The fourth meeting of the Lodge was held in the drawing room of Lawton Hall, near Crewe, Cheshire on Saturday 11 May 1912; formerly a private house, the Hall was now a Hotel. Apparently, Charles II was concealed for some time in the Hall during which period he stood sponsor at the baptism of his host’s eldest son, born in 1656, the King marking the occasion by presenting his godson with an exquisite cup. Subsequently he presented the family with a portrait of himself painted by Sir Peter Lely which was still hanging in the dining room during the Lodge’s visit. Brethren, their ladies and guests stayed at the hotel for the weekend.
A Dispensation was granted by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire, Lord Egerton, to hold the meeting at which there were 35 members and 27 visitors. Following the minutes, a ballot for the 45 Brethren proposed at the previous meeting was taken which proved unanimous. Due to the illness of the W.M. W. Bro. A.E. Coveney, W. Bro. A.J. Shelley-Thompson took the Chair. A Master for the ensuing year was then elected (W. Bro. C.E. Keyser, P.G.D.), a Treasurer (W. Bro. H. Keays Bentley, M.D., P.P.G.S.) and a Tyler (W. Bro. John Scott, P.P.G.S.W.).
The thanks of the Lodge were tendered to The Worshipful Master and Brethren of the St. Thomas’s Lodge (1914), Kidsgrove, Staffordshire, for their kindness in allowing their lodge furniture to be used by the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464). The Very Worshipful Bro. The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Chichester, the Junior Warden, then thanked the Rev. S. Nunn, M.A., Rector of Lawton, for kindly allowing a special Masonic Service to be held at Lawton Parish Church on the Sunday afternoon (12 May at 2.30 pm) at which the Brethren, their ladies and visitors attended. He also expressed thanks to the Reverend C.A. Griffin, Vicar of Dunham-on-the-Hill and the Reverend S. Gasking, P.P.G.Chaplain for officiating.
The Lodge was opened in the Second Degree, and then in the Third Degree whereupon a Memorial Service was held for:
‘ … those Brethren, and others, who lost their lives so nobly by the accident to, and loss of, the great steamship “Titanic” in the North Atlantic Ocean. A collection was made in aid of those families left in distress, and which amounted to four guineas, and this was donated to the Fund raised by R.W. Bro. The Right Hon. the Earl of Derby, Lord Mayor of Liverpool’.
The following 2 Honorary Members were then proposed:
The Right Honourable Field-Marshal Viscount Kitchener, K.P., P.G.W., Past District Grand Master of Egypt and the Sudan.
The Right Honourable The Earl of Dartmouth, Provincial Grand Master of Staffordshire.
The following 17 Brethren were then proposed as Joining Members:
Bro. Isidore Schwiller, (Musician)
W. Bro. Mark Oliver, (Gentleman)
W. Bro. James Rountree (Solicitor) P.M., Lodge 51, Irish Constitution
Bro. George Marriott Edgar, (Artiste)
W. Bro. Thomas Cox
Bro. Edward McMullen Ford, (Artiste)
Bro. Harry Claff, (Artiste)
Bro. Samuel George Rodley Lyon
Bro. E. Sims Hilditch, (Professor of Music)
Bro. James Crockett Shupplebotham [sic], (Artiste)
W. Bro. Frank James Lunnon, P.G.Organist
Bro. Frederick Brereton, (Artiste)
Bro. James Mills
Bro. Thomas Alfred Williams
Bro. C. Shayler (Manager)
Bro. Charles Bedworth, (Gentleman)
W. Bro. Sir Thomas Robinson, Dublin – Irish Constitution
At the banquet which followed the meeting, wine from the grapes of Palestine, presented by W. Bro. Keyser, was served, and with it was drunk in solemn silence a toast to the memory of King Solomon.
FIELD MARSHAL HORATIO HERBERT KITCHENER, FIRST EARL KITCHENER, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, ADC, PC (1850-1916) was born in Ireland into an English family. He was commissioned in the Royal Engineers and in 1886 was appointed Governor of the British Red Sea Territories; subsequently becoming Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Army in 1892. In 1896 he led his British and Egyptian forces up the Nile, building a railway to supply arms and reinforcements and eventually defeating the Sudanese at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. This won him national fame and he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB). In 1900 he became Commander-in-Chief of the Boer War and on his return to England in 1902 was created Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum before becoming Commander-in-Chief in India.
In 1910 he was promoted to Field Marshal. When the First World War broke out in 1914 Kitchener reluctantly accepted an appointment to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for War and he is probably best remembered for his recruitment posters bearing his heavily moustachioed face and pointing finger over the legend ‘Your Country Needs You’. It was during this year that that he was elevated to the title of Earl Kitchener of Khartoum. He was killed in 1916 when HMS Hampshire was sunk by a German mine whilst on route to Russia. Kitchener became an Honorary Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) in 1912.
HARRY CLAFF (real name HYMAN CLAPP) was born about 1880. He established a reputation in musical comedy and light opera during the early 1900s and entered the Music Hall stage with even greater success. After studying singing under Garcia, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music and whilst appearing there in one of their operettas was heard by Richard D’Oyly Carte who gave him a 3 year contract to appear at the Savoy. Much of the time was spent in the chorus beginning in 1897 with The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, his only named part being ‘Kedas’ in The Lucky Star (January to March 1899). From parts in Gilbert and Sullivan he went to George Edwards at the Gaiety, singing the baritone leads in The Shop Girl, The Circus Girl, A Gaiety Girl and San Toy.
He made his first variety performance with Sir Alexander Mackenzie’s Knights of the Road at the Palace Theatre, London and soon afterwards he turned solo and toured the variety theatres where he sang operatic arias in character. In a lighter mood he presented a double act with his wife, Winnie Wager, billed as ‘Harry Claff and Lady – The Demon and the Fairy’. His most famous act, The White Knight, where he appeared in shining silver fish-scale armour, was followed by a series of historical musical sketches, King Henry VIII, etc., with which he toured America, New Zealand and South Africa. His repertoire included such popular songs as Let’s all go to the Music Hall and Till We Meet Again.
Dressed in his silver armour he was very proud at being chosen to lead the singing of the National Anthem at the first Royal Command Performance at the Palace Theatre on 1 July 1912 and from then on made it a feature of his publicity. A great pantomime favourite, he appeared for twelve years in Howard and Wyndham’s productions and in six pantomimes at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. He was a prominent figure in the Variety Artistes Federation, of which he was Honorary Chairman from 1928 to 1938 and he was a member of the Grand Order of Water Rats. His son, Harry Claff Junior, who was at one time married to Joan Regan, was the Box Office Manager at the London Palladium.
Harry Claff was a member of Liverpool Dramatic Lodge (1609), Chelsea Lodge (3098) and he became a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) on 12 October 1912.
MARRIOTT EDGAR (real name GEORGE MARRIOTT EDGAR (1880-1951) was born in Kirkcudbright, Scotland. When his father, Richard, married his mother he was unaware at the time that he had fathered an illegitimate son, Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace – this son became the famous journalist, novelist, playwright and screenplay writer Edgar Wallace – Marriott Edgar’s half-brother. Marriott was however, a talented performer, poet and writer in his own right. He started in the business as a scene painter but then began to play small parts and was described as medium height, quiet with a droll sense of humour.
He spent four years at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol as assistant stage-manager and general understudy after which he appeared in pantomime at the Prince’s Theatre Manchester. During the Boer War he toured South Africa and on his return he became stage-manager of ‘The Toreador’ and ‘Messenger Boy’ companies. In 1903 he conceived the idea of going on the halls and so he wrote a couple of songs for himself and started at the Palace, Camberwell. Subsequently he went on tour with Eugene Stafford in the musical comedy His Fatal Beauty during which he was spotted by George Scott who advised him to return to variety. Scott gave him a letter of introduction to Richard Warren who immediately employed him. By 1908 he had written some 24 songs, his most popular being The Reason Why I Dress in Red and two years later he made his fourth tour of South Africa.
Marriott was a very successful scriptwriter, actor and writer of monologues, many specifically made famous by Stanley Holloway and which included Albert and the Lion, (it is interesting to note that the ‘lion’ was named ‘Wallace’ – obviously an in-joke reference to his half-brother) Albert and His Savings, Albert’s Return, Asparagus, Battle of Hastings, Balbus, Burghers of Calais, Canute the Great, Channel Swimmer, Fair Rosamund, George and the Dragon, Henry the Seventh, Joe Ramsbotham, Jonah and the Grampus, Jubilee Sovereign, Little Aggie, Magna Carta, Richard Coeur de Lion, Runcorn Ferry, Sam’s Christmas Pudding, Sam’s Racehorse, Three Ha’pence a Foot, William Rufus and many more. He made his film debut in 1932 in Here Comes George which he also wrote and he fashioned screenplays for some of Britain’s top movie comedians including the Crazy Gang, Will Hay (Ask a Policeman and Oh Mr Porter) and Arthur Askey (Band Waggon, Charley’s Big-Hearted Aunt and The Ghost Train). In 1935 he appeared in the film Hello Sweetheart and as a writer was responsible for Windbag the Sailor (1936), Said O’Reilly to McNab (1937), Good Morning Boys (1937), Old Bones of the River (1938), Hey! Hey! USA (1938) Where’s That Fire? (1939), Back-Room Boy (1942), Top of the Form and many more. Marriott was King Rat in 1935 in the Grand Order of Water Rats, was initiated into Chelsea Lodge (3098) on 15 March 1912 and on 12 October 1912 became a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464).
ISIDORE SCHWILLER was a violinist and conductor who played with the London Symphony Orchestra for 23 years. After Vaughan-Williams completed his String Quartet in G minor in 1908, following his short period of lessons with Ravel, it was performed in London in that year by a quartet led by Isidore Schwiller, and revised in 1921. It is natural that there should be echoes of Ravel and Debussy in the textures and melodic contours of the work, which opens with the viola statement of the theme, leading to a secondary section, marked Tranquillo. Isidore Schwiller became a Joining Member of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) on 12 October 1912.
LETTER FROM THE GRAND LODGE OF SWEDEN – 27 MAY 1912
Later in the month, a hand-written letter dated Stockholm 27 May 1912 was received by W. Bro Shelley-Thompson which read:
Dear and Most Worshipful Brother,
You have had the civility of sending to the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Sweden, King Gustavus V, the membership jewel of the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple No. 3464.
His Majesty, who has with great pleasure accepted this jewel, has charged me to pronounce to you His most gracious thanks for this interesting gift, which reminds one of one of the most ancient traditions of our Order.
With fraternal affection I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant
Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Sweden
This letter is preserved in the Lodge Minute Book.
ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES – 22 SEPTEMBER 1912
Out of the blue the following short article appeared in the New York Times, its origin would seem to be an enigma but it could well be that the fact that when it was announced that Freemasons wanted to establish the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, its intention was misconstrued in certain quarters. Certainly, no mention of such a venture is recorded in the Lodge Minutes and I just wonder whether or not it was an American Masonic-led initiative. Obviously the ‘scheme’, if there ever was one, never got off the ground, perhaps it was a case of journalism never letting the truth get in the way of a good story:
LONDON. Sept. 14. – The scheme of the Freemasons to rebuild the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem has aroused much sentimental interest in Jewish quarters here, and much doubt is expressed as to whether the project will ever be realised. Some two years ago it was announced that Chester had decided to form a lodge of research to meet at Jerusalem and to be known as the Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple. Its members were to be drawn from all parts of the world, but in view of the unsettled state of affairs then prevailing in the Turkish Empire the Lodge was consecrated in the Province of Chester, and met under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England.
At any time an announcement such as this could not have failed from its very character to arouse the deepest interest throughout Jewry, whether members of the craft or not, but coming as it has within hail of the solemn New Year, when the thoughts of the Jewish people naturally revert to the past history of their nation, it has struck a far deeper note than it might otherwise have done.
As to the intended uses of the projected temple, details are necessarily incomplete, but however generous the financial support that has been placed at the disposal of the promoters of the scheme, however skilled the artificers, it will be difficult to convince the Jew that even modern arts and crafts can reproduce the stateliness and the splendour that is considered by some to have been exaggerated. The scheme appears in one respect to anticipate the yearnings of the pious Jew, who in his devotions prays daily for the restoration of Jerusalem, and incidentally the rebuilding of the temple:
“O dwell in the midst of Thy City of Jerusalem, as Thou hast spoken, and speedily establish the Throne of David therein. Oh build it speedily in our days, a structure of everlasting frame.”
It would seem that after all this part of a nation’s hope may be realised – but through an alien agency!
By the Zionists, that section of the Jewish people who have striven for years to build up a Jewish national life in Palestine and make the Holy Land once more the home of the scattered ones of Israel. The project of rebuilding Solomon’s Temple has been received with mixed feelings. They, on their part are doing much for the regeneration of Palestine. They are cultivating the land, establishing industries on a sound footing and making the country to blossom as the rose. Yet the religious aspect of Zionist work is such that for the rebuilding of the temple to be undertaken by outside agencies, as if it were a mere meeting hall or a “desirable mansion” jars horribly upon their sensitive feelings.
The question, moreover, has been asked by intelligent Gentiles whether the temple if and when constructed, would be retained by the Freemasons for their own use or handed over to the Jewish people “to enable them” as one correspondent suggests “to restart their ancient sacrifices and ritual”.