Belgrave Chapter Rose Croix No. 121
A short history to mark the Chapters Centenary
The Petition to form the Belgrave Chapter Rose Croix was in the names of the following Brethren:-
Belgrave Ninnis 32° (1st Recorder) F. E. Pocock 18°
Lennox Browne 30° (1st MWS) E.M.Money 18° (6th MWS)
H. Percy Harris 18° (3rd MWS) J.A.S Terry 18°
Geo. Weldon 18° (4th MWS) D.H. Gordon 18°
Sir Geo.D.Harris 31° Wm.A. Prince 18°
The Chapter was Consecrated during a meeting of a Supreme Council Chapter on 27th June 1892 at 33 Golden Square (but the Warrant was dated 25th May 1892). The meeting was opened in Due and Ancient form. Among those present, in addition to all the Petitioners was:-
R.P.F.W.Simpson 18° (5th MWS)
and eight Brethren were then Perfected of which the following went onto become Most Wise Sovereigns of the Chapter:-
Henry Burgess (11th MWS) Arthur W. Peckham (12th MWS)
Edw. H. Ezard ( 7th MWS) Alfred Thos. Simpson (10th MWS)
John Geo. Garson ( 9th MWS) Willm H.G.Smith ( 8th MWS)
Henry W.Kiallmark ( 2nd MWS)
after which M Ill Bro Capt N.G. Phillips 33°, Lieutenant Grand Commander, proceeded to consecrate the Belgrave Chapter and at his desire V Ill Bro Hugh W. Sandeman 33°, Grand Secretary General, installed Ill Bro Lennox Browne 30° as the first MWS. Dinner after the consecration meeting was held at the Café Royal.
The first Recorder of the Chapter, Belgrave Ninnis, had been invested as Grand Standard Bearer in the Craft, in April 1892, just prior to the consecration of the Chapter. He served as a Naval doctor and was well known as a great traveller and explorer in Australia and the Arctic, for which he was awarded the Arctic Medal. He had been created a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order and a Knight of Justice of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and was a Gilbert Blane Gold Medallist. He died on 18th June 1922 at the age of 84.
The By-Laws were confirmed in open Chapter on 13th June 1893 and subsequently approved and sanctioned by the Supreme Council. They set the regular meetings of the Chapter as the third Tuesdays in May (Installation) and December (Election) with an optional meeting to be held in March at the discretion of the MWS. The original By-Laws have been subsequently amended on several occasions and reprinted in December 1928, June 1937, April 1961 and November 1981.
Sadly, the early minute and signature books of the Chapter have been lost. However, we know that the By-Laws were confirmed at the meeting on 13th June 1893, which presumably resulted in three meetings that year. The 96th Meeting was held on 18th December 1934, so a third meeting must have been held on nine occasions during the intervening years.
The Chapter appears to have continued to meet in May and December right up to the start of the Second World War in 1939. During the War it only managed to meet once a year, usually in May, and the 50th Jubilee of the Chapter fell on 12th May 1942 at the 106th Meeting. VE Day was on Tuesday 8th May 1945 and caused the 109th meeting of the Chapter, which had been due on that date, to be postponed until 5th June of that year.
In 1946 the Chapter resumed its twice yearly meetings but now they were adjusted to be held on our current dates of the second Tuesdays in May and November; the May date was still kept as the Installation Meeting. In 1955 an extra meeting was held on Tuesday 5th July.
A letter from the Supreme Council dated 3rd September 1980 announced the intention to form the London Chapters into five groups each to be led by a Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the 33°. They would take up their duties after being installed at ceremonies to be conducted by the Supreme Council during February and March 1981 at 10 Duke Street. The Belgrave Chapter was duly appointed to the St. Peter Group and the first Inspector General was V Ill Bro W.W. Williams 33° who was elected to Honorary Membership of the Chapter at the meeting on 12th May 1981.
At the 184th Meeting on 9th November 1982 the new Inspector General made his first visit to the Chapter. This meeting was also of note because the Chapter had the honour to be host, at the request of the Supreme Council, to a visiting delegation from Denmark, led by Bro. Kartmen, who gave an interesting explanation of the different badges and collars worn in the ten degrees of Danish masonry.
At the 189th meeting on 12th November 1985 it was announced that V Ill Bro W.W Williams 33° was to retire as Inspector General of the St. Peter Group of London Chapters and that our current Inspector General, V Ill.Bro A.F.A. Sutherland 33° made his first visit to the Chapter at the 191st meeting on 11th November 1987 and thereafter, attended our meetings regularly.
Between 1952 and 1958 the Chapter dined at a variety of London Clubs, hardly any two meetings being at the same one. The various venues were as follows: Constitutional Club, Garrick Club, United Services Club, Caledonian Club and Whitehall Court. In 1959 the Chapter settled down to dine almost exclusively at the Garrick Club where by all accounts the members enjoyed excellent dinners. In 1970 the venue was moved to Quaglino’s but changed again in 1972, this time to the Eccentric Club, moving back to Quaglino’s in 1974 where it stayed until the restaurant was finally closed in 1981. The Chapter then returned to the Eccentric Club for a short period before finally moving to our present venue of the Royal Over-Seas League in 1983.
It is quite clear that Quadratic Lodge No. 1691 in the Province of Middlesex has had a very close connection with the Chapter. At least three of the ten Petitioners and two of the Perfectees at the Consecration meeting were members of that lodge as was our only member to have served as MWS on two separate occasions. Over the years Quadratic has supplied no less than 17 members including 2 honorary members of which 7 came from Quadratic Lodge. The Chapter also appears to have been well supported by members of the Medical profession this probably also emanates from Quadratic Lodge.
The list of Past Sovereigns reveals that only G.F. Harrison-Bloom has served the Chapter on two separate occasions becoming the 44th and 55th Most Wise Sovereign of the Chapter. Lt Col G.D Hindley, the 48th Sovereign, is assumed to have held office for three years during the Second World War and four members have served for two years running :
J.W.Wallace (51st MWS) E.C.Cattermole (63rd MWS)
B.S.Bramwell (52nd MWS) G.B.Fowler (89th MWS)
This makes our current Most Wise Sovereign, Peter Clark, the 94th in the Chapter’s history and the 93rd member to have held the office. It should be remembered that J.S.M Ward the 34th MWS was a Masonic author of some note.
1992 marks the Chapter’s Centenary and the Supreme Council has been pleased to agree to present the Chapter with a Centenary Warrant. As this has to be done at a meeting at least one hundred years after the date of our Consecration, it was decided to hold a third meeting on 3rd July and to depart from tradition by postponing the Installation until that date. The Installation will be further distinguished because the retiring Most Wise Sovereign and the Sovereign Elect are brothers. Their father, Derek Clark, was perfected in a double ceremony with Denis Lloyd at the 149th meeting on 11th May 1965 and Derek subsequently proposed his sons, Peter and Christopher, for membership. They were Perfected in May and November 1984 respectively, and have since followed each other through the offices now sharing the unique position of being the two Sovereigns at the Centenary meeting. It should be noted that the above mentioned four brethren are all members of Quadratic Lodge.
Published in memory of the late Mark Habberson 18° who researched the records but passed away in 1990, within weeks of his Enthronment as MWS.