E Comp Trevor Koschalka reports
Monday 19th July 2021 was a significant date in at least three ways. It marked the end of most of the pandemic restrictions imposed by the government, the 75th-anniversary Convocation of Paddington Chapter No 3267 and the 150th-anniversary Convocation of John Hervey Chapter No 1260.
Like many events which should have occurred last year, John Hervey Chapter’s celebration was postponed. There was, therefore, a great sense of anticipation among the Companions assembled, eagerly waiting for the Convocation to begin in Freemasons’ Hall. Many acquaintances and friendships were being renewed.
The Paddington Chapter was opened at 4 pm, and after the normal business was transacted, there was a report, and the Companions were informed that E Comp Robert Lakic PGSoj, Metropolitan Grand Inspector, was outside and demanded admittance. He was duly admitted, accompanied by a retinue of Grand and Metropolitan Grand Officers and greeted by those assembled with spontaneous applause. He took his place, having returned the Sceptre to the MEZ.
The Scribe Ezra of Paddington Chapter, E Comp Christopher Albrow, was called upon by the Principals to present a gift to the MEZ of John Hervey Chapter to mark their Sesquicentennial Meeting. This was a beautiful, hand-made Harris-style tracing board that Companion Albrow had painted himself. The business being concluded, the Chapter was closed.
After a short break, the Companions reconvened, and the John Hervey Chapter was opened, and Comp Lakic was welcomed on behalf of the Chapter by the Principals.
We were privileged to witness the first Exaltation to take place in sixteen months. Not only was the experience a momentous event, but it was performed with ‘added theatre’. It was a real treat to witness because it was clear how much hard work had gone into preparing for the event, and it must have added to the occasion for the lucky Exaltee – Bro Michael Ryall – and made it a truly memorable occasion for him.
After this, a short talk was given on the history of the John Hervey Chapter, which incorporates the Army and Navy Chapter No 2738. We learnt that the Chapter nearly did not get off the ground at all, the petition by the Hervey Lodge for a warrant having been refused by Supreme Grand Chapter in February 1870 on the grounds that Lodge itself had only been in existence for three years. Representations were made, and the Hervey Chapter was granted the warrant in May and held its first Convocation on 11th June 1870 at the George Hotel in Walham Green, Fulham, with six brethren being Exalted, (apparently it was not uncommon for three brethren to be Exalted at the same Convocation).
In 1879 the Chapter was given permission to change its name to John Hervey Chapter (Grand Scribe E 1868 to 1879).
Like many Chapters of its age, it has met at many venues, but since 2018, it is firmly based in Mark Masons Hall.
There have been periods of turmoil, down to reaching a dangerously low membership in 2006. But after many enquiries, a relationship was established with Temple of Peace Lodge No 4420 and then the Army and Navy Chapter No 2738. Supporting these connections, Metropolitan Grand Chapter has helped built up a strong and diverse membership for the Chapter which bodes well for the future.
The Companions moved to the Grand Officers Robing Room for the festive board and were honoured with a visit by E Comp Timothy L’Estrange, Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent to take wine with the Principals of both Chapters and all the Companions present rounding off a memorable day.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 46 October 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 46.