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Lodge of Guiding Light No. 7539

The Antecedents of the Lodge

The Lodge of Guiding Light No. 7539 can trace its origins back some 250 years, to when the Kent Lodge was Consecrated. Our Antient Brethren of the Kent Lodge pledged its allegiance to the Antients Grand Lodge, which was at the time the rival to the Premier Grand Lodge which had been Founded in 1717.

The Antients Grand Lodge had been Founded in 1751 by six Lodges who were then in discord with the Premier Grand Lodge, so that when the Kent Lodge became the second new Lodge to pledge to it in 1752, it became No. 8 on its Register. Some 58 years later in 1810, the Kent Lodge sponsored the Lodge of Prosperity on the Register of the Antients.

Following the merging of the Antients and Moderns Grand Lodges into the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813, the Kent Lodge and Lodge of Prosperity became Numbers 15 and 65 respectively on the register. Kent Lodge retains the number 15.

In 1878, the Lodge of Prosperity sponsored the Lodge of Perseverance No. 1743, which in 1919, sponsored the Snaresbrook Lodge No. 4010. Following the expansion of London after the First World War, several of the Brethren from Snaresbrook Lodge, which had drawn most of its members from the Wanstead area, moved to the Kingsbury area, a relocation, which in 1930, gave rise to the sponsoring of the Birchwood Lodge No. 5178.

By 1936, the population of Kingsbury had risen sharply from its 1921 figure of 2,000 to 45,000 and in 1937, Birchwood Lodge sponsored the Cyngesbury Lodge No. 5607, which in turn sponsored the Oliver Goldsmith Lodge No. 5924 in 1943. The forces coming back after the Second World War, brought about the sponsorship of Dependable Lodge No. 6325 in October 1946.

In September 1957, Dependable Lodge decided to sponsor the Lodge of Guiding Light.

The Founding of the Lodge

The idea of the Lodge of Guiding Light began with certain members of Dependable Lodge, who thought that it might be expedient to form a new Lodge. It quickly gained support of members of Dependable to further this exciting project. A senior brother was delegated to seek an interview with the Grand Secretary, who was so impressed, that he assented to the project being furthered. A committee was formed and there followed several Meetings during which Brethren from other Lodges, well known for their dedication to Freemasonry, were invited to add their names to the petition.

Dependable Lodge approved the necessary Resolution sponsoring the new Lodge of Guiding Light, and sanction was received from Grand Lodge within a few months.

There were 141 present at the Consecration Meeting held at Freemasons Hall on 3rd September 1957. The twenty Founders were appointed to Office at that Meeting, and their names are still recorded on every summons.

The Founders and early Members of the Lodge

As recently as ten years ago, four Founders, one Joining Member, and the first Initiate, were all active members of the Lodge.

The Lodge is enormously fortunate that, nearly fifty years on, the link with the Founders of the Lodge is maintained through one Founder.

At the First Regular Meeting of the Lodge ballots were taken for five Joining Members and two Initiates. Of the Joining Members, one progressed to the Mastership of the lodge, and was later appointed to London Grand Rank.

All the Consecrating Officers were made Honorary Members, as was the then Grand Secretary in 1959. Regrettably, none of these is still with us.

The Meeting places of the Lodge

The first Regular Meeting took place at Mostyn Hall on October 30th, 1957. The second Regular Meeting was held at the Horseshoe Hotel, Tottenham Court Road, London, W.1. and the Lodge continued to meet there until March 1960, when Meetings were held the Kensington Palace Hotel, London, W8.

In 1969 the Lodge transferred to Charing Cross Hotel; in October 1971 we moved to the National Liberal Club; we returned to Kensington Palace Hotel in 1973 for a short stay, until establishing ourselves in October 1974 at the Park Court Hotel, Lancaster Gate.

In 2001 we relocated again, together with the Chapter and Lodge of Instruction, to our current Regular Meeting place at The Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, Russell Square, London WC1H 0DG.

Growth of the Lodge

The early days of the Lodge were extremely busy ones, with two Initiations at each Ceremony being the norm rather than the unusual, with comparable numbers of the progressive Degrees. Such was the influx of new Brethren that by the end of the first year there were 36 members.

At the time of the tenth anniversary there were 64 Members. By a strange coincidence, there were 64 Members at the date of our fortieth anniversary, although at the date of the twenty-fifth anniversary there were 76 Members. In 2006 there are 41 members - a good number by today's standards.

Fathers have sponsored their sons into our Lodge, and where feasible have conducted that ceremony of Initiation or taken some part in that procedure. Similarly, sons have proposed fathers and nephews have proposed uncles.

The Lodge sponsored a Royal Arch Chapter which was Consecrated on 26th May 1964, and which bears the name and number of the Lodge. The Petitioners included two Founders of the Lodge. The Royal Arch Chapter has grown in strength both numerically and in the quality of its ritual and has always been a great credit to the Lodge.

Some incidents of note

In 1957 the country was still recovering from the ravages of war. Post war shortages persisted and in particular electricity blackouts, sometimes affecting ceremonies which were conducted by candle light.

The Lodge Banner was presented by first year Initiates and Joining Members and unveiled and dedicated in 1958.

The Tenth Anniversary was celebrated at the Installation Meeting in November 1967, with our First Initiate as Master and every Consecrating Officer attending. There were 120 Members and guests present to commemorate the occasion.

In March 1973, the Lodge was not able to commence business at the time of the Summons, because a bomb had exploded in the vicinity of the National Liberal Club, our Meeting place at the time. The area was cordoned off by Police, and a number of Brethren departed or should we say fled hastily, after there was threat of another bomb exploding. Such was the resilience of the hardier Members, that they did get through to complete the business of the Lodge, albeit a little late in starting.

The Lodge celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1997 with a special meeting at Freemasons' Hall followed by dinner at the Connaught Rooms. We were fortunate to hear a presentation by senior founders on the circumstances leading to the foundation of the Lodge.

The Lodge celebrated its half-century in 2007 with a very special meeting held at the current venue, the Royal National Hotel, when we received several very distinguished guests.

Copyright 2006-2010 Lodge of Guiding Light No. 7539
This page last updated 04/Jan/2010