I was interested to read the article on Sir Malcolm Campbell, and a booklet to mark the 75th anniversary of Raynes Park Lodge No. 4377, Province of Surrey, refers to one of our members, Parry Thomas, who held the land speed record at one time.
Parry Thomas was initiated in January 1925 and died on 3 March 1927 while attempting to break the land speed record at Pendine Sands near Carmarthen, where he had previously raised the record from 150mph to 171mph.
However, Sir Malcolm Campbell replied with a speed of 175mph, and in attempting to regain the record, Parry Thomas, suffering from influenza, had a fatal accident towards the end of the measured mile. It is thought a rear wheel collapsed.
He was laid to rest at Byfleet, Surrey, close to Brooklands, where he had lived. His car, known as "Babs" after a friend's daughter, was buried in the sand dunes at Pendine. It was dug up in 1969 and restored, and is housed in the Industrial Maritime Museum at Cardiff.
Trevor Jones (Treasurer), Leonard Hunt (Secretary),
Raynes Park Lodge No. 4377
The King and the Quaker girl
Following the well-researched and excellent articles about the Masonic sons of George III (MQ, Issue No. 13), here is a short version of events that may or may not be true.
Before becoming Prince of Wales, George III met a Quaker girl, Hanna Lightfoot, daughter of a shoemaker. When her father died she went to live with her uncle at his shop at St James's Market (now Regent Street).
When George's mother heard of the affair, dreading a scandal, she arranged for the uncle to institute a marriage between Hannah and Isaac Axford, also a Quaker, and son of a Ludgate Circus grocer.
The marriage took place in 1753 at Curzon Street, Mayfair, but George was determined not to lose the girl, so he arranged for a carriage to await her whilst her uncle and family and the Axfords were busying themselves after the ceremony.
Hannah left by the back door and got into the carriage, which took her to a country house prepared by George, complete with servants. She remained his mistress and bore him three children.
It is alleged that, in 1759, they married, but it was prevented from becoming public knowledge. There is no record of when or where Hannah died.
George later married the German princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, mother of the six Masonic sons. There are documents relating to this story at the National Archives which may or may not be true.
I believe that about eight generations ago Isaac Axford and I shared common ancestors, Jonathan Axford and Grace Baker, who married in 1633.
Red and yellow cards
Further to the article on FA Cup Final Referees (MQ, No. 12) and the two letters in Issue 13, I know both referees mentioned - Derek Nippard and John Hunting - but lost touch with both of them.
Regarding Sir Stanley Rous and Ken Aston, I shared many a table with them and ran the line for Ken Aston on the first European Nations Cup Final in Paris in 1961.
However, I must put the record straight regarding red and yellow cards. Sir Stanley did not instigate the card system, he thought out the referee's diagonal system of control which is still operative today.
The red and yellow card system came into being during the 1996 World Cup finals as a result of the Argentine captain Rattin being sent off by the German referee, Rudolf Kreitline.
At the referees' conference the following morning, Kreitline informed the meeting that he had cautioned Rattin prior to sending him off. But nobody in the stadium knew this, so it was decided to bring in the card system so that the message could be conveyed to the media, the public and all concerned. I was at that meeting.
I am still active within my Lodge, doing floor work, and have been almoner for the past 17 years.
Your article about the erection of a Masonic temple at Beamish Museum (MQ, Issue No. 13) reminded me of an incident that happened to me at Beamish some years ago.
As a young man I lived in the north-east, I was asked by a friend to help move the slate bed of a snooker table from the upper floor of the Co-Op at Anfield Plain, near Consett, to a nearby scout hut at Dipton.
The old Co-Op was notable for its black metal Victorian canopy along its frontage, which had protected shoppers from the elements.
I forgot about the incident until years later when I visited the museum. I had the strangest feeling of déjà-vu, then realised it was the same Co-Op down whose staircase I had struggled with the snooker table.
What was the snooker hall above is now a very pleasant café. I would strongly advise anyone visiting the north-east to pay a trip to Beamish.
Burton Joyce, Nottinghamshire
In common with many London Lodges, Vulcan No. 3181 has an ageing membership with no immediate prospects of finding Initiates through its own connections.
The Lodge celebrates its centenary in October 2006, but its future is in doubt unless new members can be found or it is merged with another Lodge. It is one of four Vulcan Lodges in the UK - the other three meeting in the north of England - who meet annually.
At least three other Vulcan Lodges exist in North America, all of whom maintain fraternal contacts. We would be very interested in hearing from anyone who would like to join.
T. 07947 157184
I am trying to put together a list of ancient customs still carried out by tylers. I have been tyler of Lodge Semper Eadem No. 3091, which meets at Leicester, for the past 21 years, and I wish to put together a paper entitled The Tyler's Duties As I See Them.
"Ingarsby", 4 The Mount, Scraptoft, Leicester LE7 9TG.
T.0116 241 3166
Calling all cyclists
Whilst taking part in an endurance cycle event (the 1,200km
Paris-Brest-Paris) I met fellow Masons in unusual circumstances.
After 1,000kms of cycling I was at a rest stop, and across the room a fellow rider laid his crash helmet on the table.
In reflective tape at the rear he had made a square and compass. I went over to him, and we managed to communicate in a strange mix of languages.
Our interest in his helmet drew others, and at that point a number of
brethren momentarily became united. We left the checkpoint and never met again.
This brings me back to Britain, to enquire if there are any other Masons, in particular in the North of England, interested in cycling?
112 Leeds Road, Mirfield, West Yorkshire WF14 0JE
Robertson's Preserves mystery
Further to the letter (MQ, Issue No. 13) concerning the Robertson's Preserve Masons, my daughter also obtained an identical set of these brooches on e-Bay. It now begs the additional questions:
» Who issued these in the first place?
» What interest would Robertson's have in commissioning them?
» How many sets have been sold on e-Bay (and by whom)?
» When or where were they supposed to have been worn?
Short minutes - 200 years ago!
Reference to MQ Issue No 13 and short Lodge minutes, it struck a chord with members of Lodge of Perpetual Friendship No. 135 in Bridgwater, Somerset.
At every meeting we are regaled with the minutes of the equivalent meeting 200 years earlier, and those minutes are the very model of brevity.
J K Dewar,
Web site created by Mark Griffin