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History of the Lodge - The Centenary Story


The early years of the 20th Century

The South African war does not appear to have seriously affected the Lodge which subscribed generously to relief funds connected with it.

Loyal though we were, we were not always pleased with the actions of Grand Lodge or its Board of General Purposes.  In 1902 we passed a resolution expressing our disapproval of the appointment as assistant secretary of our Girl's School the son of a member of the committee - a very newly-made Mason!  A few years later we made a vigorous protest against the order of the Board of General Purposes prohibiting music in our Lodges.  These were the days of Worshipful Brothers Barclay and Kennett and we were a very musical Lodge.  Incidentally, Brother Barclay was specially appointed Provincial Grand Organist in 1901, prior to the Provincial Masonic Church service, held in St. Mary's, Dover where Brother Barclay was organist.  It was also in 1901 that we found it necessary to increase our annual subscription to 24/- (twenty four shillings, which is £1.20p in today's money), and two years later the fee for initiation was raised to £7.

In 1903 Grand Lodge forbade the publication in the press of Masonic meetings.   Hitherto our local papers gave full reports of Installations etc. - they even published the menus for the banquets!

Our contributions to Charities were not restricted to ten-yearly efforts.  In 1905 we founded 10 Life Subscribers to the RMBI, 11 to the Girls' School and 1 to the Boys' - modest but frequent contributions.  In the same year we sent £7.10.0. to the Mayor's Hospital Fund.

The Corinthian Glee Singers had already established a reputation, Worshipful Brother Kennett kindly supplying 50 books of words enabling the brethren to join in.   The frowns of Grand Lodge did not extend to the after-proceedings.  These frowns, by the way, were the subject of a strongly worded protest from the Lodge to the Right Worshipful The Provincial Grand Master.  Our well-beloved Brother Kennett died shortly after this, and a special meeting of the Lodge was held on 31st January 1908 to pay tribute to his memory.

The early years of the 20th Century saw peaceful progress in the Lodge; long meetings were customary - 6.30 to 9.30 quite often. The year 1908 saw the initiation of Mr. Fred Whitehouse, followed by other schoolmasters.  In 1913 Worshipful Brother Smeeth felt obliged to relinquish the Secretaryship, which he held for 37 years, during 25 of which he had been Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction.  He was succeeded by another stalwart, Worshipful Brother David Wilson who had been our Treasurer for 14 years. Suitable presents were made to Worshipful Brother Smeeth.  Our Lodge has been fortunate in its Secretaries and Treasurers.

As regards the Province of Kent, 1905 brought the resignation of the Right Worshipful The Provincial Grand Master, the Rt. Honourable Earl Amherst who had served the province with distinction for so many years.