Shepherds Bush Lodge



125 years ago, on Monday 22nd September 1879, Shepherd’s Bush Lodge was consecrated.

First things first though, before recalling the history of our Lodge, let’s look briefly at some of the events of that important year:

* On January 11, 1879, – the Anglo-Zulu War begins.
* Just eleven days later, on January 22, outnumbered British soldiers drive away attacking Zulu hordes after hours of fighting. The place? Rorke’s Drift. This action was of course, to be immortalised in the classic film ‘Zulu’.
* February 22, 1879, and in New York, Frank Woolworth opens the first ever Woolworth store.
* March 14 of that same year – Albert Einstein is born.
* Born on the 19th of May, Nancy Astor.
* May 26 1879 – The Treaty of Gandamak is signed, giving the British a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan.
* July 19 – And on the other side of the Atlantic, that legend of the old Wild West, Doc Holliday, kills for the first time after a man shoots-up his bar.
* October 29, 1879, and, Leon Trotsky is born.
* Just a couple of months later and on December 21, Joseph Stalin comes into this world.

Surely more dramatic than ‘Zulu’; and still here long after Doc Holliday, Trotsky and Stalin, let us now turn to the history of Shepherd’s Bush Lodge.

I must acknowledge now that much of the information presented from hereon is taken from the Shepherd’s Bush Lodge Centenary Celebration booklet, prepared and researched in 1979 by the then Worshipful Master, Albert Sibbick.

W.Bro Sibbick outlines the formation of the Lodge as follows:

The formation of our Lodge was somewhat impeded by a measure of opposition from a Lodge about a mile away from our proposed venue in the Shepherd’s Bush Road.

After an exchange of correspondence, it was resolved to accept an offer of sponsorship from ‘Earl of Carnarvon’ Lodge, which met at Notting Hill.

A petition was duly raised and presented to the Grand Secretary. Upon payment of the dues of £18, 11s. and 6d, the warrant was declared ready for delivery.

The Warrant was issued by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, His Royal Highness Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward the Seventh. It was signed by the Deputy Grand Master, Edward Lord Skelmersdale, and by the Grand Secretary, Brother John Hervey.

The Consecration took place on the 22nd September, 1879, at the Richmond Hotel, Shepherd’s Bush, W.12. and the following officers were appointed:

W.Bro. Lewis Bryett – Worshipful Master
W.Bro. Alfred B. Baker – Senior Warden
W.Bro. William Game – Junior Warden
W.Bro. Alfred C. Alais – Secretary
W.Bro. R. Pierpoint – Senior Deacon
W.Bro. Richard Josey – Junior Deacon
W.Bro. Peter Burton – Inner Guard
W.Bro. William Williams – Senior Steward
W.Bro. Schofield – Tyler

During the course of my simple research into the history of the lodge I was somewhat intrigued to find that the Junior Deacon, Richard Josey, was a highly rated and talented artist in his day. Richard Josey was a reproductive engraver of the highest order and his works had even been exhibited at the Royal Academy.

As a reproductive engraver he would be commissioned by well known artists to recreate their works in mezzotint form in order that prints could be made and sold by subscription to an eager public. Josey’s work included engravings after Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Whistler. The National Portrait Gallery presently has 24 of Richard Josey’s works in their collection.

Richard Josey would today be proud, for in the mere 2 1/2 years I’ve been a member of this Lodge, my experiences of Festive Boards and Ladies Festival Weekends have shown me that today we have many artists among us – albeit artists of a different kind!

Moving on:

For what ever reasons, only to be guessed at today, the Lodge did not stay long in it’s first ‘home’, and appeared to be restless before finally becoming settled in the heart of the West End many years later:

In May 1880, the Lodge moved from the Richmond Hotel to the Athenaeum in Shepherd’s Bush.

May 1887, saw it at work in Olympia, West Kensington. In November 1889, a move to Ladbroke Hall, Notting Hill. November 1891, to the Bush Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush.

September 1897 saw us at ‘Frascati’s’ in Oxford Street, where the Lodge remained until the closure of that establishment in November 1953, when we had to move to the ‘Oxford Corner House’, on Oxford Stre,t for the next meeting in 1954.

A hurried retreat to ‘Tolaini’s’ in Wardour Street in September 1967, and then on to ‘The Angus Steak House’ in the Aldwych, on January 1st, 1968 .

Regardless of where the Lodge was based the Brethren were certainly kept busy.

For the amount of work carried out in the early years was quite prodigious. There were five regular meetings in the year, interspersed with a number of emergency meetings.

A typical agenda would be, Two Raisings, Two Passings, Two Initiations, the admission of a joining Brother, presentation of Grand Lodge Certificates, and the usual business carried out in Lodge.

An emergency meeting would likewise consist of, Two Raisings, Two Passings, Two Initiations, and presentation of Grand Lodge Certificates. The timetable for this was set out as, Raisings, 5.15. Passings, 6.00, Initiations, 6.30, followed by light refreshments, well earned!

Being so busy as the Lodge was, it would be easy to assume that an exceptionally efficient Lodge of Instruction was in operation throughout, but, as is recorded:

There is mention of a Shepherd’s Bush Lodge of Instruction meeting at the Brook Green Hotel, but it does not appear to have survived. On Agenda’s dating from November 1924 to January 1927, reference is made to the Lodge of Instruction meeting at ‘The Mansion House Restaurant’ in Cannon Street.

Despite assertations that we were too cosmopolitan a Lodge to muster a sufficient number of Brethren to maintain a Lodge of Instruction, a dedicated band of Brethren persisted in 1953, and despite the necessity of occasional changes of venue, we have managed to survive, and after 51 years of continued existence, we conduct, and enjoy our meetings at the Horseshoe Public House in Clerkenwell Green, where we are to be found on most Tuesday evenings.

The original Ritual practiced appeared to be Taylor’s with a leaning towards Universal. It was proposed to adopt the Universal Ritual in 1953, and in this we have continued to the present day.

In May 1925, Shepherd’s Bush Lodge supports and recommends the Petition of several Brethren of various Lodges to Grand Lodge, for a Charter to be granted for the formation of a new Lodge, to be called the “Remus Lodge”.

The Consecration of Remus Lodge No. 4760, took place at Freemasons’ Hall, on 2nd November, 1925 – (In the old building, in the Grey Room).

Shepherd’s Bush Lodge has long had affiliations with worthy charitable causes and it was during the years in between the Great Wars that many of these links were established:

November 1927 saw a notice of motion with reference to the benevolent funds of the Lodge that the Lodge give sanction for the Treasurer and Secretary to enter into a Deed of Trust.
It is from monies accruing from this Fund that an annual sum is assured as a basis for the Master’s Charity list.

Whilst on the subject of charity, it was announced in March 1929, that sufficient money be taken from the Lodge funds to enable the Lodge to qualify as a Hall-Stone Lodge of the Masonic Million Memorial; and in May 1930, saw the first appearance of the Hall-Stone motif on our summonses.

Over the years the Lodge became a Patron Lodge of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys, and the Royal Masonic Hospital.

Today the Lodge continues it’s charitable works and of recent has supported the CRISIS Square Mile Fun Run, Moorfields Eye Hospital and Rosemary Special School – a school local to our Lodge of Instruction. Monies are also raised through our annual charity race nights and through other fundraising activities.

As is the case today, the Brethren of Shepherd’s Bush Lodge excelled themselves when it came to the Festive Board and Lodge Suppers, for W.Bro. Sibbick tells us in the Centenary Celebration booklet that:

Some years prior to the Second World War, a very popular feature took place annually, known as an “Old English Night”. It took place in November, and was celebrated as the Christmas Meeting. A “Dickensian” atmosphere was arranged in which the floor was covered with saw-dust; bare trestle -boards literally groaned under the Christmas Fare. This comprised a six to eight course dinner, followed by – to quote from “Ye Bille of Fare” the best British Beers, the finest of Jamaica Rum Punch, and to smoke, Fine Virginia Tobacco in Old English Clay Pipes, and this was supplemented by Choice Havana Cigars and Snuff, distributed by the Secretary of the Lodge.

About this time an unusual and alarming custom seems to have evolved. After each toast, and following the customary fire, a great cry of “B*U*S*H*” was given, much to the amazement of first time visitors. Its origin was obscure and was said to be traditional but in 1966 this somewhat noisy practice was brought to a halt, and despite occasional “rumblings” it ceased.

But not for long – as our visiting Brethren will shortly discover!

During the early years of the Second World War, Lodge activities are somewhat curtailed, and:

…Evening wear with white gloves at all regular meetings was discontinued and in 1940, morning dress or uniform became commonplace. Mourning for a deceased brother was observed by the wearing of three black crepe rosettes on the “badge” and one on the collar, and on these occasions white gloves were also worn.

With peace and stability eventually returning, the activities of Shepherd’s Bush Lodge continue in earnest, with many new members being initiated.


In 1962, the Lodge was asked to consider and approve the following motion:-
That the Shepherd’s Bush Lodge having heard the petition for a warrant for the formation of a new Lodge to be named “The Centre Point” Lodge, do recommend to the Most Worshipful The Grand Master that the prayer of the petition be granted.

On Thursday, 17th January, 1963, our daughter Lodge, “The Centre Point” No. 7866 was consecrated here at Freemasons’ Hall.

From January 1968, the Lodge, because of increased costs, had to reduce the number of yearly meetings from five to four. Through the 1970’s and 80’s, the Lodge appears to have gone about it’s business with little to disturb it.

Into the late 80’s and 90’s though, it would appear that the Lodge and the Lodge of Instruction became a little unsettled – as it had in it’s early years – as it seems to have roamed from one place to another – apparently jinxing each one as it went!

In 1988, after 35 years, the Lodge of Instruction was forced to move from the Crown Tavern on Clerkenwell Green, as the facilities were closed.

In the early to mid-nineties, the Lodge regularly met at the Shuttleworth’s Masonic Centre – this too closed. Sadly, with this closure, our Centenary Warrant was lost.

Regular meetings are held at Corvino’s for a while before moving here to Freemasons’ Hall in 1998. The Lodge of Instruction, then based at the Horseshoe Public House in Clerkenwell, moves to The Victoria Public House in Mornington Crescent. Guess what, the Victoria pub also closes!! From here, the Lodge of Instruction settles in the Britannia pub in SE1, but not for long, as, you’ve guessed it; this closes too!

As if to further prove that this ‘jinx’, or ‘curse’ is surely more than coincidence, it should be pointed out that in May 2001, the Lodge Ladies Festival Weekend was held at the Eastcliff Court Hotel in Bournemouth. On the Monday after we left – it burned down!

In 2001, the Lodge of Instruction returns to its ‘Spiritual Home’ – the Horseshoe pub and undoubtedly has been happy in this home ever since.

Now, 125 years later, those founding Brethren, looking down from that Grand Lodge above, would surely be proud to see the Lodge as it is today and with the bright future that lies ahead of it. For the Lodge today is blessed with a strong band of dedicated junior members, each, with the unfailing support of the senior members, making their way through the ranks; each eager to take their turn in the Master Chair

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