Thames Valley LodgeLodge No. 1460 Founded 1873

About us

On the 25th September 1873 the warrant of the Lodge was signed by the Marquess of Ripon, Grand Master, the Earl of Carnarvon, Deputy Grand Master and John Hervey, Grand Secretary.

The early history of the Lodge is closely linked with the provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex which had been inaugurated a few years earlier on the 22nd January 1870, at which time there were nine Lodges in Middlesex. Thames valley was the sixth Lodge subsequently formed in the province and its consecration ceremony took place on the 28th February 1874 at the Ship Hotel, Halliford, Shepperton, at a special Provincial Grand Lodge called for that purpose.

The ceremony was conducted by Robert Wentworth little, Provincial grand Secretary assisted by Thomas William white, Grand Steward, and was attended by a large and influential gathering led by Col. Francis Burdett, Provincial Grand Master and Joseph Charles Parkinson, Deputy Provincial Grand Master who presented the Lodge with an alms box which is still in use today. The first Worshipful Master to be installed was Lt. Col. James Peters who invested the Rev. P. E. H. Brette, D. D. as Senior Warden and C. B. Elliott as Junior Warden.

The Lodge continued to meet at Halliford until 1894 when it was apparent that there were difficulties in reaching it owing to the 'long railway journey' and it moved on the 7th April to the Mitre Hotel, Hampton court where it remained until 1942. The Minute dated 7th September 1875 records that 'after some business had been transacted the Worshipful Master discovered advisable not to proceed with any further business'. An emergency meeting was held on 2nd October 1875, at which a letter from the provincial Grand Secretary was read, acknowledging that the absence of the Warrant at the last meeting was due to an accident but admonishing the worshipful Master and his successors to be more careful in future.

The Lodge has always been zealous to restrict its numbers, believing in the advantages of a small lodge, but the limitation to 30 originally maintained was increased in 1875 to 45 even though actual membership grew only slowly and remained in the twenties for many years.

In 1879 the long association of the Crick family with the Lodge began with joining by William Clifton Crick, P.M. of the Canonbury Lodge No. 657. He was almost immediately appointed Secretary and held that office for 20 years during which time he installed four Masters before being himself installed Worshipful Master in 1902. In the previous year whilst Senior Warden he initiated his son Edward Clifton Crick and raised him during his year as Worshipful Master. He was succeeded in the Chair by J. Gordon Langton, P. P. G. W., PR.G secretary (Middlesex) who had been Secretary of the Lodge since 1899. The Lodge was honored on this occasion by the presence of R.W. the provincial Grand Master Lord George Hamilton, M. P., P. G. W. accompanied by the Deputy provincial Grand Master and other Provincial Grand Officers. The Installation ceremony was carried out by Admiral St. Clair, P. G. D. the Deputy Provincial Grand Master. J. Gordon Langton resumed the officer of Secretary after his year in the Chair until he was succeeded in 1906 by A. L. Collins, P. P. G. REG.

'Algie' Collins had been initiated in Thames Valley Lodge in September 1900 joined several other Lodges and had a distinguished career in Masonry. In 1919 he took a leading part together with Sir Frank Newson-Smith Bart in founding a Lodge for Old Boys of this University College School; Paulatim Lodge for Old Boys of his University College School; Paulatim Lodge as it was named has to this day worked in close co-operation with Thames Valley, sharing a Lodge of Instruction and having several members in common including Harold Davis, Secretary for twelve years and now assistant Secretary and Ronald Kaufmann, now assistant Director of Ceremonies. During these years the Lodge membership was slowly growing although still below 30 and attendances at meeting averaged only 12-15 members from very early days the Lodge had fully carried out its masonic duty of supporting the charities and frequent references occur in the minutes to generous contributions, a well as occasional assistance to distressed brethren an their dependents. In 1909 six past masters of the Lodge became founder members of Middlesex Masters Lodge.

On Saturday 4th June 1910 two brethren were raised, one passed and one initiated, A. L. Collins and E. Clifton Crick performed two of the ceremonies. In 1912 W. Sweetland who had been initiated in 1875, Treasurer of the Lodge since 1896, and Master in 1879, relinquished the appointment owing to advancing years. He was presented with a silver salver as a token of the affectionate esteem of the brethren. William Clifton Crick was elected Treasurer in his stead. He held this officer until his death in June 1917, shortly after attaining his jubilee in Freemasonry, having been initiated in the Canonbury Lodge in May 1867. He was succeeded in the officer by his son Edward Clifton Crick. In the same year a brother of Edward, Charles Percy Crick was initiated. Edward remained Treasured for 30 years retiring in November 1947, when he was presented with a gold watch in recognition of his long services to the Lodge and as a token of the esteem and affection of the brethren.

In 1921 the minutes record that disbursements during the year had exceeded receipts by £26.4.1. And economies were necessary. It was suggested that cigars should no longer be provided at the dinners, and champagne should only be supplied at the Installation dinner. The annual subscription remained at four guineas with the initiation fee of six guineas and joining fee of three guineas.

In the following two or three years two brethren were initiated who later became stalwarts of the Lodge and would be remembered with affection by some of the present members, Arthur Clough in 1921 and Tommy Boyce in 1922. The jubilee year of 1923 saw A. L. Collins, P. A. G. D. C., P. P. G.REG. elected to the Chair for the second time. A special dispensation had to be obtained as 'Algie' was at that time in the Chair of Middlesex Masters Lodge. At his installation a distinguished group of Provincial Grand Officers were present headed by A. Burnett Brown, Deputy Provincial Grand Master who presided at the installation ceremony. The Secretaryship of the Lodge devolved on Monty Leveaux who remained in that office until 1935 when he was succeeded by J. A. Morley.

At the meeting held on 20th March 1925 the Minutes record that 'As it is the fiftieth anniversary of the Initiation of William Sweetland, P.P.G.REG. The senior member of the Lodge, the secretary was requested to write to him offering him the congratulations of the Lodge and wishing him many years of health and happiness. Another member of the Lodge who just failed to reach this anniversary was Tommy Boyce who was initiated in June 1922, Worshipful Master in 1930, and died on 6th February 1972 the day after attending the Lodge in apparent good health and spirits.

In April 1926 the annual subscription was increased from four to five guineas at which it remained until quite recently. In the year 1928 Vernon Davis joined the Lodge becoming Master in 1934 and Treasurer in 1947. He was an Old Masonian and one of the very select bands of 'Matchbox Masons' having performed faultless ceremonies at the Emulation Lodge of Improvement. His close friend HARRY Mason was initiated in 1932 and these two together with J. A. Morley who joined in 1933 played an important role in reviving the Lodge after the Second World War. In January 1942 the Lodge moved from the Mitre Hotel, Hampton Court, where meetings had been held since 1894, to the Rest Hotel, Kenton, Harrow, which in view of war time restrictions on petrol and rail travel was a more convenient venue for a majority of the members. In 1945 Thames Valley was a founding Lodge of Bentley Priory, J. A. Morley, W. Narbey, F.G.Canuto and T. Cunnington were founder member, the last named was Thames Valley Lodge secretary and the first secretary of Bentley Priory. Frank Gartside the only surviving founder member of Bentley priory joined Thames Valley Lodge in 1961. In February 1947 our present W.M. Claude Frost was initiated. He was also Worshipful Master in 1956 and since 1960 held the office of Director of Ceremonies of the Lodge. Louis Legater Worshipful Master in 1947 and now the oldest active member of the Lodge initiated five new members during his year of office and the following year, including the present Worshipful Master and the Director of Ceremonies Alfred Lusher.