Excitement continues to build for the brethren of Aigburth Lodge No 4103, for every day brings them closer to their centenary. The warrant of the lodge was issued on 17 March 1920, and the consecration took place the same year on 22 July. The lodge first met at the Vale Assembly Rooms, Aigburth until 1927, then moving to Garston. Coming to Liverpool Masonic Hall in 1948. It was by all accounts very happy, when sadly, like so many other lodges, it was forced to relocate due to the horrendous fire damage to the hall on the night of 13 October 1968, which had been caused by an electrical fault. While rebuilding took place many of the lodges had to find a new home, even on a temporary basis, with Aigburth Lodge choosing a return to Garston. That temporary sojourn extended through time until 2016, with the decision of the members to return to the true home of Freemasonry in Liverpool, the purpose-built Masonic hall on Hope Street.
At this year’s annual installation ceremony, the lodge gave a warm welcome to Roy Ashley who, as its principal guest was the direct representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Roy was accompanied by Chairman of Liverpool Group Mark Matthews and other grand and Provincial grand officers. The lodge was opened by the Richard Wilson and the lodge officers in due form, with the customary salutations given to the visiting grand and Provincial grand officers. The time then came for the formal business of the evening with Bill Johnson in the chair of senior warden and John Smith occupying the junior warden’s chair and Paul Green to occupy the position of inner guard for the ceremony of installation, tyled by Ken O’Hare.
Prior to the installation, Richard spoke affectionately of John McKenzie who had been the WM of Aigburth Lodge for the two previous years. He had taken them through from the return to Hope Street to the current moment, the final run-up to the centenary celebrations in a few months’ time. He then gave thanks on behalf of John to the officers who had served during this period.
Richard called for the presenting officer and Eric Poole stood to collect and present master elect Mark Lawrence. As to be expected, with such an accomplished ritualist in Richard Wilson, an excellent installation ceremony took place according to Bottomley working. The tools of the varying degrees were given by Richard Wilson for a master Mason and for a fellow craft and Eric Poole gave those for an entered apprentice. Mark, on appointing his officers for the ensuing year had a personal word of thanks for each and every brother. The work of everyone who took part in the proceedings should be congratulated.
As is the custom at the conclusion of all the various addresses, Roy Ashley stood to offer the congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, expressing his particular wish that Mark enjoys his year in office and that all the brethren continue to enjoy their Freemasonry. He also took the opportunity to congratulate Richard for his respective role in ensuring the success of the evening.
In his first duty, Mark, as the new WM was pleased to present two cheques to Roy, each in the sum of £100; the first in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the second in support of Liverpool Masonic Hall. On behalf of all those who will benefit from these donations Roy thanked the lodge members for their generosity.
The remaining business of the evening was then conducted and the brethren retired, firstly in the tradition unique to West Lancashire Freemasons, by toasting the health of the new WM and then to enjoy a splendid festive board and so round off a wonderful evening, not just for Mark, but all the members of Aigburth Lodge and the visitors.