Because the Chester Gala weekend had been such a success in April, it was decided to move the Lodge to York for the Installation of the new Worshipful Master, W. Bro. A.E. Coveney, P.P.G.W. York had great historical significance for Freemasons as well as the fact that the reigning Master, W. Bro. R.F. Gould, the eminent Masonic historian, had been an Honorary Member of York Lodge (236) for some thirty years. However, it would appear that the idea to visit York was that of W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson and was to extend from Friday 20 October to Sunday 22 October 1911; ladies were again invited for the weekend. Special excursions were arranged from London, Liverpool, Manchester and ‘other places’.
York, from the standpoint of Masonic history does have a number of interesting features. The body of monks known as the Culdees became involved with the working masons who, from time to time, were engaged in building York Minster at the time of King Athelstan. The monks were renowned for their charity work and were said to have had mysteries of their own, of a Masonic type, which were derived from Egyptian sources; these Eastern myths were blended with the doctrines of Christianity. It seems likely that the monks became familiar with the masons’ tools (square, compasses, chisel etc) treating them as symbols of higher things and taught the operative masons a spiritual meaning or interpretation of them; how to mould lives as well as stone. The York monks were probably responsible for the local setting of the ‘Edwin Legend’ – to the effect that after the death of St Alban there were wars in England which resulted in the destruction of the ‘good rule of Masonry’ until King Athelstan’s reign ‘who loved well masons’. Edwin, the supposed son of Athelstan, obtained from his father a Charter for the masons to hold a yearly meeting at York, where Edwin himself presided as Grand Master and ‘made Masons’ (926 AD).
It is said that Queen Elizabeth I on hearing that Masons had secrets sent an armed force to York to find out what the mysteries were. The Grand Master was nonplussed by this and took the sagacious course of initiating the officers sent by the Queen who on their return managed to persuade her that the secrets were not worth knowing and that Masons were loyal subjects who should be left alone.
Symbolic Lodges in York are also of great antiquity; W. Bro. R.F. Gould in his History of Freemasonry mentions the existence of a mahogany flat rule or gauge containing the names of three Brethren, the Seal of Solomon and the date 1663 (a photograph of this is in the Lodge Album).
A Dispensation was granted by The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire, Lord Egerton, to allow the Lodge to temporarily leave Chester and a Dispensation was also granted by The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of North and East Ridings of Yorkshire, The Most Honourable The Marquess of Zetland, allowing the Lodge to hold a temporary meeting at the Masonic Hall, Duncombe Place, York on Saturday 21 October 1911.
The Brethren and their ladies assembled at 2.00 pm on Friday 20 October to visit the ancient city walls where they were able to observe Mason’s Marks on the exterior face of the stones and at 3.00 pm they moved on to the Manor House or Palace of the Stuarts. At 3.30 pm they toured St Mary’s Abbey, St Leonard’s Hospital and the Museum Garden whilst finally ending up at the Hall of the Merchant Adventurer’s Company at 4.30 pm. Dinner was at 5.30 pm at Harker’s Hotel.
An Emergency Meeting of the York Lodge (236) was summoned at 6. 30 pm by the Master to welcome the visitors and the Brethren were allowed to examine the ancient manuscripts and other masonic curiosities held by the Lodge. This was followed at 8.00 pm by a smoking concert whilst suitable alternative arrangements had been made for the ladies during the absence of the Brethren. According to the Yorkshire Herald for Saturday 21 October 1911:
‘Bro. Alfred Proctor (of York) afterwards proposed the health of Sir William Hesketh Lever … Sir Wm. Hesketh Lever acknowledged the toast in a witty speech. He referred to the antiquity of the York Lodge, but he claimed that his descent was even more ancient than the York Lodge. It was quite true that the York Lodge went back several centuries into the past, but by removing the first and last letters of his (Sir William’s) name it at once proved his descent (Laughter). Then by simply removing the first letter it showed that his family went on for ever (Loud laughter). Sir William proceeded to invite the Master and members of the York Lodge to the annual installation of the Randle Holme Lodge (3261) on the first Saturday in December, and kindly offered to provide a special train from York to Liverpool, to entertain the members at Port Sunlight, and afterwards to invite them as guests to the installation of the Randle Holme Lodge (Applause).’
On Saturday 21 October, breakfast was at 9.00 am at Harker’s Hotel and at 11.00 am the guests assembled at the Minster when the Very Reverend the Dean of York, P.G. Chaplain escorted them around and gave a talk on the Minster’s history.
Lunch at Harker’s Hotel at 1.00 pm was followed by a visit at 2.00 pm to the Mansion House and Guildhall. At 3.30 pm the ladies had tea whilst the Brethren proceeded to the Installation Meeting at the Masonic Hall.
At this the third Regular Meeting of the Lodge there were 22 members and 63 visitors present. The 41 Brethren proposed at the last meeting were balloted on and proved unanimous – one of these was Bro. J.B. Thompson who was on the official Lodge list as a Founder! Also, Count Goblet D’Alviella, Senateur de Belgique, Past Grand Master of Belgium was made an Honorary Member even though his name did not appear on the list of Brethren proposed at the previous meeting.
The Bye-Laws of the Lodge proposed at the last meeting were adopted.
W. Bro. A.E. Coveney P.P.S.G.W. was then installed as Worshipful Master by the retiring W.M., W. Bro. R.F. Gould P.G.D. A Past Master’s Jewel was then presented to R.F. Gould and a replica of it presented to W. Bro. Sir William Hesketh Lever ‘in token of his great assistance and deep interest in the Lodge as the acting Immediate Past Master’.
After the installation and the investiture of the Officers, W. Bro. R.F. Gould, who was an Honorary Member of all four of the York Lodges gave an interesting and instructive address on the history of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple and Freemasonry generally, paying particular attention to the rise and progress of the craft in York.
The following 45 Brethren were then proposed as Joining Members:
His Royal Highness Prince Frederick Leopold of Prussia, Jagdschloss Klein-Glienecke, Grand Protector of Freemasons in the German Empire and Most Worshipful Past Grand Master of England.
W. Bro. Theodore Roosevelt, Ex-President of the United States of America.
The Right Honourable the Earl of Derby, G.C.V.O., R.W.P.G. Master for East Lancashire.
Bro. Achille Celestian Girard, (Artiste)
W. Bro. Joseph J. Gilbeart, A.R.S.I. (Gentleman)
Bro. Alfred M. Ledermann, (Gentleman)
Bro. John B. Barton, (Artiste)
W. Bro. Eustace G. Parker (Tower Works, Altrincham)
W. Bro. Wolfe Simon Lyon, P.A.G.P., Eng., (Gentleman)
Bro. Lionel Carson, (Editor of The Stage)
Bro. William Lord, (Artiste)
Bro. Gustavus Granby Watt, (Blackie, Black and White Artist)
Bro. Walter T. Blake, (Actor)
The Rev. Charles E.L. Wright, M.A., P.G.D., (Clerk in Holy Orders)
The Rev. H.E. Cart de Lafontaine
W. Bro. Charles Vickers, P.P.A.G.D.C.
W. Bro. George Eaton-Shore, P.P.A.G.D.C. (Civil Engineer)
W. Bro. George Swallow, (Manager)
W. Bro. George Atkin
Bro. E.W. James, (Manager)
The Rev. S. Gasking, P.Prov.G.Chaplain
W. Bro. Andrew Ellor, P.P.G.Treasurer
Bro Ernest Hallsworth
Bro. S.B. Bell, (Secretary and Superintendent of the Sailors’ and Boatmen’s Mission)
Bro. Fred Penlington, (Gentleman)
Bro. Captain Francis E. Vincent, (Master in the Mercantile Marine)
W. Bro. Edwin Hurditch Hewlett,
W. Bro. William Matthews Jones, (Borough Engineer and Surveyor of Chester)
Bro. Horatio Robinette Wood, (Managing Director)
Bro. George Stretch, (Merchant)
W. Bro. Frederick Wooldridge, (Engineer)
Bro. Joseph Thomas Warren, (Gentleman)
Bro. Harry Slingsby, (Manager)
Bro. W. Richards, (Gentleman)
Bro. Charles Frederick Grundy, (Gentleman)
Bro. Eduard Krause, (Illusionist)
Bro. Arthur Chapman-Durrant, (Gentleman)
Bro. Francis E. Morse Stephens, ‘C. Douglas Stuart’ (Secretary Music Hall Artistes Railway Association)
W. Bro. Harris Fineberg, (Gentleman)
W. Bro. George Henry Clarke, P.G.D.W. of the Argentine Republic (Merchant)
W. Bro. William Henry Le May, (Mayor of Lewisham)
Bro. Joseph Brewster Hamilton Green, ‘Bruce Green’ (Artiste)
Bro, Ernest Heaton, (Merchant)
Bro. William Cromwell Knox, ‘Will Cromwell’ (Artiste)
Bro. Arthur Aiston, (Artiste)
The W.M., W. Bro. R.F. Gould, proposed that W. Bro. Arthur P. Purey-Cust, the Dean of York, P.G.Chaplain, Eng., be elected an Honorary Member of the Lodge; this was seconded by W. Bro. Sir William Hesketh Lever, P.P.G.W. The resolution was unanimously carried. W. Bro. The Rev. Canon J. Watson M.A, the Sub-Dean of York, Bro. Fox Thomas, P.G.Secretary, N. and E. Yorkshire and Bro. A.H. Barron, W.M. of York Lodge were also elected Honorary Members.
The Lodge was then closed after solemn prayer.
COUNT EUGENE FÉLICIEN GOBLET D’ALVIELLA (1846-1925) was a Belgian statesman and historian of religions. He was one of the great pioneers in the study of comparative religion, his book The Migration of Symbols is still in print and he played an active role in bringing religious tolerance to Belgium. He was initiated in Brussels in 1870, in the Loge Les Amis Philanthropes, and in 1884 became Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Belgium. He attended the installation of the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII) as Grand Master on 28 April 1875 and he was invited to join the press corps who followed the Prince on his journey to India. In 1909 he was elected to membership of the research lodge Quatuor Coronati (2076) in London. Count Goblet occupied the centre stage of Belgian Freemasonry for 50 years as well as being a leading politician, writer and scholar – he was a man of great intellect and culture who had a profound influence on his contemporaries. He became an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1911 and undertook the Lodge Office of ‘Secretary for the Continent of Europe’.
JOSEPH BREWSTER HAMILTON GREEN (stage name BRUCE GREEN) was a comedian born in 1876. He enjoyed a long and successful career as a pantomime and music hall artiste playing a ‘dame’. The inspiration for him to tread the boards came when he was ten years old when he toured England as a choir boy with St Paul’s Choir. His father was not too pleased and Bruce became a clerk in the Science and Art Department of the Public Service. According to an interview in Era on 6 June 1917 he began work as a clerk aged thirteen and stayed there until he was twenty-six. During this period he practiced his singing and wrote songs and a theatre company executive heard him singing in Littlehampton and recruited him for a show playing a ‘bibulous old cockney woman’. He was then offered the ‘Cannibal King’ and ‘Demon King’ in the north of England by the same management; after a week he was made the dame!
Bruce spent three years touring with the pantomime company also acting as the baggage man when the company could not afford porters. Acton Philips engaged him to play in stock dramas at the Lyric Theatre, London but he made most of his career impersonating old cockney women, playing seventeen years on the Moss Circuits, never missing a performance; arguably the longest run ever.
On 7 April 1924 he appeared as a male in Copper Nob, a musical review, at the Derby Hippodrome. He toured South Africa and Australia where he received rave reviews; his popular opening numbers being Washing Day and Spanish Burlesque.
By 1930 he had taken a partner into his act, Edith James and in March 1937 he was elected the Honorary Chairman of the Variety Artistes Federation, He was still performing in the 1940s. Joseph Brewster Hamilton Green, a member of Chelsea Lodge (3098), was proposed as a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) on 21 October 1911 by Bro. W. Lund and seconded by W. Bro. A.E. Coveney. In 1923 he was Worshipful Master of Chelsea Lodge and he died in 1944 aged 68 years .
ARTHUR AISTON, a comedian, was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1879. He was educated for a commercial career but after some three years in that line he left home and joined a travelling theatre, playing second low comedy parts. Later, he performed with many well-known companies and took part in important pantomime engagements as well as touring with his own fresco shows. When he left the legitimate stage for variety he quickly made good and appeared in every notable Music Hall in London and the provinces. He was a member of Canongate and Leith Lodge (5 – Scottish Constitution), Chelsea Lodge (3098) and he joined the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) on 11 May 1912. Aiston died in Brixton SE London, aged 40 years on 31 May 1919 leaving a widow Ruby and a small son.
WILLIAM CROMWELL KNOX, (stage name WILL CROMWELL) was initiated into Chelsea Lodge (3098) at the age of 21 in 1910. He was a juggler described as ‘the swiftest juggler in the world … he makes up as a girl and fools the audience completely’! He was the brother of Albert Edward Cromwell Knox (Teddy Cromwell, who was also a member of Chelsea Lodge 3098) and who worked as a boy juggler with Will Cromwell in an act called ‘The Cromwells’. Afterwards, Teddy went into a musical comedy show, adding dancing and comedy to his act. He developed the art of the diabolo which made him a little distinctive as a juggler and, at one time, he billed himself as 'Chinko', after the great ‘Cinquevalli’, who had appeared in the first Royal Command Performance in 1912. Teddy appeared on Broadway in the ‘Ziegfeld Follies’ of 1922 and was married to another famous music hall star Clarice Mayne. Together with Jimmy Nervo he was part of the original ‘Crazy Gang’. Will Cromwell became a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) on 11 May 1912.
LIONEL CARSON was the Editor of The Stage newspaper, the world’s oldest entertainment trade weekly, from 1904 until his death in 1937. It was founded by his father, Charles Lionel Carson, and his partner Maurice Comerford in 1880 and is still available today each Thursday on news stands or by subscription. Advertisements in The Stage have launched the careers of many celebrities including the writer John Osborne, Dusty Springfield, Kenneth Branagh and the Spice Girls! Noel Coward is attributed with saying ‘The moment you have arrived in the profession is when you realise you don’t have to read The Stage’. Lionel Carson was proposed as a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple on 21 October 1911.
23 OCTOBER 1911 – A paragraph in The Times for 23 October 1911 read:
‘At a meeting of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (No. 3464) at York on Saturday Prince Leopold of Prussia, Count Goblet D’Alviella (Past Grand Master of Belgium), the ex-President of the U.S., the Marquess of Zetland, Lord Bolton (D.P.G.M., N and E. Yorks.), the Dean of York, Bro. E. Fox Thomas (P.G.Sec. N and E Yorks.) and Bro. A.H. Barron (W.M. York Lodge) were elected honorary members of the Lodge. W. Bro. R. Freke Gould and W. Bro. Sir W. Hesketh Lever, P.P.G.W., were presented with P.M.’s jewels.’
It would appear that as some of these names do not appear on the Lodge Summonses as Proposed Members to be balloted on or in the Lodge Minutes that occasionally potential Honorary Members were proposed and voted on by a show of hands at the same time. This would also include the Marquess of Zetland, Count Goblet D’Alviella and Lord Bolton.
PRINCE FREDERICK LEOPOLD OF PRUSSIA (1865-1931) was a son of Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia (Fig. 36). In 1889 he married Princess Louise Sophia von Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, a sister of the wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He was Most Worshipful Past Grand Master of England according to our Lodge Photo Album – (probably an honorary title as his sister was married to the Grand Master!) and the last Grand Protector of Freemasons in the German Empire from the House of Hohenzollern. He became an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1912.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858-1919). On 21 October 1911 Theodore Roosevelt (Republican, Ex-President of the United States of America) was proposed as an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) by W. Bro. Sir William Hesketh Lever, Bart., P.M. and seconded by W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson, F.R.G.S., D.C. The ballot took place on 11 May 1912 and proved unanimous. Roosevelt was a polymath being an author, historian, conservationist and civil servant. He was the 26th President of the United States (1901-1909) and was succeeded by William Howard Taft who was himself already a member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464). Along with Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, Roosevelt’s image stands on Mount Rushmore and it was after him that the ‘Teddy Bear’ was named.
He joined Matinecock Lodge (806), Oyster Bay, Long Island in 1901 (when he was US Vice-President) largely because his gardener was the master and he went along to the meetings occasionally where he was referred to merely as ‘Brother Roosevelt’. He said in one speech:
‘Masonry teaches and fosters in the man the qualities of self-respect and self help – the qualities that make a man fit to stand by himself – and yet it must foster in every one who appreciates it as it should be appreciated the beautiful and solemn ritual – it must foster in him a genuine feeling for the rights of others; and Masons who help one another help in a way that is free from that curse of help, patronizing condescension.’