March 2019

After many years editing the Lodge & Chapter news for the News Sheet, Jeremy Gaskell ( 1957-59) has decided to hang up his keyboard and to seek a slightly more quieter lifestyle. We thank Jeremy for his unstinting efforts and dedication to keeping our Alumni up to date with all that is going on in our small but thriving Masonic community. Having been “volunteered” to carry on Jeremy’s mantle, I will do my best to live up to his standards and to keep the information machine going.

The Armistice Centenary commemoration meeting marking the end of WW1 included a very special masonic service held at Freemasons’ Hall on the 10th November 2018. This was held under the banner of the Victoria Rifles Lodge No. 822 on behalf of all 1,321 “Hall-Stone” Lodges at which – most of whom – including our own Sir Thomas White Lodge – were represented.

Following the formal Act of Remembrance when,  as the room fell silent, a cascade of poppy petals floated down from the ceiling, and after the bugle call of “Men to Meal”, there was a silent recession as members placed poppies next to a Vickers machine gun in their personal tribute to the fallen.

The photo shows W Bros Peter Cox (1958-62) and Neil Richards (staff 1987-2008) approaching (top left) to lay their poppies.

A Hall-Stone Lodge is one where the Lodge contributed to the construction costs of, what in 1919, was called the Masonic Peace Memorial but is now known as Freemasons’ Hall in London. Each Hall-Stone Lodge was presented, by the Most Worshipful Grand Master at the time, a Hall-Stone Jewell, which is worn by every current Master of the Lodge in conjunction with the Master’s Collar and is annually passed on to his successor. What is not so generally well known is that one of the co-Architects of Freemasons’ Hall was an OMT – H.V.Ashley (1896-99) who was also a member of our Lodge.

This winter has seen the annual change over of Lodge Master and Chapter First Principal. Ian Crawford (1960-65) succeeded Neil Richards as Master of the Lodge and Lewis Cohen (1982-87) became Chapter First Principal succeeding Gerry Greenland (grandfather of Joe Reagan 2015-2017). This is Ian’s first attempt at being Master but Lewis is being “re-cycled” for the second time.

2018 was a very successful and enjoyable year. A fantastic Ladies Summer Luncheon was held at the Cock Inn, Sarratt, and many visits were made to meetings of our PSLC (Public Schools Lodges Council) sister Lodges including Wellington, Highgate, Rugby, Winchester, Felsted, Clifton and Westminster – where the inter school banter and camaraderie are second to none. In March Jeremy Gaskell and Keith Griffiths (staff 1975-96) visited the Old Crosbeian Lodge, Liverpool. This is a much enjoyable annual “beano” involving an overnight stay in an extremely vibrant city – need I say more! Amongst all this fun the Lodge & Chapter managed to donate almost £5,000 to various (mostly non-masonic) charities.

2019 is already looking just as exciting. The Lodge will be involved in assisting with the arrangements for the PSLC Annual Festival which this year is being held at the Rickmansworth Girls Masonic School on the 25thMay. This is a very high profile social event which is open to all, including non-masons. Also the Federation of School Lodges will be holding their 2019 Annual Festival in Preston on the 31st August and under the banner of the Old Crosbeian Lodge. Jeremy and Nina Gaskell will be attending and are hoping to be joined by other “Tommy Whiters”.

The Chapter is well advanced in planning for its centenary in 2021. There are plans to hold the celebratory banquet in the Great Hall at St Barts Hospital in the City of London. St Barts has a long association with MTS and will be a magnificent and fitting venue for our celebratory party.

Masonic visitors are always very welcome at our meetings but most especially at the July school meeting. Forthcoming dates are: Lodge – Friday 5th July (at MTS), Thursday 19th September, Thursday 19th December and Thursday 27th February 2020 (Installation), all at Mark Masons Hall. Chapter – Tuesday 11th June, Tuesday 19th November and Thursday 16th January 2020 (Installation) , all at Freemasons Hall.

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