“100 Not Out”

St Georges’s Lodge No 4387

Picture of Richard Dixy, a visiting volunteer standing next to the MCF banner

A wonderful evening

A great history of the lodge

looking forward to the next 100 years

Tuesday the 21st November 2023, saw members of St George’s Lodge Number 4387 gather at the Masonic Centre, Franklin Road, Gillingham.

The ocassion? To make 100 Years of continuous meetings of the Lodge. Here is a report on the meeting by WBro Paul Gear Provincial Grand Communications Officer

Group photo of the members and visitors to the lodge 100th meeting, all in the lodge room in full regalia.

Lodge members gather with the Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Phil South, members of the Provincial Escourt and guests and visitors. 

Two things straight away, I have never attended this lodge or ever attended a Centennial Meetings, so I was really looking forward the the evening. 
Driving from Deal, picking up our beloved Provincial Grand Secretary David Graeme and his Son, (Alistair) got the evening off to a good start, the weather may have been dreery, but the conversation at atmosphere in the car was far from it. 
We duly arrived at the Franklin Rooms, and were greeted with a warm welcome from some familiar and some unfamiliar faces. 

Pulling up at the Franklin Rooms, we were met with a welcoming committee of familiar and unfamiliar faces. WBro Graham Chisnell’s grin could outshine a lighthouse—always beaming, always happy to see everyone.

After some introductions that rivalled a speed-dating event, the banter and chit-chat kicked off. Lodge meeting gossip, life updates, you name it. It was like a social mixer on steroids.

The Festive Board ready to receive the guests

Now, as part of the Provincial Executive, we got our own dressing room, courtesy of the ever-efficient WBro Andy Stevens. He was like the backstage manager of a chaotic rock concert, herding us cats into some semblance of order. Well, everyone except our Provincial Secretary—he was a free spirit in a masonic suit.

The next follows the usual lodge meeting, with the Deputy Grand Master talking the Masters chair, followed by our very own, Provincial Senior Warden, Colin Barden and Provincial Junior Warden Matt Jury taking the respective Senor and Junior Wardens Chairs. WBro David Graeme took the secretaries role and WBro Howard Pashley the Chaplin’s role.

An history of the lodge was read out in a passionate manor by the WBro Jimmy James , with poignant dates and events being highlighted. We all stood to order, whilst the names of those who gave their lives during the second world war were read out. an undeniably moving moment.


St. George’s Lodge was formed by a group of eight Masons of various Lodges who worked in the victualling department of the Chatham Dockyard during and after the end of the Great War. It was agreed that the new Lodge would be called the Prince Edward Lodge after the future Prince of Wales and King Edward VIII, failing which St. George’s Lodge.  For reasons unknown the preferred name was not approved. 

The application for founding the Lodge was sponsored by Lord Charles Beresford Lodge No. 2404. On Tuesday 08th February 1922, the Mayor of Chatham hosted a lunch at Chatham Town Hall (now the Brook Theatre).  Sufficiently fortified the group made its way to the Central Hall in Chatham High Street. 

A lodge record book from 1922 showing the first members

The Provincial Grand Master for Kent Rt. W. Bro. Colonel FSW Cornwallis carried out the Consecration Ceremony to an appreciative gathering of 276 Masons. The first regular meeting of the Lodge was held on 21st March 1922 at the Masonic Hall, Manor Road, Chatham. At the meeting eleven Joining Members were elected and ballots were held for six candidates.

At a special meeting on 21st November 1922 the Lodge changed its meeting place to the Masonic Hall, Franklin Road, Gillingham (now the Sikh Temple). The first meeting at the newly completed Masonic Hall was the St. George’s Installation meeting on 20th February 1923. In 1926 a vellum scroll on which to record the signature of each succeeding Master was presented to the Lodge. We still have it and it contains 100 years of Lodge WM signatures.

a vellum scroll on which to record the signature of each succeeding Master was presented to the Lodge

During the Second World War (1939 to 1945) forty-three meetings of the Lodge were held. The average attendances were twenty-four members and thirteen visitors. The meetings were held in the lighter months of the year and finished before 8:00pm. At no time was a meeting called-off or abandoned because of enemy action, although the sounds of bombs, dogfights and ack-ack gun could be a little disconcerting!

Forty-four Lodge members served and unfortunately three of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. In November 1956 a collection of twenty silver crown pieces, each with the design on the reverse of St. George and the Dragon, the whole being mounted in a unique glass frame was presented to the Lodge. It had taken fifteen years to collect the crown pieces and we still treasure them to this day together with many other items which have been donated over the years.

twenty silver crown pieces, each with the design on the reverse of St. George and the Dragon, the whole being mounted in a unique glass frame was presented to the Lodge.

In the 50’s and 60’s it was commonplace for the Lodge to provide funds to the Brethren to help with the purchase of regalia for those Brethren who had received Provincial or Grand honours. We also used to buy back regalia from the widows of Lodge members who had passed to the Grand Lodge above. At most meetings the Lodge was filled with over one hundred Brethren. The “Gentle Dragons” were founded in 1967. Members were the wives of the Lodge who undertook to raise money for charitable purposes.

In 1975 the Brethren had to wrap up warm as the boiler broke down and remained so up until the end of the year. So much history and so little space to sum it all up. After a delay in receiving the Centenary Warrant, the St. George’s Lodge finally held its Centenary meeting on 21st November 2023 where forty-four Brethren from the Lodge, the Province and our guests and visitors enjoyed a four-course meal. Memorabilia from the hundred years was on show the event was enjoyed by one and all, see below. 

Then came the “official bit.” WBro David Graeme, armed with the Centennial Certificate, took the spotlight. Like a seasoned performer, he read the contents before he handed it over to the Provincial Director of Ceremonies, Andy Stevens, who in turn passed it to the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Phil South.

Phil, with a grin as wide as the certificate, presented the prized parchment to the lodge, showering them with congratulations for hitting the century mark.
The Worshipful Master thanked VWBro Phil, and stood with pride as he shook hands.

As the meeting drew to a close, the inevitable group photo beckoned. The hunt for a camera ensued—anyone got one? A mobile phone would do! Click! And just like that, the event was immortalized for prosperity. A feat not as easily accomplished a century ago.

With the formalities out of the way, it was time for the festive board. A four-course feast awaited, accompanied by laughter, camaraderie, and an undeniable sense of achievement among the lodge members. It was a celebration that would be talked about for another hundred years, or at least until the next quirky lodge gathering.

Want to know more? Just Ask

If you would like to know more about Joining Us here in East Kent, head over to our Just Ask One site, and you will find lots more information. www.justaskone.org

 Not forgetting our main United Grand Lodge Freemasons page, https://www.ugle.org.uk

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