ISSUE 3, October 2002
Brother Winston: Churchill as a Freemason
Travel: Getting the taste
Manchester City: Masons achieve their goal
Freemasonry in the Community: Sermon of the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral and Chief Executive spells out the five objectives of the Grand Charity
Quarterly Communication: Report of the Board of General Purposes and Address by the Pro Grand Master
A Dickens of a Night: Charles Dickens celebrated
   Masonic Research: Seek and ye shall find
Charity News: New Masonic Samaritan Fund and Grand Charity and Cornwall Freemasons raise 2.8m and MTGB: Special concert in the Grand Temple and RMBI: Care in action
Library and Museum: Burmese banners and Royal British Legion link
Freemasonry in the Community: Supplement
Book reviews

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He also took further and more important action to support the Lodge's application. Firstly, he joined the petitioners for the new Lodge, now to be named Ponders End Lodge (aware, no doubt, that a change of name for the intended Lodge would have a far better chance of success).
    This final petition was submitted on 10 December 1917. Winston Churchill's name appears among the petitioners and his profession is entered as Cabinet Minister. An explanatory typewritten letter accompanying the new petition, dated 10 December 1917, is signed by Winston Churchill himself. The text begins:

We, the undersigned, being regularly registered Master Masons of the Lodge mentioned against our respective names... are desirous of forming a new Lodge.

The name 'Brindley Lodge' has been erased and the name Ponders End Lodge has been inserted instead in the manuscript.
    This is still not the end of Churchill's efforts to promote the application of this particular lodge. After the petition was submitted, his handwritten note, personally addressed to the Grand Secretary, Colville Smith, states:

My dear Sir,

As I am much interested in the application which has been made by the workers at Ponders End Shell Factory for permission to call their Lodge the 'Ponders End Lodge of Freemasons', I should be really obliged if you could let me know whether it has been granted,

Yours very faithfully

Winston Churchill

The reply will have followed soon after receipt of Churchill's letter. It is dated 23 February 1918:

My dear Sir,

The application for the proposed Ponders End Lodge has recently been carefully considered by the advisers of the Grand Master, who with great regret came to the decision that they were unable to recommend the granting of the petition.

Yours faithfully
J Colville Smith G. Sec.

Winston's considerable efforts, beyond the call of his immediate interests, can only be attributed to his eagerness to fulfil his wife's innocent request. How much more could he have done than write to the Grand Master, join the petitioners, sign the covering letter and chase the Grand Secretary for results!
    His efforts came to nothing. The petition had been refused on 8 February 1918. Was Churchill peeved? Maybe frustrated and disconcerted by this refusal to his repeated, almost formal, personal requests? Did he, as a result, have a pique against Freemasonry? There is no evidence to indicate any such emotions on his part.
    On 27 February 1918, at the request of the Master designate, E Allen, an amended proposition was reconsidered, and the Armament Lodge No. 3898 saw the light of day on 19 November 1918. Churchill, now Secretary of State for War, was not one of the petitioners.
    Churchill's only other recorded Masonic visit was to the Royal Naval lodge No. 59 on 10 December 1928, as a guest of the Master, W H Bernau, his insurance broker. He signed the attendance book as a member of Studholme Lodge.
    The next day Bro Bernau wrote to Churchill, in rather naive terms:

Dear Mr Churchill,

I wish to thank you again for so kindly coming to the dinner last night... I only hope you were not bored stiff

Masonry might have as powerful an effect as the League of Nations if it could be properly worked with a central meeting ground for representations of all the Grand Lodges in the World.

Yours sincerely
W H Bernau

An annotation to his private secretary on the letter in Winston's handwriting curtly states:


a line of thanks - say I enjoyed it.

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