The origins, History and Customs of Spero Lodge No.6825
A Notice of Motion was placed on the Summons of Warner Lodge No. 2256 on10th February 1948 in the name of W/Bro Leoard Stanley ERRIDGE, PPGD, that Warner Lodge sponsor the formation of a new Lodge. The then Most Worshipful, the Grand Master, approved the petition in the name of the 14 founders and granted permission for the Lodge to be consecrated. On the 20th April 1949 the Right Worshipful, Provincial Grand Master, Brigadier-General K. KINCAID-SMITH CB, CMG, DSO, together with a team of Provincial Grand Lodge Officers, consecrated Spero Lodge at the Masonic Hall, Chingford.
Sir Thomas Courtenay Theydon WARNER was a founding member and the first Senior Warden of Warner Lodge. His son, Sir Edward Courtenay WARNER, gave his approval for the family motto ‘SPERO’ and Crest to be used by the Lodge. A literal translation from the Latin, ‘Spero’ means ‘I Hope‘. An examination of the Warner and Spero Crests shows similarity of design. The Warner Centenary Book records an address given by a Past Master of Warner Lodge, W/Bro Dr. Joseph BRIDGES, PPGReg., MA, BSc, PhD, LlD of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law, in which he gives an explanation of the Spero Crest.
Strong family ties had also been established, fathers and sons, and a number of blood brother relationships existed. The 25th Anniversary meeting on the 17th April 1974 culminated in the presentation to the Lodge by Brothers William (Bill) S. WOOD, and Dennis R. WOOD of a Banner. The presentation was accompanied by a Dedication Ceremony conducted by W/Bro W/Bro P. WATTS, Provincial Grand Chaplain. At the end of Masonic business the Lodge was closed, when the brethren retired to the dining room where they joined their Ladies for a buffet dance.
In 1974 W/Bro Dennis R. WOOD was invested as Provincial Assistant Grand Secretary and in 1983 he was appointed Deputy Provincial Grand Secretary, in which office he served until his retirement in 1994. In 1984 he was appointed to the Grand Rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer (PGStB) and in 1992 he was promoted to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC). Subsequently, in 1998, he accepted the active appointment Provincial Junior Grand Warden.
The First Master, “Father”, and Founding Member, W/Bro Leonard S. ERRIDGE, died on 21st December 1976.
On 11th October 1930 W/Bro Leonard had attended the ceremony of laying of the foundation stone of the new Chingford Masonic Hall, which was conducted by the Provincial Grand Master, RW/Bro Brigadier General R. Beale COLVIN, CB, Lord Lieutenant for the County of Essex. Chingford Masonic Hall has been the home of Spero Lodge since it’s consecration.
The last surviving Founder Member, W/Bro George C. MUNT, PPGW, the 5th Master of the Lodge, passed to the ‘Grand Lodge Above’ on 17th April 1988. He had also served as Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction from 1963 to 1970 and those who knew him will remember that he was a first class ritualist with an excellent and commanding delivery. Although, as a token of the Lodges’ ‘esteem ,affection, and high regard’ W/Bro MUNT was elected an Honorary Member of the Lodge on 9th January 1974 he continued to play an active role in the workings of the Lodge attending the meetings often taking part in the proceedings and attending committee meetings to offer wise, fatherly, counsel.
The first Initiate of the Lodge, W/Bro T.C. ROBINS, was elected an Honorary Member on the 12th March 1975. His two sons W/Bro Derek T. ROBINS and W/Bro Jack F. ROBINS were Initiated into Spero Lodge on 9th January 1952 and January 1958 respectively.
In March 1976 the then Lodge Organist, W/Bro F.T.W. CORNISH, was invested as Provincial Deputy Grand Organist. He had been Initiated in Spero Lodge on 14th November 1956, served as Master in 1967 and was Lodge Organist from 1969 to 1982.
In 1979, in furtherance of it’s charitable aims, the Lodge qualified as a Patron of The Royal Masonic Institution for Boys. In 1982 W/Bro Derek T. ROBINS was appointed to the Grand Rank of PGStB.
Our “Mother Lodge” Warner Lodge is proud of its connections with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force established during the Great War and a model of a Maori War Canoe with which they were presented. This can be seen on the display cabinet behind the Senior Warden’s chair in the Temple.
In 1973 a New Zealand lady, having heard of the Warner Lodge War Canoe, presented Spero Lodge, through its Master, with a Maori good luck charm and fertility figure. After each Lodge meeting this unique ornament is placed on the table in front of the Master at the Festive Board.
On Wednesday 13th January 1982 W/Bro Joe PINGRAM presented the Lodge with a smaller model of a Maori War Canoe. He had purchased it at the request of his brother W/Bro John T. PINGRAM some years before on visit to New Zealand and before W/Bro John had died (on 2nd December 1981) he expressed the wish that the canoe be given to the Lodge. His Brother, Joe, made the presentation as a fitting memorial to his late Blood Brother. The model canoe is also placed on the dining table in front of the Master at every Festive Board.
On 21st April 1999 W/Bro Derek HALL, QGM was our Worshipful Master when we celebrated our 50th Anniversary; a fitting tribute to a much loved member. A booklet to celebrate the event, and to update the booklet produced for the 25th Anniversary, was produced after a lot of hard work by W/Bro Eric FISCHER, our then Secretary; to whom we owe a vote of thanks.
Apart from the photograph taken at the Consecration meeting in 1949 we are only aware of one other photograph taken in 1990.
A photographer then attended the 50th celebrations in 1999 and took photographs of the Officers & members, copies of which are held by the Secretary. That practice has been continued and, apart from a few years where the photgrapher (who was resisting the change to digital photgraphy) ‘spoilt’ the negatives (or forgot to put a film in his camera), we have photos of most years since then.
In November 1999 W/Bro Paul G. REEVES was invested as Worshipful Master and had the pleasure of being our Master as we passed into the new Millennium. That meeting was attended by our Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W/Bro John M. WEBB, PSGD who later went on to become the RW Provincial Grand Master of Essex.
He appointed W/Bro REEVES as a Provincial Grand Steward in 2000 and he went onto become a Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2003 & 2004, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2008-2011 and the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2012. He was appointed to Grand Rank and invested as a PAGDC by His Royal Higness the Duke of Kent, Grand Master, in 2011.
The other ‘Millennium Master’ was W/Bro Bernard C. MEADEN who was invested in 2000. To mark the occasion the two ‘Milennium Masters’ commissioned a set of gavels to be made which are now used by the WM and Wardens at every meeting.
The year 2000 saw the completion of Festival 2000, an ambitious Province-wide effort to raise money for masonic and non-masonic charities. Spero Lodge were one of the Lodges that were awarded an Essex Festival 2000 Gold Award in recognition of the £19,000 we raised towards an amazing total of £7.2m raised by the Province.
At the regular meeting in April 2004 Spero Lodge hosted the third annual Cluster Meeting of all the Lodges meeting at Chingford. VW.Bro Brian PROCTER, DepPGM, and W/Bro William GUNARY, APGM, were in attendance; as were 85 Brethren and guests. At the meeting the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and our longest serving member, and ‘Father’ of the Lodge, W/Bro Eric SPARROW, unveiled a new Spero Past Masters Board in the main temple.
The meeting was very well organised by our Secretary, WBro Bernie MEADEN and it was no surprise to the Brethren when Bro Bernie was honoured with appointement to Acting Provincial Grand Standard Bearer the following year.
In June 2011 the Province of Essex concuded Essex Festival 2011, a six year effort to raise money for the Freemason’s Grand Charity, with a fantastic banquet at the Guildhall in London. The lodge were well represented at that banquet. The amount raised was just over £5.5m; the largest amount every raised by a Province for the Grand Charity. Spero Lodge played it’s part and achieved Double Grand Patron status for the size of their donation (£22,500).
Our Charity Steward for 22 years had been W/Bro Raymond G. WOOD, OBE, PPJGD. Ray unfortunately had to stand down due to failing health just before the end of the Festival but he can take most of the credit for marshalling the generosity of the Brethren to achieve that result. Bro. Ray passed to the Grand Lodge Above in 2011 and as a token of our esteem for him a table cover was commissioned by the Lodge and is seen below with his son, Bro Nick WOOD and son-in-law, W/Bro Peter GARDNER, PPSGD.
Spero Lodge continues to flourish due to the quality of our Initiates:-
In 2008 WBro Tony CURTIS (Master in 2004) was appointed as Provincial Grand Steward and in 2012 he was promoted to the acting office of Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
In 2009 WBro Richard STANLEY (Master in 2006) was also appointed as Provincial Grand Steward. In that same year WBro Steve WALL (Master 2008 & 2009) was also appointed as a Provincial Grand Steward and in 2011 he was promoted to the acting office of Provincial Grand Pursuivant.
We must be doing something right!