ISSUE 9, April 2004

The Duke of Wellington: A Brother in arms
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Life with the Stars: Masons and famous people
Hall Stone Jewel: Cyril Spackman, designer
Travel: Jamaica
Grand Charity: Annual Report and Accounts
Masonic stamps: Masonry on stamps
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Antients and Moderns go on-line
Masonic education: Events for Freemasons
Masonic charities: The continuing work
Bowel cancer: How the Grand Charity is helping
Royal Arch: Russia and Eastern Europe
Richard Eve: A former Grand Treasurer
Book reviews

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Featured Masons

The Duke of Wellington
Neal Arden
Elias Ashmole
Richard Eve
John Pine
Cyril Spackman

Paramount in his Masonic work was the welfare in the two Masonic schools, and he became chairman of the Masonic Boys’ School management board from 1891 until he died. Indeed, in 1899, a Lodge was formed linked directly to the Boys’ School – and it was named Richard Eve Lodge (No. 2772) in honour of the institution’s most ardent supporter. A history of the Lodge states that it “had its origin in the wish of many admirers of Richard Eve to perpetuate his name as a worthy citizen of London and as a sterling worker in the Masonic cause.”

Shortly before his death Richard Eve was in London for the laying of a foundation stone for the Boys’ School, but became ill and died shortly afterwards. But an obituary in the Kidderminster Shuttle, the town’s weekly newspaper, makes it clear that he insisted on performing his Masonic duties right up to the last. The paper states:

On Saturday afternoon he presided at the laying of the foundation stone by the Duke of Connaught... It was a proud moment for our departed friend who had done more than probably any other man for the welfare of the Boys’ School and the development of the rebuilding scheme at a cost of £100,000. His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, who during his command of the Aldershot Camp had opportunity of becoming acquainted with Mr Eve’s usefulness and public spirit, bore testimony to his high merit as an active Mason and as a patriotic Englishman. On the following day Mr Eve wrote to us (the Shuttle): “Many thanks for your kind and sympathetic letter. I was enabled to get to the foundation laying, although ill and weak”.

The obituary makes it clear that Mr Eve rallied sufficiently to resume his duties, and gives a graphic insight into the busy life he led despite his failing health. It adds:

On May 17 he wrote... “This is the first day I have been at the office for nearly three weeks. On Monday last I was at our County Council at Winchester. Up to town at 6 o’clock. I went to Ublique Lodge at the Installation of Gen. Lloyd as Master at Criterion. It is a Royal Artillery Lodge. I sat between Gen. Laurie MP, Past Grand Master for Nova Scotia, and Gen. Owens, Provincial Grand Master for Malta. There were two officers with us who had returned from South Africa. One, Captain Elton, had two Boer bullets in him... I am installing Master at Guildford Lodge at 5 o’clock today.”

A few days later Richard Eve had a seizure and died on 7 July. Now his memory is perpetuated with a pink marble headstone at Aldershot cemetery, where he was buried, and with that crumbling monument in Brinton Park, Kidderminster.

The author wishes to thank the following for their assistance: W Bro John Hart, curator of the Worcestershire Provincial Grand Lodge Library and Museum; Charles Talbot, Honorary Secretary of Kidderminster Civic Society; W Bro Peter Banham, Secretary of Panmure Lodge; Roger Mann, Secretary of Guy’s Lodge, and Chas Townley for information in his booklet Who was Richard Eve?

Peter Ricketts is Master of the Lodge of Franchelie St Leonard, No. 6778, who meet at Northfield, Birmingham.
A three-year campaign by Kidderminster Civic Society to have the Richard Eve memorial restored could succeed at last.
      The government recently granted Wyre Forest District Council £396,000 for the refurbishment of two local public open spaces, one of them Brinton Park, where the memorial stands.
      Tim Johnson, the council's parks manager, said he hoped to co-operate with the society on the restoration of the memorial, providing some match funding could be found. The work would cost about £45,000.
      Cllr James Dudley, of the Economic and Environment Task Force, said: "Now we have a promise of support I would like to get together all interested parties – including Masons – to formulate a plan of action."
      "It's a shame, because there are very few monuments quite like it," said Charles Townley, a member of the society, who carried out a great deal of research into the history of the memorial, welcomed the news and said:
      “There are few monuments quite like it. It was unveiled during King Edward VII's Coronation year and stands beside a road through the park called Coronation Drive.”