At the annual dinner of the Liverpool branch of the United Kingdom Commercial Travellers Association held in January 1897 at the Alexandra Hotel on Dale Street, the recent formation was announced, to much applause, of the first Commercial Travellers Lodge of Freemasons in the country right here in Liverpool.
The lodge was aptly named Commercial Travellers No 2631 and was followed in 1899 by another in London, one in 1910 at Preston, then two others in the north east of England, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1913 and Darlington in 1928. The Liverpool lodge had the warrant issued on 4 November 1896 and was consecrated on 21 January 1897 at the Alexandra Hotel, where it met until moving to the Liverpool Masonic Hall on Hope Street in 1902.
When forming the lodge, did they foresee the success it would attain over the years? Celebrating the centenary in 1997 and still going strong and attracting good men in 2015. At the installation ceremony a new team of officers were invested and quickly tested the following month in having to perform a third degree ceremony, no mean feat at any time. The lodge was opened by the new worshipful master Gordon Farmer who had the pleasure of welcoming into the meeting Assistant Provincial Grand Master Mark Dimelow. Mark is trying to visit as many lodges as possible on an informal basis to get to know the members without the usual formalities that have to be observed when he is on official business, such as installation ceremonies and jubilee’s.
The third degree ceremony was performed as laid down for the emulation method of working, an interesting task for the new WM Gordon as his mother lodge, Minerva Lodge No 4002, works to the Bottomley ritual. Sean Hughes was raised to the degree of master Mason in a magnificent ceremony and in future years he will realise how fortunate he was in having such a good team performing the task on the evening. Director of ceremonies Jason Hengler, kept a keen eye on the proceedings, Roy Pyne explained the tracing board and signs in a most proficient manner and the third degree working tools were both presented and explained by Sean’s father Geoff Ferris, in a most excellent and poignant rendition.
Although this was the first meeting of the newly assembled team since the installation meeting, they performed superbly, especially both deacons: Geoff Ferris (JD) and Ciaron Murphy (SD) and it was even commented by an ex DC of the lodge that it was the best ceremony he’d seen in Commercial Travellers Lodge for a number of years.
Mark Dimelow was very complimentary about the performance; he also commented how much he enjoyed the evening and the social nature of the festive board.