History

 

 History

 

At the end of World War II, Arthur Hobart a Dagenham mason moved to Westcliff and took over the License and management of the Queens Hotel, and the inspiration of a new lodge in Southend was born. He then enlisted the assistance of five well known Masons in the area and After several informal meetings they approached the then Provincial Grand Secretary, who agreed that an application could be made to Grand Lodge. The application was of course granted and Priory Lodge No 1000 was kind enough to sponsor us, and the Lodge was consecrated on 8th February 1945 at Freemasons Hall in Queens Street London. There were 156 brethren present including 14 consecrating officers. There were 24 founding members.

The Lodge derived its name from a charming old house that stood on the Queens Hotel site during the 19th Century and the residents all seemed to be either playwrights, poets, editors or authors,. One was Robert Buchanan who wrote a book called “Andromeda” on historical and interesting places in the Southend & District area. In this book he mentioned the house that he lived in “The Hamlet Court” and included a print of the house which enabled one of our founders to copy and that now forms the badge of our Lodge. Another tenant was Sir Edwin Arnold a former editor of the Daily Telegraph who was one of the sponsors of H.M. Stanley’s expedition to complete Livingstone’s discoveries in 1874.

From 1945 to 1972 we held our meetings at the Queens Hotel, Westcliff. Arthur Hobart was installed as Master. After his year in office he became DoC and Preceptor of the LoI and from that day Arthur ruled with a rod of iron, no one dared question his judgement, he was the founder of the Lodge, we were meeting in his hotel, he was a physically big man and he also had a very strong character, but he also had a very generous side, he was remembered for helping an elderly lady who was very short of food and fuel. He sent round a box of groceries, a sack of coal and money for her to buy a new winter coat.

October 1953 the Lodge received a letter from W. Bro Ted Beales a Founding Member of the Southend Temple, inviting the Lodge to become members, but the Lodge said thank you but no thank you, we were quite happy where we were. The Lodge however did send a donation for the new Temple.

During the early years we had several founders pass away. 1960 was another sad year for the Lodge, Jim Hartley our Senior Warden died suddenly after a short illness just before he would have become Master Elect. At the GP meeting in May that year, one item that the committee discussed was what the Lodge could do for the family. The Lodge was able to secure a place for Jim Hartley’s son (James) at the Masonic School for Boys at Potters Bar. The Lodge supplied all his clothes, books and Sports Equipment until he went up to Swansea University. We were also lucky to get Jim Hartley’s wife into a Masonic Home at Zetland Court, where she stayed until her death. As the years passed Arthur Hobart’s health was deteriorating and the Queens Hotel itself was suffering from neglect, the grand piano had only two legs, the third was made from orange boxes. The ballroom had a flat roof which used to leak like a sieve, and on one occasion at a function there was a storm and the rain dripped over the table and diners. The ladies were not pleased. The brewers finally repossessed the Hotel and demolished it. When Arthur Hobart finally stood down as DoC and Preceptor of the LoI, W. Bro Fred White took over. Although he did not stay long in office, he stayed long enough to change the atmosphere and character of the Lodge. He taught the true meaning of tolerance and understanding, and what Brotherly Love was all about.

As the Queens Hotel was no longer available, we now had to find somewhere to meet. We belatedly applied for a place at Southend Masonic Temple, up to now we had been a Saturday Lodge, but all those slots had gone. We were offered four Fridays and one Monday but we later were able to change this to five Fridays, which is how it remains to this date. Our first meeting in this temple was January 1973. This Temple closed and we then became a founder member of the new Saxon Hall, where we still meet and have our Lodge of Instruction.

We have never been what one might call a wealthy Lodge, but we do have something special, we have always been regarded as a family lodge and are known as HAPPY HAMLET COURT which include several sets of father and sons, nephews, cousins and in-laws. 

 

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