also at least 11 Honorary Members as well.

The Worshipful Master, W. Bro. C.E. Keyser was in the Chair, W. Bro. Major R. Cecil Davies was Senior Warden, W. Bro. Alderman D.L. Hewitt was Junior Warden, Bro. the Rev. C.A. Griffin was Inner Guard, W. Bro. the Rev. S. Gasking was Chaplain and W. Bro. Sir William Hesketh Lever was Acting Immediate Past Master.

The Honorary Members proposed at the previous meeting were unanimously elected but unfortunately W. Bro. V.C.L. Crump had died and of the 24 Brethren proposed as Joining Members at the last meeting, the name of Bro. Albert Joseph Vallint did not appear in the Minutes. Thus, 23 Brethren were balloted for successfully as Joining Members.

W. Bro. R.F. Gould was unable to attend through ill-health. The V.W. Bro. The Lord Bishop of Chichester was unanimously elected Master for the ensuing year. The following proposition was carried:

‘That a letter of condolence be sent to Lady Wolseley, expressing their sympathy on the great loss that Lady Wolseley, the Empire, and the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple have suffered by the death of Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley, K.P., P.G.W.’

A vote of thanks was then accorded to W. Bro. Sir William Hesketh Lever and Lady Lever for their kind invitation to the members of the Lodge and their ‘lady friends’ to visit Port Sunlight the next day, 14 June, to be followed by a Garden Party at Thornton Manor in the afternoon; the extensive gardens, with boats on the lakes would enable the guests to explore the winding waterways. This was to be followed later by a Musical Evening directed by W. Bro. J.F. Swift, P.P.G.O. (Godfrey Marks). The congratulations of the Lodge were also tendered to Sir William and Lady Lever upon their safe return from ‘their wanderings’ in Equatorial Africa. After thanking the Lodge, W. Bro. Sir W.H. Lever proposed that the thanks of the Lodge be conveyed to:

M.W. Bro. General T.J. Shryock, Grand Master of Maryland, U.S.A.
W. Bro. W.B. Patton, Past Grand Master of Minnesota, U.S.A.
M.W. Bro. E.B. Paul, Past Grand Master of British Columbia

for their kind endowment of the Master’s Chair in Perpetuity in the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution. W. Bro. Sir W.H. Lever then said that he had much pleasure in informing the Lodge that King Christian X of Denmark, Grand Master of Denmark, had graciously consented to become an Honorary Member of the Lodge in succession to his late father King Frederick VIII and that he had great pleasure in proposing him; W. Bro. A.J. Shelley Thompson seconded the proposition. A collection in support of The Cheshire Charity Festival 1913 realised £100.

The following 4 Brethren were then proposed as Joining Members:

W. Bro. E. Woodward
W. Bro. Alderman Carter, P.P.G.D
W. Bro. Thomas Newman Richards, P.P.G.W.
Bro. Ernest Augustus Roberts ‘Gus Atlas’ (Vaudeville Artiste)

The Lodge was then closed.

Next day, Saturday 14 June 1913, the members, their ‘lady friends’ and guests visited and inspected the great industry established by Sir William Hesketh Lever at Port Sunlight in Cheshire. The fame of his model village, built for his workers, had spread throughout the world and in the Belgian Congo, from where Sir William had just returned model native villages were being built around the first oil mills and buildings for the supply of the raw materials used for soap manufacture. Leverville, Alberta and Elizabetha were the names of villages already founded by him.

The guests also visited the Church, Auditorium, Collegium, Museum and art collection in Hulme Hall and last but not least ‘for the wants of the inner man must be attended to’ the party stopped for lunch at the Bridge Inn, a modern example of an ancient posting-house. In the afternoon they travelled to Thornton Manor for a Garden Party which included High Tea for 60 people (Fig. 42).

During the proceedings on the Saturday W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson was presented with a portrait of himself in oils painted by Mr J.V.R. Parsons of Brown’s Buildings, Exchange. In the three-quarters length portrait W. Bro. Shelly-Thompson was wearing his legal wig and gown of a barrister-at-law of the Middle Temple. Together with the painting was an illuminated address, the testimonial being a token of W. Bro. Shelley-Thompson’s ‘unparalleled success’ in launching this ‘unique and universal Lodge’. The long list of subscribers for the portrait included H.R.H. Prince Frederick of Prussia, the Marquis of Zetland, the Marquis of Tullibardine, the Earl of Derby, Viscount Kitchener, Lord Egerton of Tatton, William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt.

A number of the members of the Lodge stayed the night at the Manor and the next day there was a service at the Church which took the form of a ‘Masonic Service’.

Lodge Garden Party at Thornton Manor 14 June 1913
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