Consecrated in 1906, the Lodge was originally founded for alumni of Trinity College Dublin who lived or worked in London. In March 2006 the Lodge’s Centenary was celebrated with a meeting at Freemasons’ Hall attended by then Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master, The RW Bro Russell J. Race DL PJGW, with a number of other Brethren from Metropolitan Grand Lodge. The then MW The Grand Master Mason of Scotland, Sir Archie Orr-Ewing Bt., a TCD alumnus and honorary member of the Lodge, attended. A strong contingent from Ireland was present in the form of the Past Senior Grand Chaplain of Ireland, Rt Revd Samuel Poyntz and Brethren from Trinity College Dublin Lodge No. 357 (Irish Constitution) and University Lodge No. 33 (IC). Afterwards, over 100 Brethren dined at the Kingsway Hall Hotel. A number of Brethren attended a Meeting of our Sister Lodge in the Grand Temple, Molesworth Street, Dublin, which was followed by a White Table in the College.


Precis of the Lodge History read at the Centenary Meeting

The following precis of the Lodge history was written and orated by the Senior Deacon at the Century meeting.

Four-hundred-and-three Regular Meetings, five meeting places and 194 Members over 100 years: some of the statistics of this, the Trinity College Dublin Lodge No 3153. My Brethren, I give you the history of our Lodge.

As Patrick Shallard wrote in his original History of the Lodge, there has always been a fairly large colony of Trinity College Dublin men in London. It was therefore only natural that those who belonged to the Masonic fraternity should sooner or later try to form a Lodge united by the common bond of connection with the old University.

Dr Phineas Abraham, who organised the petition to apply for the Lodge’s foundation, was installed as the first Master at the Consecration on 19 March 1906. The Oration spoke of the purpose of the Lodge being to bring within a closer brotherhood, the members of Trinity College of the University of Dublin, whose career lies far from their Alma Mater, and from the Masonic Jurisdiction of the sister Isle. Eighteen founding brethren were present at the consecration. Most of these were medical men and also included the only TCD man ever to have become Lord Mayor of London: Sir Horace Brooks Marshall. And they didn’t just come from fair Erin: Sir John Edge was a retired Indian Judge and John Pollen, a retired Civil Servant, had been District Grand Warden of Bombay. Four candidates were proposed and were later initiated at an emergency meeting two months later. Also at that emergency meeting, the By-laws were approved, but were subject to many revisions over the early years of the Lodge’s history. The banner which we see in the Lodge today was presented by the first Junior Warden, Bro Graves Lombard, having been designed and worked by his daughter.

During the First World War, it became difficult to carry on Masonry. Many members of the Lodge joined HM Forces. The Lodge Membership fell from 30 in 1914 to 26 a year later. The subscriptions of all Members serving with the Forces and unable to attend the Lodge were suspended. Sums, such as the Lodge could afford, were voted from time-to-time to various war charities. The work done was mainly rehearsal of ceremonies in preparation for happier times.

In May 1925, the Lodge resolved to become a Hall Stone Lodge under the Masonic Million Memorial scheme with 15 being the amount required for qualification. Two years later, the final instalment was paid and the Worshipful Master was presented with the Hall Stone Jewel, which our Master proudly wears to this day. That year, the Lodge also became a Founding Lodge of the Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home.

Again, the Second World War was an understandably difficult time for the Lodge, with some 25 Members on Active Service and 12 detailed for Essential Medical Service. On one occasion in 1941, the year that Freemasons’ Hall become the meeting place of the Lodge, only nine members were present. Despite the difficulties, only one Regular Meeting was cancelled during the whole of the war period. The Lodge lost a Candidate: Mr Martin, a Lieutenant with the Sherwood Foresters, who had been elected and was awaiting Initiation was killed in action.

The period between the Diamond Jubilee in 1966 and the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary in 1981 was not an easy one for the Lodge. In its whole history the Membership had never exceeded 50 and while it has only once dropped below 30, the disposition of Members meant that it was not easy to maintain reasonable numbers at meetings. In the late Seventies there was serious consideration as to whether or not the Lodge should contemplate an amalgamation with another Lodge in a similar situation. The problem was highlighted at that time since the prospects of others than Past Masters passing through the Master’s Chair was slim. A heavy load had fallen on Past Masters and during those 15 years: five had undertaken a two-year office. The turning point came in 1979 when Brian Semple was elected as Master—the first time for six years that a Brother other than a Past Master had been installed.

campanileBetween 1981 and 1993, the number of Members increased from 32 to 40—the highest number since the immediate post-war years; the hopes of a steady flow of initiates were being realised. To mark the Quatercentenary of Trinity College Dublin in 1992, a special meeting of TCD Lodge No 357 Irish Constitution was held jointly with University Lodge No 33 Irish Constitution and our own Lodge. Twelve of our Members attended the meeting in the Grand Temple in Dublin, at which the Irish Grand Master and Assistant Grand Master were present.

Over the years, the Lodge has met at five different locations. The Consecration was held at the New Gaiety Restaurant in Strand, and the Lodge met there until the Gaiety went into liquidation in 1911. A Committee for “inquiry and recommendation of new quarters for the Lodge” was appointed and meanwhile the Lodge met at the Hotel Cecil until the committee made is recommendation that meetings be held at the Grand Hotel, in Trafalgar Square. In 1916 the Grand was taken over by the Ministry of Munitions and the Lodge then met once again at the Hotel Cecil. When the Cecil was also commandeered the Lodge moved to the Monico Restaurant in Piccadilly Circus. The Lodge stayed at the Monico until 1940 when it was damaged by enemy action and then moved to Freemasons’ Hall the following year. Under war conditions a meal after a meeting was becoming increasingly difficult. In 1942 the Lodge first dined at the Connaught Rooms—the beginning of a long association. The decision to make Freemasons’ Hall and the Connaught Rooms the permanent headquarters of the Lodge was taken in 1946. Although, we still meet here at Freemasons’ Hall, there has been a number of different venues for the Festive Board: the Montague Hotel, the Bonnington Hotel, the United Oxford and Cambridge Club, the Imperial Hotel and finally the current venues: Parker’s Restaurant and the Hercules Pillars. Interestingly, the current dining fee is only 71 pence more expensive than it was 14 years ago.

The Lodge continues from strength to strength with nine Joining Members and 20 Initiates between 2000 and 2006. In fact, such is the workload of the Lodge, that the By-laws were amended in 2005 to include an additional Regular Meeting each year and the Lodge regularly works two degrees at Meetings. Since 2003 Brethren other than Past Masters have held the office of Worshipful Master and that looks set to continue with all of the officers on the floor aiming for the Master’s Chair for their first time. As a Past Master of the Lodge recently said, “It is pleasing to see a Lodge with so many young brethren aspiring to the Chair of King Solomon.”

The milestone of one hundred years having been reached, and as the Lodge continues in strength, we can be sure the next hundred years starts in good hands.

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