It was a welcome return to Liverpool Masonic Hall on Hope Street for the brethren of Aigburth Lodge No 4103. The warrant of the lodge was issued on 17 March 1920, and the consecration took place the same year on 22 July.
They met at the Vale Assembly Rooms, Aigburth until 1927 before moving to Garston. Coming to Liverpool Masonic Hall in 1948, it was by all accounts very happy, when sadly, like so many other lodge’s, 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 to move to Garston in 1970. That temporary sojourn extended through time until now, with the decision of the members to return to the true home of Masonry in Liverpool, the purpose built Masonic hall at Hope Street.
At this, their first installation ceremony back in Liverpool Masonic Hall, the lodge gave a warm welcome to Martin Lockyer, who as their principal guest was the direct representative of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison. Martin, was accompanied by Dave Johnson, Vice Chairman of Liverpool Group and other grand and Provincial grand officers.
The lodge was opened by the acting installing master 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 Tom Prince in the chair of senior warden and Brian O’Hare 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.
Whilst the installation of a new WM is always reason for celebration, when it is the first time a brother has attained the chair of King Solomon, it adds that little extra to the night, and so it was for John McKenzie.
Richard then called for the presenting officer and Eric Poole stood to collect and present master elect John McKenzie. As to be expected, with such an accomplished ritualist in Dick Wilson, an excellent installation ceremony then took place according to Bottomley working. The tools of the varying degrees were given by Justin Lewis for a master Mason, John Smith for a fellow craft and Billy Skinner for the entered apprentice.
John, 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, Martin Lockyer stood to offer the congratulations of our Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, expressing his particular wish that John enjoys his year in office and that all the brethren continue to enjoy their Freemasonry. He also took the opportunity to congratulate Dick for his respective role in ensuring the success of the evening.
In his first duty, John, as the new WM was then pleased to present three cheques to Martin, each in the sum of £100. The first in support of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the second in support of Liverpool Masonic Hall and the third to the MCF 2021 Festival. On behalf of all those who will benefit from these donations Martin 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 John, but all the members of Aigburth Lodge and the visitors.