Brief history of the Lodge
The gathering of a group of friends on weekends at the Kings Head Inn, Chigwell, some of whom were members of the Brooke Lodge No 2005, was the inspiration to form a new lodge. Several of them being enthusiastic readers of Charles Dickens novels and his connection with the famous Inn, being a guest on many occasions, was the decision to name the lodge after him . The Inn had both suitable accommodation and an excellent room as a temple.
So the sponsorship by the Brooke Lodge was made and the Lodge was consecrated on Tuesday 1 lth July 1899.
The ceremony of consecration was performed by the Rt.Hon. the Earl of Warwick„ the R.W. Provincial Grand Master of Essex., assisted by W.Bro. R Woohouse Prov.SGW., W.Bro Col Landon Prov. JGW.,, W.Bro Rev. Canon Quennell, Chaplain, W.Bro T.J.Ralling Prov.Gd.Secy. W.Bro.A Lucking Prov. GDC. and W.Bro. J. C. Turner PPSGW as the Inner Guard.
The ceremony of Installation for the Worshipful Master designate was performed by W.Bro Lucking who deputised for the Deputy Prov Gd Master W.Bro Col Mark Lockwood MP who had been detained in London on parliamentary business.
The first Master was W.Bro Joseph Dormer. He appointed Bro. Alfred Ford as his SW ., Bro George J Vanderpump as his JW., Bro. Rev John Lewthwaite as Chaplain ., W.Bro A T Dale as Treasurer and W.Bro Joseph R Johnson as Secretary.
The Lodge meeting dates were arranged for the second Saturdays in May, June, July, and August. The meeting dates continued until 1912 when the August meeting was replaced by the second Saturday in December. Meetings were held at the Kings Head until the outbreak of the first world war when the train service to Chigwell became quite inadequate.
The Lodge continued to meet at various venues in London during the war years, although numbers were depleted and ceremonies restricted due to many members being called into active service with the armed forces.
The lodge returned to Chigwell in 1919 and remained there until 1925. With little or no improvement to the rail service, many members were finding it increasingly difficult to arrive on time or return home at a reasonable hour.
The lodge decided to hold their April meeting at the Masonic Hall , Loughton, which being successful for both travel and convenience, a vote was taken which proved in favour of holding all future meetings there. So ended the association with the Kings Head Chigwell, a painful and regretted move to most of the senior brethren.
Soon after the outbreak of World War Two, many younger brethren were called into active service. The Loughton Masonic Hall was taken over by the Army for billeting purposes, so again the lodge had to find alternative venues mainly in London to continue their meetings. Of the twenty-one meetings held during the war, only five were held at Loughton., a fitting tribute to the elder brethren with courage and determination to keep the lodge active during those harsh years. The Lodge eventually returned to Loughton in 1944 where it has remained to date. , with the exception of the Installation meetings in December, when these were held at the Abercorn Rooms, Great Eastern Hotel ,Liverpool Street.
Having settled down after World War Two, the lodge gradually rebuilt its membership to between forty and fifty brethren and continued to hold the Installation meetings in London until 1981, when alternative arrangements had to be made due to the Abercorn Rooms ceasing all functions on a Saturday in December.
A new date of the second Monday in January was obtained at Loughton and the Installation meeting was transferred to October where it has continued ever since.
Notable members of the Lodge included Sir James Roll, . installed as Master in 1911 who became Grand Treasurer of England in 1917 and Lord Mayor of London in 1920. Major Edgar Oliver MA., known as the "Grandfather of the lodge" a member for sixty-four years, Master in 1913 and 1923. Headmaster of Chigwell Grammar School. Sir John Pakeman CBE, master in 1907 knighted for his services to the government. There are many others too numerous to mention who contributed over the years to the success and building of the lodge. They will always be part of the history of our foundation and their names will remain with us for ever.