About Us & History
We are a thriving Lodge based in the heart of London at Freemasons' Hall, Covent Garden. Our membership is diverse and dynamic, a mix of young professionals and seasoned Masons.
We welcome inquiries regarding membership from prospective candidates for initiation as well as Brothers for joining membership.
Our Mother Lodge is Universities Lodge 2352 (at Durham University) and a number of our members first joined Masonry through that great Lodge.
We have a very strong connection with the Connaught Club - a social club for young Freemasons in London.
HOW THE UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM LODGE WAS FORMED
In 1903 a number of keen Masons, who were graduates of Durham University, met to consider the possibility of forming a Lodge in London.
Having decided to proceed, W Bro Frederick Spicer (later the first Secretary of the Lodge) called a meeting at his home in 17 Wimpole Street W1 and it was decided to proceed with an application to form a new Lodge, which would be restricted to graduates, licentiates and those holding honorary degrees in the University. The subscription would be 1 guinea per annum, with 5 guineas for initiation, and 3 guineas joining fee.
35 Brethren signed the Petition to Grand Lodge. A charter was granted 2nd March 1904 by Grand Lodge and the new Lodge was consecrated on 5th May 1904 at the Criterion Restaurant, Piccadilly W1 by VW Bro Sir Edward Letchworth, Grand Secretary, after whom the present "Letchworths" shop at Freemasons Hall is named.
Sir George Hare Philipson, MA, MD, DCL, FRCP was installed as first Worshipful Master. There 30 members and 65 guests present. Probably our most famous early Worshipful Master was Edward Shortt, MP who was installed as WM in 1919 (and again in 1926 and 1927) - he was Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1918 & then Home Secretary in 1919 in Lloyd George's Government.
The By-laws of the Lodge were amended in the 1950's to widen the criteria for membership, due to declining numbers after WW2 and now there are no restrictions on Membership, i.e. you don't have to have any connexion with the University of Durham - although a number of our Members are Durham graduates.
The Lodge celebrated its Centenary at Mark Mason's Hall in 2004. The Lodge now meets at Freemasons' Hall in Covent Garden.
The Lodge strongly welcomes all Graduates and students of Durham University, as Members or as Masonic Visitors.
THE FIRST ONE HUNDRED YEARS
We are being told that we can all expect to live longer in the future. If this is so, I suppose that it could be possible in the years to come that a founder of a Lodge could be present at its centenary celebrations. Sadly we haven’t reached that point in time yet, your humble servant has been asked to pen a few thoughts on almost forty years membership of the Lodge. I hope to reminisce on some of the events and to remember some of the brethren of the University of Durham Lodge who have made their contribution to what the Lodge is today.
One of my earliest memories is of a tall, thin clergyman who arrived late for a meeting as I stood outside the Lodge room as an Entered Apprentice whilst the ceremony of a higher degree was in progress. He was the treasurer of the Lodge and his name was the Reverend Prebendary Charles Waton. He was the Vicar of St Benet Fink, Edmonton and was a Grand Officer. To me, he was a very important mason yet was very friendly and put me at my ease. If anyone had said to me at that time that I one day would also become a Vicar and a Grand Officer I would probably have died of shock! One of the things I remember about Brother Waton was that he had a large ink stain on his apron proving I suppose that his tenure of the treasurership pre-dated the biro! The records show us that the Prebendary was Initiated in 1916, only ten years after the Consecration. He became Master first in 1921 and later again in 1937. Anyway, back to 1904 it was a very different world to today. Orville and Wilbur Wright had just completed the first controlled flight. How ironic that one hundred years later when we take air travel for granted, we have recently grounded, for good, the first super-sonic passenger aircraft – Concorde. At that time the founders of our Lodge were still beginning to grapple with motorised transport, if they could afford it!
It was in November 1903 that a number of keen masons, who were graduates of Durham University, met to consider the possibility of forming a Lodge in London. Some of them lived in the capital, others came from other parts of the country but who would be prepared to travel to London for the meetings. Surprising really, but perhaps steam trains ran on time in those days! Having decided to proceed, W.Bro Frederick Spencer called a meeting at his home, 17 Wimpole Street, London W 1. There were present W.Bro. Sir George Hare Philipson and Bros. Abbot Anderson, Harry Spicer RN, Henry Bircham, Joseph Nicholas Lee, A. Leahy, R.J. Brobyn-Williams, F. Silva Jones, Richard M. Wilkes, Rowland H. Coombs, The Rev. William Holding, Percy S. Jakins, Thomas Dutton, T Outerson Wood T.H. Openshaw and A.E. Neale.
W.Bro. Phillipson having been voted to the chair and W.Bro Spicer as pro tem. secretary it was decided to proceed with an application to form a new Lodge. It was also decided that all graduates, licentiates and those holding honorary degrees in the University should be eligible for membership. The name of the Lodge should be “University of Durham Lodge" and that it should meet on the second Thursday in the months of January, March, June and November. The annual subscription for town members should be one guinea and for country members half a guinea. The Initiation fee five guineas and the Joining fee three guineas. These fees were fixed low in order to meet the “wideIy expressed wishes of numerous graduates” in all parts of the country.
Sir George Hare Philipson was chosen as the first Master, The Rev. William Holding as first Senior Warden and T.H. Openshaw as Junior Warden. Thirty five brethren signed the Petition and therefore the Founders of the Lodge were as follows: T. Herbert Alderson, W.M. Abbott Anderson, Henry Bircham, John Braithwaite, R.J. Burton, Frederick Cambridge, T.Ponsford Cann, Charles Forsyth, John G. Gibson, The Rev William Holding, J.R.Humble, Percy S. Jakins, J.G. Revington-Jones, S. Silva Jones, Herbert Knyaston, E.Burritt Lane, A. Leahy, Joseph N. Lee Loftus, G.W. Lumb, Alan Reeve Manly, Milner M. Moore, T. Horrocks Openshaw, W. Pitt Palmer, George Hare Philpson, William J. Sheppard, Arthur P. Sherwood, Frederick Spicer, John Stokes, William Travers, L.R. Tulliet, Richard M. Wilkes, R.J. Probyn Williams, M Dale Wood T. Outerson Wood and T.C.J. Young. It is worth noting that seven of the Petitioners were graduates in medicine of the university. The Charter for the new Lodge was granted on 2nd March 1904 by the Most Worshipful the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn K.G. under the Title of “The University of Durham Lodge no. 3030”.
For more History of the Lodge please download this PDF.