The Lodge is established primarily for the benefit of those educated at or connected with Dover College and those primarily eligible for membership are: Old Dovorians, Masters and Officers of Dover College, past and present, Governors of Dover College, Those otherwise connected with Dover College or Old Dovorians
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The Lodge was Consecrated on Friday 29th January 1937 at Freemasons Hall, London, and was duly recorded into the book of registration under the United Grand Lodge of England.
The consecration party was led by Very Worshipful Brother C. R. I. Nicholl, Grand Director of Ceremonies, assisted by W. Bro Sir Gerald Wollaston K. C.V.O., P. G. D, W. Bro J. F. Taylor, M.D, P. G. D, V. W. Bro. Rev. Canon F. Halsey, M. A., P. G. Chap, W. Bro. G. Hannay, Dep. G. D. C., and W. Bro Sir. F. E. Newson-Smith, P. A. G. D. C. (who was also an Old Dovorian).
Like many newly consecrated lodges at the time, 1937 does not seem a propitious time to found a new lodge. The Great War had ended less than twenty years before, the terrible toll exacted on humanity was still raw in the memory and many of the Founders had served with distinction in the First World War and had seen the horrors of war at first hand.
The ‘war to end war’ in H.G. Wells’ famous phrase about the Great War must have appeared a hollow promise as the allied powers, albeit reluctantly, were preparing to face another global conflict. Only the day before the lodge’s Consecration, the Times report on Parliament included the headlines ‘Progress with Air Defence Plans’, ‘100 Squadrons by End of March’, ‘Balloon Defence of London’ and chillingly ‘Efficiency of German Bombers’.
Thus, at this point in history the Consecration was a signal sign of confidence and determination by the Founding Brethren.
Just over two and a half years later, on 3rd September 1939, war was declared and with the benefit of this history we can see how the fledgling lodge coped ‘for the duration’.
Despite low attendances and changes to dates, meeting times and dress, the impression gained is that it was very much a matter of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, although one cannot be unmoved by the poignant entries in the minutes where the deaths on active service of members and their sons were announced.
The lodge, however, did carry on and despite the vicissitudes on the Home Front and the losses sustained among its membership, held its first peacetime meeting, after six long years of war, on 24th October 1945.
This started almost straight away and it was noted that at the installation meeting held on the 30th January 1946, the lodge discussed a proposal that V. W. Bro. Sir Frank Newson-Smith, Bt, PGW, an Honorary Member of the Old Dovorian Lodge, and member of the Old Lawrentian Lodge, had at the last meeting of the Old Lawrentian Lodge, suggested the following:-
“That at one meeting in each year, each of the two lodges should in turn invite all of the members of the other lodge to attend one of their meetings, and that the officers of the visiting lodge should be asked to assume offices in the host lodge and perform certain ceremonies.”
Both W. Bros. Lock and Swallow of the Old Lawrentian Lodge stated that this suggestion had been favourably received by members of the Old Lawrentian Lodge, the Worshipful Master of the Old Dovorian Lodge replied that he was sure that the suggestion would be equally well received by the members of the Old Dovorian Lodge, and it was therefore left to the committee of the two lodges to arrange the necessary details.
As a result, the first Triennial meeting to be held at The College between the three lodges (Old Lawrentians, Old Dovorians, and Cantuarian, it is fair to say that the Cantuarian lodge were invited into these discussion at a later date), took place on Saturday 28th June 1947 and was held in the College Refectory, with 44 brethren present.
This was to mark the start of each of the three East Kent Public School lodges holding a meeting every third year at their respective school, which would continue until the sad event, where the Old Lawrentian’s had to finally hand their warrant in due to diminishing numbers of the lodge and it closed in 2002.
1947 also saw the start of attendance within the lodge returning back to the levels last seen before the outbreak of war in 1939.
Having come through six years of hardship and war, a bright new dawn had begun for this young lodge, bolstered with a true sense of optimism for its future.
The following quotation, taken from a letter a Past President of the Old Dovorian Club had written to the members of the Old Dovorian Club, which I believe sums up this new found optimism.
“Reflecting on the past may be a source of nostalgia and pride, but it should be the aim of every age to maintain a present and build a future which is worthy of the past”.
Today the lodge, being a ‘London’ lodge, operates within the Metropolitan Grand Lodge, and is a member of the Federation of School Lodges.
The Lodge also runs a number of social media platforms, in addition to the website, which helps its members and lodge as a whole keep in touch, giving updates on activities, Lodge news and information from UGLE and MetGL.
The Lodge also has a six monthly news letter it publishes, which is emailed out to all its members, as well as been posted onto the Lodges social media platforms and website.
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