The Formation of the Lodge
A small group of Methodist Masons from the Tooting and Mitcham area, held the first two formal meetings at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Wimbledon, on Wednesday Aug 22nd 1928, to discuss the formation of a new Lodge in Surrey. They agreed to name it “The Welcome Lodge” after their local Church Hall.
The Lodge became the 102nd lodge in Surrey and was consecrated by W.Bro. G. H. Redwood, P.G.D.Deputy Provincial Grand Master, on the 29th October 1928, bringing another Lodge into the Province over which, Bro. H.R.H. the Prince of Wales ruled as Provincial Grand Master.
W.Bro. Edward Barras, Past Master of Home County Lodge No.3451, Founder of Morden Lodge 4958, and lay preacher at Lynwood Road Methodist Church, Tooting, was installed as the first Master.
The First Lodge of Instruction was held at the Prince of Wales Public House at Wimbledon. We then moved to The Greyhound at Streatham Common and from there we moved to the White Hart at Mitcham for a few more years. The Lodge room was extremely cold, we used to have a large industrial heater to heat the room and it sounded like a jet about to take off. Thanks to some members of the Tooting Conservative Club we moved into the Club on Monday evenings, and we are still holding the Lodge of Instructions there to this day.
Founders of the Welcome lodge No.5055
A Hall Stone Lodge
In 1929 after its first year in existence, the Welcome Lodge decided to qualify as a Hall Stone Lodge. With a donation of £1000. When you consider that in 1929, a three bedroom terraced house cost less than £500, and a new car around £100, one can not imagine how they managed to raise such a large sum.
In 1930 a panel in the George Cowen Temple, at the Surbiton Masonic Halls was purchased by the Lodge, and the name of every Master has been added since then.
After the World War Two, the Welcome Royal Arch Chapter was founded, also the Mark and Royal Ark Mariners.
The Modern Age
Up to the meeting on the 5th December 1996, all the Lodge minutes had been written by hand, these where the first typed Minutes, moving the Lodge into the modern age.
It was Brian Owen who took us into the Digital age. As Secretary In December 2000, he printed our Summons on his Home Computer, till then Summons were printed at a Professional Printers.
1765 Ceremony Re-enacted
On Thursday the 15th May 2003, we held our 75th Anniversary Meeting at the Surbiton Masonic Halls.
A re-enactment of a 1765 Installation ceremony was performed by The CTO & Telecom Masonic Association. The Ceremony is based on what a Candidate for Free Masonry may have encountered at his Initiation in a Lodge on the island of Jersey around the year 1765. The Team entered the Temple in full regalia of the time, opened the Lodge and proceeded with their business, accompanied by quantities of bread, cheeses and wine. A Candidate was admitted and Initiated into Free Masonry in an interesting and amusing manner.
And at the Festive Board afterwards we seated 100 diners.
W.Bro. Eric Stuart-Bamford
On the 24th May 2006 the Installation of W.Bro. Eric Stuart-Bamford, as the Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent designate for the Province of Surrey took place in the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall London.
W.Bro. Eric Stuart-Bamford, was Initiated as a Member of the Welcome Lodge on the 21st March 1974, and became Worshipful Master in December 1980.
He held the Office of Assistant Director of Ceremonies until December 2006.
New Banner & Dedication
As our Lodge Banner was very old and beyond repair, a new Banner was commissioned, paid for from a Donation to the Lodge by Bro. Henry Wood who passed away in December 2005.
He was initiated in May 1933 at 20 years old; he had a special dispensation from PGL. He was subsequently excluded for non-payment of Lodge subscriptions in 1954, as he was living in Seattle USA.
In a Letter from his solicitor, Bro Wood left a legacy of £1000 to the Lodge. The Banner Dedication took place on the 15th March 2007. The R.W. PGM W.Bro. Eric Stuart-Bamford, was the Dedicating Officer.
Bro. Fred Wallis
Our Longest standing Brother of 59 years, is Bro. Fred Wallis, who was initiated on the 18th May 1961.
W.Bro. Trevor Rains PAGDC, AProvGM presented Bro. Fred Wallis with a Certificate in September 2011, celebrating his Fifty years in Freemasonry.