City Chapter No 2514 has reached that enviable milestone of having a continuous history of 100 years. Founded in 1922 by no less than 17 members of City Lodge No 2514. The lodge, which was consecrated much earlier in 1894, had amongst its members a Dr John Utting, former Lord Mayor of Liverpool as master, after whom that well known thoroughfare Utting Avenue was named after.
The 17 members of the lodge came together and attended the consecration of the chapter on 22 June 1922, at the Exchange Station Hotel, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool. A contemporary report of the hotel opening, states that the hotel, which is owned by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway company, contains private rooms of ample proportions and handsomely upholstered throughout the building, the utmost harmony prevails as regards the furnishing and decoration, a fitting location indeed for the consecration of a new chapter.
The Grand Superintendent, John H Burrell, presided over the consecration, dedication and installation of the chapter with G A Bates, A Slee and R G Armstrong, as the very first, second and third principals. Of note the Reverend JJ Powell delivered an oratory, ‘beautiful in its conception of the purposes and practicalities of Freemasonry, especially in the Royal Arch’ described in the minutes of the meeting.
Part of the chapter’s history was unfortunately lost during the Blitz and a subsequent fire at Hope Street and so the period between 1934 and 1971 are lost to the annals of history. It is known that the chapter continued to meet at the Exchange Station Hotel until 1971, when it moved to the Britannia Adelphi Hotel, until 1984 moving to Hope Street, Liverpool. In 2010 the chapter moved back to the Adelphi where it continues to meet to the present-day, becoming part of the Gladstone Group.
The chapter has played an important part in West Lancashire Freemasonry with distinguished members both past and present. Kenneth Edward Moxley becoming Grand Superintendent in 1990, followed by Alfred Geoffrey Hirst MBE becoming Second Provincial Grand Principal in 1991. Other distinguished members are Bernard Rowlands, David Withey and Colin Rowling Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, amongst many other fine and noted companions.
The chapter was opened for members only at 1pm, by the three principals David Codling, David Edge and Ian Barton, first, second and third principals respectively, and having completed chapter business called off shortly after. First principal David is the longest serving member of the chapter and due to celebrate his 50th anniversary in the Royal Arch in 2023, to which the companions are looking forward very much to celebrating that with him.
Several very distinguished guests had assembled to attend this wonderful centenary celebration. Deputy Grand Superintendent Chris Butterfield, Second Provincial Grand Principal Mike Threlfall, Third Provincial Grand Principal Godfrey Hirst, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Sanderson, Provincial Deputy Grand Scribe Ezra Andrew Ridal, Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah David Jopling, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies David Thomas, Provincial Grand Sword Bearer John Cross, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Ian Hallsall, Steven Dutson and Vic Charlesworth as standard bearers, Stephen Derringer was the organist with Neil Higgins as Provincial Grand Janitor, made up a very impressive Provincial team. Other Assistants of the Provincial Grand Principals were also present amongst the many guests in attendance.
First principal David called the chapter back on at 4pm, this time with second principal being Stephen Riley and third principal Ian Barton. Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies David Thomas announced the Deputy Grand Superintendent stood without, and all stood whist the Provincial team, accompanied by the Gladstone Group Chairman Paul Storrar, Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals and grand officers entered the chapter. The three principals welcomed the Deputy Grand Superintendent Chris Butterfield to the chapter. The three grand principals then took their respective chairs of office and Provincial Grand Chapter was opened in due form.
A wonderful ceremony to commemorate the centenary of City Chapter was led by Chris, who highlighting that 100 years was a magnificent milestone for a lodge let alone a chapter. As part of the ceremony, Third Provincial Grand Principal Godfrey Hirst delivered an oratory beautiful in its conception; giving an overview of the chapter and re-dedicating the chapter. The ceremony concluded with Andrew Ridal, reading the centenary warrant of the chapter, which was then presented to first principal, David Codling. Provincial Grand Chapter was closed and the principals of the chapter rightfully resumed their seats.
First principal David earnestly thanked Chris and all of the Provincial team for the wonderful ceremony, and for coming to join in the celebrations. David announced that the chapter had donated £2,514 to the Masonic Charity Foundation. Chris, in response, thanked all of the chapter companions for what he described as a remarkable donation and brought greetings of the Grand Superintendent Mark Matthews. After the first rising, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies David Thomas formed the procession and the Provincial team, Assistants to Provincial Grand Principals and grand officers retired.
The chapter being duly closed in solemn form, the companions and guests retired to the magnificent dining room to continue the celebrations at the festive board. With over 78 companions in attendance a lively and jovial affair was guaranteed. Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Ian Sanderson, gave a wonderful toast to the health of the three grand principals, and Chris responded in kind. Chris also led the toast to the health of the three chapter principals to which the response by Dave Codling was heartfelt and very well received.
Dave then followed his wonderful speech thanking all of the many visitors who had come to attend the City Chapter centenary and that by being in attendance had made the evening just that bit more special. It fell to David Jopling to respond to that toast which warranted the applause and acclaim of all of the companions. With one final pleasant duty to perform, first principal David presented Chris Butterfield with flowers for his wife Marie, Chris once again thanked the chapter for their generosity
The festive board was a lively and humorous affair, with echoes of past social events in the chapter history. It is known that at one of the chapter ladies’ social events, the famous Liverpool comedian Sir Ken Dodd was the headline entertainment act, and now as Ken was famous for his shows lasting till well after closing time, in this case the janitor Neil Higgins called proceedings to an end and had the last word of the evening with the janitor’s toast.
City chapter has a wonderful history and with planned exaltees for this coming season, the future looks bright for the chapter, and the companions and guests wished the chapter many happy years in the future.