Users of the Franklin Rooms Masonic Centre in Gillingham will be aware that the carpet in the lodge room was recently replaced. A lodge in Spain expressed an interest in the old carpet which was purchased some fifty years ago by the members of Peace and Unity Lodge No 4101. The carpet’s journey from Gillingham to Valencia encountered some difficulties which, in hindsight, make for an interesting and amusing story, as reported by Graham Mitchell, Secretary of the Peace and Unity Lodge No 4101.
From Gillingham to Valencia – The Remarkable Journey of a Lodge Room Carpet
Here is the delightful story of a Province of East Kent Masonic Carpet and its new lease of life in Spain over a thousand miles away.
Some fifty years back Peace & Unity Lodge No 4101, or ‘P&U’ as it is more familiarly known, paid for and provided the Gillingham Masonic Centre Lodge Room Carpet at Franklin Road, Gillingham. Then in 2015, after many years of its continuous use, the Centre’s management team, the Gillingham Masonic Club Company, decided it was time for the carpet to be replaced at the Centre’s expense. With due courtesy P&U were consulted and gladly gave their permission.
In the true spirit of ‘waste not, want not’ word soon spread that a Lodge Carpet had become available and Brian Giles, the Master of the Gillingham Lodge of Benevolence No 184, speaking with his brother Leslie Giles – who lives in Spain - found that Logia De San Jorge No 165 in Valencia had a need for it. P&U were approached, immediately gave their approval and were delighted that the old Carpet could enjoy a new lease of Masonic service.
Leslie picks up the story – “I borrowed a truck and visited my brother Brian where to my delight I found that in addition to the carpet he also had a desk which was a bonus for us. We loaded the goods and I headed to Herne Bay, where I was staying at the time, nursing my sick Father-in-Law.”
Leslie decided to have the carpet cleaned through a company he found online. The chap duly arrived to collect it but unfortunately the day he arrived it was raining heavily so the conversation was brief as they loaded the carpet. “Give me a week” the chap said, “and we will have it back to you”.
During that particular week Leslie’s Father-in-Law sadly passed away and with all the arrangements for the funeral and so on, the details of the carpet cleaning company got lost. No Carpet!
Three weeks went by and Leslie thought the chap must have his details and would be in touch! But he was getting very worried. Leslie’s wife telephoned the Carpet Cleaners Association in Kent where the gentleman in charge assured her that no person would want a Masonic Carpet – “it would return!!” he said.
Leslie then emailed every Carpet Cleaning Company in Kent and the first reply he received was from a very relieved man from Deal, who confirmed that he had it. He was delighted they had got in touch as he had lost their telephone number and had forgotten the address in Herne Bay. The Carpet was returned!
They then prepared it and the desk ready for transportation. On the Carpet’s arrival in Spain they trimmed out the black border and bound it with Gorilla Tape. Everything worked very well. Leslie rebuilt the desk, polished it, and the transformation was stunning.
On Saturday 20th February 2016, a meeting of Lodge No 165 St Jorge of Valencia was held for the first time with the carpet and desk. Leslie said “It was a Third Degree Ceremony and the whole effect was outstanding.” “Thank you so much for making our Lodge so smart” he added, to which P&U replied “de nada” (you’re welcome).