Full History

In the late 19th Century there were a large number of Freemasons in Kidderminster and a number of them led by Worshipful Brother George Taylor a Provincial Junior Grand Warden, decided to submit a petition to the Lodge of Hope and Charity No 377 who were willing to support their application to form a new Lodge. After due time this new Lodge was approved by the United Grand Lodge of England and the warrant for this new Lodge was issued. The new Lodge bore the name of the then Provincial Grand Master - Sir Edmund Anthony Harley Lechmere, Bt. M.P.

The Lodge was consecrated on 23rd February 1881 by Sir Edmund who was the M.P. for West Worcestershire and was also the Secretary General of the order of St. John. Sir Edmund and the then 7th Duke of Manchester who was the Lord Prior of England were prime movers in founding The National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War later to become the Red Cross.

During the following years the membership of the Lodge dwindled to the point where drastic action was needed.

Meanwhile a group of Warwickshire Volunteers (the Territorial Army of that time) were attempting to form a Military Volunteer Lodge in the Birmingham area but this was denied by the Warwickshire Provincial Grand Master, Lord Leigh. Worshipful Brother George Taylor, who was the Provincial Secretary, heard of the attempt by the Volunteers and persuaded them to join the Kidderminster Lodge which was renamed the Lechmere Volunteer Lodge.

The Lodge was then transferred from Kidderminster to Birmingham. The first meeting when ten candidates were initiated, was held at the Moseley and Balsall Heath Institute. At the following meeting a motion was passed that every candidate for initiation or joining should be a member of the regular, auxiliary or volunteer armed forces not below the rank of Corporal. The exception to this rule was that a "Lewis" (the son of a Mason and not a member of the armed forces) could join, we have two Lewis' in the Lodge, the first being W. Bro. Peter Owen and the second W. Bro. Robert Foster.

The following years were to prove very successful with a continuous flow of candidates. However, at the end of the 20th century candidates were again hard to come by due largely to the declining numbers in the armed forces following the end of the second world war.

In 1997 after much debate and over a number of years the Worshipful Master at that time, W. Bro. Roy Harris, Officers and Brethren of the Lodge balloted on a proposal to open the Lodge to men who had not served in the Armed Forces. This proposal was carried and on 3rd December 1997 Mr. Alan White an Assistant Divisional Officer with Warwickshire County Fire Brigade became the first non military candidate to join Lechmere Volunteer Lodge after this "honourable understanding". He subsequently became Master in 2003.

Since that time the Lodge has enjoyed a steady influx of both Military and Non Military candidates who all continue to enjoy the many traditions which have been carried forward from past times.

The Lodge celebrated its Centenary in 1981 and the 1000th Meeting in April 2009 the latter being an excellent evening with some 146 Brethren attending, 44 Lodge Members, and 102 visitors 17 of which were Grand Officers, amongst the guests present were the Provincial Grand Master and the Past Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire. The meeting was to initiate Mr. David Stephens the work being carried out by the Past Masters of the Lodge, the details are shown on the summons for the evening. Following the initiation of Mr. David Stephens the Provincial Grand Master promoted W. Bro. Eric Crooks to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden for his services to Freemasonry a promotion which was applauded by the Brethren. The Charity Steward, W. Bro. J.C.B. Pedley presented the Provincial Grand Master with a cheque for £2,000 for the 2011 appeal, the money being raised by the Lodge Members. The Worshipful Master returned to the chair and continued with the remainder of the meeting, he then handed the gavel to W. Bro. W. E. Simmons Who had travelled from Northern Ireland especially for the meeting to close the Lodge. W. Bro. Simmons was initiated into Lechmere Volunteer Lodge No 1874 on this evening some 40 years previously.

This being a "services" Lodge the Festive Board was as usual extremely enjoyable if not a little rowdy particularly when it came to the toast to the "services" this is an established tradition and one which will continue for at least the next 1000 meetings. 

© Trevor Dean 2014