The Builders of The Silent Cities Lodge No. 4948

For further information about The Builders of the Silent Cities Lodge e-mail the following contacts direct from the Officers page:

W.Bro Peter Sandy LGR
Telephone: 020 8857 8651

W.Bro Peter Wake SLGR, PPrSGD

W.Bro Neal Hansley LGR, Met AGDC

Director of Ceremonies:
W.Bro Keith Corder SLGR, MetAGInsp

The History of The Builders of The Silent Cities Lodge No. 4948

The Builders of the Silent Cities Lodge No. 4948, was consecrated on December 5th 1927, but its history, strictly speaking, began ten years earlier.

In October, 1917 a Royal Charter for the Imperial War Graves Commission was approved by the Imperial War Conference, the War had exacted such a terrible toll that for the first time in history a permanent organisation for the care of their graves was needed. The graves which were to be in its care were those of many nations and religions. The Commission had therefore to be free from both religious and political partiality. The obvious Masonic character fundamental to the work was recognised by those Brethren who had been appointed to the Commission and led inevitably to the foundation of a Lodge.

The lodge was subsequently consecrated at St.Omer on January 7th 1922 in both the French and English rites, as Lodge No.12 in the constitution of what is now known as La Grande Lodge National Francaise, under the jurisdiction of the Province of Neustrie (the ancient French name of the area lying between Flanders and Normandy). It was in 1929 that, owing to the formation of a new Commission Headquarters at Arras, the Lodge was moved to its present home in Lille.

Among the founder members of No.12 was Brother Rudyard Kipling. It was he who gave the Lodge its title. As one would expect from a writer of Brother Kipling's stature, it was both inspired and moving, summing up, reverently and with beautiful simplicity the awe inspiring task of the Brethren.

The necessity for a London based Lodge resulted from the Commission opening new headquarters there in 1925. Sir Fabian Ware, a founder member of No.12 was an obvious choice to play a similar role in the formation of No.4948 but was not yet a member of a Lodge in the English Constitution. He became a joining Member at the second Regular Meeting and Master in 1930. Sir Herbert Ellisen,CBE became the first Master (part of his Past Masters Jewel is shown in the photo opposite and has been adopted as the Lodge logo) in so doing inevitably found himself shouldering the burden of most of the work during the formative years of the Lodge, until the Initiates were ready to take office. In his year as Master he conducted eight ceremonies.

Freemasons' Hall was built as a memorial to those Brethren who lost their lives in the First World War. The Fund, called the Memorial Million Fund was open from 1921 to 1933. Lodges subscribing to a minimum of 100 Guineas were entitled to become Hall Stone Lodges and receive the Hall Stone Jewel. Conscious of the special connection of the Lodge with the Jewel, Sir Herbert's first resolution following his Installation was that No.4948 should become a Hall Stone Lodge. He was determined to that the Jewel should be attained during his Mastership, so that future Brethren should know that every Master from the first onwards, had worn it during his year of Office. Only half of the subscriptions came from the Lodge funds. He and W.Bro Graham Hamilton subscribed the remainder between them. Sir Herbert received the Jewel at the hands of the Most Worshipful Grand Master on December 5th, 1928, the first Anniversary of the Consecration and a month before Installing his successor. Only a minority of Hall stone Lodges can claim the distinction that the jewel has been worn by every Master. The special significance of the jewel in this Lodge was that it was incorporated into its Investiture to the new Master in 1951.

Builders Of The Silent Cities