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Years 1945 to 1983

THE POST WAR YEARS (1945 to 1983)

 

The fact that members returning from the Forces immediately resumed their rightful order of precedence in the Lodge, resulted in a period of ‘standstill’ for a number of Brethren but happily, although involving some obvious disappointment, this was accepted with full understanding and the Lodge soon began to regain some degree of its pre-war normality.

 

In 1947, the provincial authorities came to an arrangement with the Hawthorns Hotel, in Wood lands Road, Clifton, to provide the Lodges with accommodation and meals and Chatterton Lodge held its first meeting there on 2nd October of that year. It was the Lodge Stewards who were to be effected  the most by this change of venue. Since the same room had to serve both as Temple and Dining Room, at the close of the ceremony, they were faced with the daunting task of removing all the Lodge furniture etc., assisting with the erection and laying of tables, whilst, at the same time, keeping at bay the crowd of hungry Brethren waiting not over patiently outside. There was no opportunity of having their meal beforehand and the service of liquid refreshment during and after the meal was still fully maintained. There were few complaints and secretly most of the Stewards enjoyed the challenge!

 

On 4th November 1948, during the Mastership of W.Bro.H.C.Hussey, the Lodge was especially honoured by the presence of a number of Grand Officers, in the persons of the R.W.Bro. Lord Cornwallis, K.B.E.,M.C.,P.G.W., The Provincial Grand Master for Kent; W.Bro.The Hon. W.R.S.Bathurst, T.D.,P.G.D.,D.P.G.M., (Glos); W.Bro. George Tryon, P.G.D., D.P.G.M., (Bristol); W.Bro. Fred Clarke, P.A.G.D.C.,Prov.G.Sec. (Bristol) and W.Bro. J.H.H.Perks,P.A.G.D.C..

 

The Lodge was highly complimented by the Visitors on the excellent and impressive presentation of the Bristol Initiation Ceremony, which was the more praiseworthy in that this visit had been requested at only a few day’s notice which completely precluded any special preparation.

 

It is of interest to note that at the February 1952 meeting the Lodge was advised that Grand Lodge had now recommended and approved the resumption of the wearing of white gloves at all ceremonies.

 

One of the more obvious shortcomings of our temporary stay at the Constitutional Club had been that there was nowhere available for rehearsals, Committee meetings etc. and each Lodge was left to make whatever temporary arrangements it could for these purposes. This was rectified in some measure following our move to the Hawthorns Hotel, by the renting of additional accommodation at the Hotel Annexe on the opposite side of Woodland Road.

 

Ever since the tragic loss of Freemason Hall at Park Street in 1940, it had been the earnest hope and sincere desire of all the Bristol Fraternity that we should have our own Masonic Hall again as soon as practicable and whilst we were at the Hawthorns Hotel, action was taken towards this end by the acquisition of Brunswick Square Chapel, which appeared ideal for our immediate needs. These premises were adapted to provide two Lodge Rooms, each with its own dining facilities and at long last we felt that we had accommodation more in keeping with the standing and dignity of our order.

 

Chatterton Lodge said farewell to the Hawthorns Hotel on 4th June 1953, when Mr.A.G.Burnett, the brother of W.Bro. W.B.Burnett and son of the Late W.Bro.L.W.Burnett, was initiated. Mr.Burnett, who was domiciled in Blantyre, Nyasaland, was in this country on leave but had advised the Lodge that he would be returning to South Africa in the very near future and our first contact with the new Freemasons’ Hall was to hold two special Dispensation meetings there on 2nd and 30th of the following month (July), for the purpose of seeing Bro.Burnett through the three Degrees before he left the country.

 

On 5th November, 1953, W.Bro.G.T.Garlick informed the Brethren that, in the capacity as Master of Chatterton Lodge, he had been invited to a luncheon given to celebrate the publication of a new book on the life of Thomas Chatterton, by Mr.R.Kruger: he was pleased to report that he had been very well received and was now the proud possessor of a presentation copy of the book.

 

Although we had been reasonably happy at Brunswick Square, it was becoming increasingly apparent that there were several practical and administrative problems arising which, even with substantial expenditure, were proving virtually impossible to resolve. After much deliberation it was decided that our future efforts should be directed towards the rebuilding of the Park Street Hall. Accordingly, an appeal was launched which was generously supported by the Lodges and by individual Brethren and this, together with the War Damage payments, enabled tenders to be invited and in September 1955 the Contract for the work was awarded.

 

The rebuilding of the Hall then proceeded steadily and Chatterton Lodge held its first meeting there on 3rd October 1957. To many younger Brethren who had not known the old Park Street Hall, the new surroundings appeared absolutely breathtaking and our older Brethren, imbued as they were with nostalgic memories, breathed a sigh of pleasurable relief that, after so many years in the wilderness, we were once again back in our old Masonic Home.

 

As might have been anticipated, settling down in our new Hall was not without hiccups. One recalls the problems (not restricted to those times it would appear – Ed.) with the heating/ventilation system, which, in its early days, seemed to produce draughts everywhere; and the time when our Master Elect, on the night of his Installation, could not be found anywhere. After diligent search he was eventually discovered, together with his guests, trapped in the lift, vainly endeavouring to attract attention form those passing by outside! Thankfully, he was soon rescued from his unfortunate predicament and apart from casually observing the delay in starting, few of those present were aware that anything untoward had occurred. The effect on the nerves of the Brother most concerned however is not recorded……….

(this was Bro.Fred Baber- Ed.)

 

In retrospect, it actually took only a relatively short time for the Lodge to accustom themselves to the new and pleasing environment and from then on, through the years which followed, right up to the present day, the Lodge has progressed on its way, sadly mourning from time to time the loss of those worthy Past Masters and Brethren who have passed to the Grand Lodge above and welcoming each year, young and enthusiastic new members who will, in due time and in their own turn, assume the mantle of responsibility for the future of the Lodge.

 

Mention must be made of the demonstrations of the Bristol Working which Chatterton Lodge has been called upon to give on a number of occasions to interested Lodges outside of the Province. These have included two visits to the Bristol Lodge 4522, meeting at Great Queen Street, London, the Candidate at the first of these being the W.Master at the time and on the second occasion, with his own son as Candidate!!

 

In addition to the regular fraternal visits in alternate years between Chatterton Lodge and the Bute Lodge 960 at Cardiff, many other such visits have taken place over the years, which without exception, have all proved to be most happy and rewarding occasions, renewing old friendships and creating numerous new ones, to the mutual advantage of all.

 

Guided by its Founders and influenced by its Mother Lodge from whom it will no doubt inherit a number of established customs which have stood the test of time, any new Lodge, from its inception, begins to build and to form what in later years will become its own traditions; and so it was with Chatterton Lodge. We initially inherited from Canynges Lodge the practice of giving the Charges after all three Degrees and also the Addresses to the Master, Wardens and Brethren following the Installation ceremony. Unfortunately this is not now done as is the usual practice in many of the Bristol Lodges.

 

Lectures on the interpretation and symbolism of the ceremonies and other subjects of Masonic interest were given fairly regularly before the closing of the lodge for the benefit of our younger (and perhaps, not so young) Brethren and these were very much appreciated.

 

Unfortunately however, these and other promising traditions did not survive the major disruption caused by the war and the various upheavals which followed. Dare we hope that they may yet be revived?

 

In March 1982, just prior to our Golden Jubilee year W.Bro. George Garlick died. He was a Licentiate of the London College of Music, an Hon. Fellow of Trinity College of Music London, a Member of the Worshipfull Company of Musicians of London and a Freeman of the City of London as well as being the Organist at St.Georges Church, Brandon Hill for many years. W.Bro. George had been a member and served the Lodge and Province for 45 years, being the Lodge Organist and later Treasurer for over 14 years. He was initiated in March 1937 and was W.Master in 1953.

 

On a brighter note in October 1982 we were informed of the promotion at the May Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge of W.Bro.H.T.Marsh, our only surviving Founder Member, to the rank of P.P.S.G.W.

 

 Our Golden Jubilee celebrations were held, after special dispensation from The Provincial Grand Master, on Saturday 22 January 1983 when the 425th Lodge meeting was preceded by a special service at the Lord Mayor’s Chapel on College Green led by W.Bro. The Rev. C.A.Edwards, followed by a buffet lunch at Freemasons Hall, Park Street, to which family and friends were invited. The actual meeting, which commenced at 6.05pm took the form of a Third Degree ceremony where Bro.K.W.Stevens was raised to the Third or Sublime Degree of a Master Mason.

(The address given at the Lord Mayor’s Chapel by W.Bro. The Rev. Cyril Edwards can be found in the Appendix to this History—Ed.)

 

We must record at this point that at the time of the Golden Jubilee in 1983 there was still one surviving Founder member, W.Bro.H.T.Marsh, P.Pr.S.G.W., who, at 89 years of age and after 57 years in masonry, was still attending the Lodge that he helped to launch, some 50 years earlier.

 

 The nearest meeting to the Anniversary of the first Lodge Meeting as apposed to the Consecration Meeting was held on the 7th April 1983 when W.Bro.G.H.Bevan was the Worshipful Master and was an Initiation Ceremony.


INITIATES AND JOINING MEMBERS, 1982

 

R. L.J.Darlington                      A.W.Wheeler

G.M.Evans                               D.H.Combe

F.J.Baber (P.M.)                       T.H.H.James

S.E.Witchell (P.M)                    R.J.Needs (P.M. 2008)

L.C.Bennett (p.M.)                    M.B.Lewis (P.M. 2008)

G.F.Wolland (P.M. Hon. 2008)  R.Hussey

R.Richardson                           R.L.Browne

J.Leach (P.M.)                          J.P.Botterell

R.T.Carey (P.M.)                       V.R.Comer

S.R.Perry (P.M. Hon. 2008)       R.D.Hayden

E.R.Roberts (P.M.)                   K.E.Coombe

J.C.Lord                                   C.A.Fryer

R.Marsh                                   T.J.Henning

N.M.Clark (P.M.)                       K.G.Milkins

M.C.Hussey (P.M. Hon. 2008)   G.H.Bevan (Rej) (Hon. 2008)

C.V.Rowe                                 M.Davis

H.S.Fussell                              G.H.Smith

R.J.Evans (P.M.)                      S.A.Gladwin

E.J.Hutchinson                         D.E.Jordon

K.R.Kerslake (P.M.)                  R.G.Catterall-Adams

G.White                                    R.Densham

B.J.Gainard (P.M.)                    R.J.Elkerton

E.J.York                                  J.W.Whittock

T.H.Hotchkiss                           J.C.H.Cockram

R.H.Needs (P.M.)                     J.Ireland

F.E.Watts (P.M.)                       W.M.E.Evans (Rej)

G.P.T.Baker (P.M.)                   M.E.Birmingham (J)

H.Millar                                    P.H.Case (J)

J.G.Webb                                I.M.W.Case (J)

D.Hussey                                 A.F.Lewis

T.J.White                                  J.R.Chapman

K.P.Britton                               J.C.Hawkins

J.F.Hawkins (P.M.)                   H.J.Grey (P.M. 2008)

C.Brooks                                 R.Allan

B.Cox                                      M.K.Kerslake

G.Howe                                    A.M.Clark

P.C.Saunders                           C.Shipton

K.G.Lloyd                                K.W.Stevens

E.J.Hibberd (J)                         M.T.Honour

D.L.Lewis (P.M. 2008)              A.H.Keen

 

(Still in membership in 2008 in blue type)