St Peter’s Lodge No 4324 has celebrated its centenary with invited friends at Liverpool Masonic Hall. The warrant was issued on 3 August 1921 and the lodge was consecrated on 14 November of that year at the Carlton Masonic Hall, Eberle Street. Like a number of Liverpool lodges, St Peter’s Lodge uses Bottomley working and has always been renowned for its high standard within the lodge room, followed by its enjoyment at the festive board. The longevity is due in no small measure to the balance between hard work and just reward, which has been the key to success for the lodge over many years.
Taken from the Golden Anniversary book of 1971 in which C Thompson stated: “Due to the unusual size of the Walton Lodge No 1086, a number of brethren got together and decided that their chances of reaching the chair were very slight. They therefore decided that their only chance was in the formation of a daughter lodge to Walton Lodge. They met many times during 1919 and 1920 and eventually decided upon the name of St Peter’s Lodge. This was taken from St Peter’s Church, which stood in Church Street and was the Pro-Cathedral of Liverpool.’
What prompted the founders to select the name St Peter’s is not now known but on a historical note it was derived from the ancient church which stood in Church Street until its demolition in 1922, and the brass cross set in the pavement on the site in Church Street, still remains.
The centenary meeting was opened in due form by the current WM Peter Fay. The lodge was opened up to the third degree in an exemplary manner and labour was then resumed in the first degree. Peter addressed the brethren and announced that, to celebrate the significant milestone in the lodge’s history, there would be a donation of £4,324 divided equally in favour of 10 different local good causes; Cancer Research UK, Alzheimer’s Disease Association, Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal (Centenary), The Samaritans, Marie Curie, Motor Neurone Charity (Rob Burrows Appeal), Horseback UK, Zoe’s Place, Yellow House and MICAH food bank.
The lodge was closed and the brethren adjourned to the ‘white table’ festive board so that the centenary celebration could begin in earnest. There, the brethren were joined by non-Masonic guests; including a gentleman who applied to join Freemasonry via the internet and is committed to be initiated at the lodge’s next regular meeting. A sumptuous meal of black pudding stack starter, roast beef mains, Eton mess dessert followed by cheese and biscuits with tea/coffee greeted everyone; all served with copious amounts of fine wines. The festive board was most convivial and the sound of laughter and conversation filled the room.
To celebrate the centenary a short history was delivered by Ian McParlin (master elect) which obviously began on how and why the lodge was formed in 1921. A brief synopsis of the following years was given, and ran through the long list of brethren of note who had served the lodge well at different times over the last 100 years.
Due to the centenary meeting being so close to Armistice Day special mention was made of the brass memorial plaque from St Peter’s Lodge which commemorates those from the lodge who paid the supreme sacrifice in the 1939-45 war. This is today situated in the hallway of Liverpool Masonic Hall near to the larger bronze memorial. It is only right and proper that we remember these brethren, who are listed almost alphabetically on the memorial. They are:
Norman Bartram, initiated 10 January 1940 who lost his life as a steward with the Naval Auxiliary aged 32 years on 28 April 1941 when HMS Patia was sunk after an enemy air-attack. The son of Thomas and Amy Bartram of Riddleston, Yorkshire, he was laid to rest at Tynemouth Cemetery, Northumberland.
Robert Henry Donevan, often misspelt as Donovan, born in Manchester, was initiated 11 February 1925. He served with RFA during WW1 and, at the time of his death, was a retired police sergeant. His death occurred on 15 September 1944 during an explosion within a Royal Ordnance Factory at Kirkby. He was in a section on secret work, all personnel having been specially selected. Robert was aged 57, living at 91 Fernhill Road, Bootle. His wife, Margaret Ethel died on 24 March the following year.
Richard William Hayes, initiated 14 October 1925, lost his life at sea serving with the Merchant Navy as ‘pantry man’ aboard the SS Aguila on 19 August 1941 aged 55 years. Also killed aboard the Aguila was fellow lodge member Robert Wareham. Both are commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
David Kossick, initiated 25 March 1930, was killed while working as a civilian engineer in December 1941 when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. One report has him being killed on 12 December, but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has his death as the 15 December, aged 44 years; husband to Rose Kossick of 250 Jesmond Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Ernest Alexander Lloyd, initiated 13 April 1932. He lost his life while serving as Shipwright First Class at the shore base HMS Drake, Devonport, Plymouth on 21 April 1941. During the war, as the city was being heavily bombed, sailors from HMS Drake were involved in much of the rescue work. On 21/22 April 1941, Devonport was attacked by the German Air Force and hit by high explosive and incendiary bombs. Many buildings were hit and caught alight but the only structure to be lost was the Boscawen Block which was hit by high explosives. The walls collapsed just before midnight on 21 April with the loss of 113 lives lost from Drake. Ernest was laid to rest at the Plymouth (Weston Mill) Cemetery.
Frederick Pighills, initiated 8 April 1936 with his younger brother, Charles Edmund Pighills. Frederick lost his life while serving as a ‘firewatcher’ with one of the Air Raid Precaution teams in Liverpool. Husband to Nelly Newton Pighills of 128 Townsend Avenue, he died in Alder Hey Hospital on 27 April 1941 from injuries received the previous day.
William Victor Rigby, initiated 14 May 1923, died while a steward with the Merchant Navy aboard SS Mendoz on 2 November 1942 aged 45 years. Husband to Eva Rigby of Kenton, Harrow, Middlesex, he is buried at Durban (Stellawood) Cemetery, Kwazulu, Natal, South Africa.
Edward Ellerton Slater, initiated 25 April 1923, lost his life serving as a Chief Steward in the Merchant Navy aboard SS Avoceta on 25 September 1941 aged 53 years. The son of Edward and Maria Slater and husband to May Slater, he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Peter Lewis Saubergue, initiated 13 March 1929, died while serving with the Royal Navy as a Chief Petty Officer aboard HMS Eaglet in Liverpool. He died in Winwick Emergency Hospital near Warrington aged 54 years on 8 January 1941. He lived with his wife Lillian Beatrice at 31 Cranehurst Road, Walton, Liverpool, and was laid to rest at Kirkdale cemetery.
Robert Arthur Wareham, initiated 10 January 1934, lost his life as a Second Engineer Officer in the Merchant Navy on SS Aguila. He died on 19 August 1941 aged 41 years, the son of Robert and Margaret Saubergue and husband to Margaret (nee Sealey) He is commemorated with shipmate and fellow lodge member Richard Hayes on the Tower Hill Memorial London.
May they rest in peace.
There followed a musical interlude by the lodge organist Ian Jones who gave a piano recital which included many well-known tunes, ranging from ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Imagine’, ‘Superstar’; rounding off with a perfect note-for-note rendition of that well known tune made famous by the great Les Dawson! Ian’s playing was very well received by everyone, earning a standing ovation and several shouts for ‘more’.
The group chairman, Dave Johnson, was invited to say a few words on behalf of the guests and to propose a toast to the lodge. He began by paying tribute to the past masters and brethren who had served the lodge so well over the past 100 years and congratulated everyone for ensuring that St Peter’s remains an outstanding example of how a successful lodge should be run.
Paying particular tribute to the outstanding work done over many years to raise funds for charities, the lodge earned Grand Patronage of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival by donating a total of £4,800, an amazing achievement in the current climate. Reference was made to the history of the lodge and the original St Peter’s Church that stood in Church Street, now only marked by a brass cross set into the pavement at the exact spot where the church stood.
Dave closed by thanking the lodge for 100 years of outstanding service to the group, Province, Freemasonry and the broader community in general, for which the brethren can certainly be proud of their achievements and then proposed a toast to the St Peter’s Lodge which was received with acclaim.
During the evening, each guest was presented with a beautiful and most informative book recording the 100-year history of the lodge from its consecration on 14 November 1921 up to the present time.
To the delight of everybody in attendance, it was discovered that the font from the original St Peter’s Church is now situated in St David’s Church in Childwall, where one member of the lodge (Stuart Kidd) was actually baptised. Also, a guest of the lodge informed the gathering that the original oak wooden panelling from behind the altar of St Peter’s church now stands in St Cuthbert’s Church in Warrington; a fitting legacy for the lodge and the history of the original St Peter’s church.
The almoner then spoke of the brethren who had passed to higher service; particularly two stalwarts of the lodge that had very passed away in 23021, Jim McNally and John Doig, both of whom were outstanding members of the lodge and great examples of what Masons should aspire to become. This was followed by a toast in respect of departed merit. The festive board was then closed by WM Peter Fay.