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Bradstow Chapter 100 not out!!



It was a privilege to watch Bradstow Chapter celebrate their 100th Anniversary on the 15th November 2021. They dedicated a new banner and received their centenary warrant from the ME Grand Superintendent Neil Hamilton Johnstone who was accompanied by his Provincial Executive.

Celebration of the Bradstow Chapter
Consecration programme picture
newspaper cutting of the consecration of Bradstow Chapter

Bradstow Chapter was consecrated on the 9th November 1920 at the Grand Hotel Broadstairs, where 88 members and guests including the 15 founders watched the consecration ceremony by the then ME Grand Superintendent Lt.Col Fiennes Stanley Wykeham Cornwallis CBE,DL,JP.

The Chapter Warrant

There were fifteen founders: each of the founders had a part to play in the

development of the Chapter and each has his own story to tell, like the First Assistant Sojourner – Comp. Oliver William Marsh, whose father, a bathing machine operator, tragically drowned while trying to save the life of a swimmer in 1903. 

Picture of First Assistant Sojourner – Oliver William Marsh (40)

First Assistant Sojourner – Oliver William Marsh (40)

Born in Thanet in 1881, the son of a bathing machine operator. He was trained as joiner but following the tragic death of his father who was trying to save the life of a swimmer in 1903, he became responsible for the bathing machines, although in later years he returned to carpentry. The family also had properties in London where he met and married Eleanor Margaret and they had one son. They lived in Kings’ Avenue Broadstairs. He passed to the Grand Lodge above in 1964. He was initiated into the Bradstow Lodge on 27th December 1911, was WM in 1921 and was exalted in the Alfred Wootton Chapter No 127 in 1920. He became First Principal of the Bradstow Chapter in 1926.

The range of occupations and professions of the founders is rich and diverse; it is little wonder that having such an interesting and talented group of people would prove to be very influential in inspiring potential candidates to join the Chapter. These Companions certainly set the bar high but those who followed in subsequent generations have proved to be equal to the task.

Picture of the Chapter Jewels
Picture of the Grand Hotel in Broadstairs

The Founders undoubtedly played a crucial role in setting the direction of the Chapter and over the last century there have been momentous occasions which have had an impact on the Chapter and their families’ lives, set against the backdrop of national and international events. The end of the First World War, a global conflict, on 11 November 1918 would have brought immense relief to the families and individuals who survived. Imagine the joy and excitement that must have been apparent at the consecration of the Bradstow Chapter on Tuesday 9th November 1920 at the Grand Hotel, Broadstairs. The Grand Hotel was an imposing structure overlooking Louisa Bay and a suitable setting for the Companions to enjoy a remarkable ceremony presided over by the Grand Superintendent.  The occasion was a landmark event in the history of the Chapter and those who had attended would surely have reflected on the day’s proceedings with happy memories and considerable pride.  

The Oration on that day by the Third Provincial Grand Principal was entitled “On the Nature and Principles of the Institution.” offering Companions an uplifting and thought-provoking discourse on a subject, which is as relevant today as it was a century ago. Unfortunately the oration given by E.Comp.John Gibson Fleming is no longer retrievable but one of the key and fundamental building blocks of freemasonry is the permanency of the institution and the principles it espouses.

The Second World War again proved to be a challenge for thousands of Freemasons and their families, who served and endured through hardship and suffering.

The new banner
Picture of the presentation of the centenary warrant from the ME Grand Superintendent Neil Hamilton Johnstone

Although there have been remarkable changes in our social history over the last hundred years, one constant theme which navigates its way through the passage of time is the steadying influence of the founders of the Bradstow Chapter and the determination of their successors to continue to preserve and maintain those excellent virtues espoused so nobly by their predecessors. Against the backdrop of the ravages of the Spanish flu epidemic, which claimed 50 million lives worldwide, two World Wars, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Chapter has maintained a respectful and unflinching regard to the principles of masonry. 

As the Chapter emerges from the Covid pandemic it can look forward with hope and optimism to a brighter tomorrow. The Officers and Companions of the Bradstow Chapter will look to the future; set out their plans to make new history for the next 100 years and embark on the next part of their journey together, in the knowledge that they are supported and encouraged by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and Executive. There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind that the founders and former Companions of the Bradstow Chapter No.2448 would be proud of what they have achieved and would gladly raise a glass as they wish Bradstow Chapter well for the future.


Chris Sanford JP,PPGReg.

Provincial Communications Officer HRA.


My Thanks go to Peter Dickinson the Scribe E of Bradstow Chapter and to the 3rd Grand Principle. Terry McGlone for the use of his oration speech.

Picture of the Chapter Members
At the Festive Board
Chapter Officers and guests
The 3 Principles and the ME Grand Superintendent Neil Hamilton Johnstone
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