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.’