Lodge History

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The Gordon Lodge was constituted on 13th March 1878 in Bognor Regis as a daughter of the Lodge of Union No 38 which had been granted the warrant of constitution on 8th Nov 1877. The constitution was conducted by V.W. Bro J. H. Scott the deputy Prov. G.M. as the R.W. Prov. G.M. Sir W. W. Burrell M.P. was unable to attend. The W.M. designate, Bro J. St. Clair, P.M. was installed and appointed his wardens Bros J. A. Swornsbourne and A. Smith. The first meeting was held on Tuesday 2nd April 1878 at the "Assembly Rooms" with eight members and four visitors. The original Tracing boards belonging to the Lodge are still used once a year at our Installation ceremony in May. As far as can be ascertained these are the originals used at the formation of the Lodge. That makes them more than 130 years old.

The Gordon Lodge is named after Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond (3 August 1791 - 21 October 1860), whose main seat was Goodwood House in Sussex. He was the son of Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond and Lady Charlotte, daughter of Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon. He enherited the title of Duke of Gordon from his maternal uncle, George Gordon, 5th Duke of Gordon (2 February 1770 - 28 May 1836) who died with no male heir. This marked the end of the scotish Gordon blood line, however it was passed to Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond through his mother and has continued in England. At that time Charles held four dukedoms, more than any other person in the realm.

Charles Gordon-Lennox Richmond was educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Dublin. Richmond (while Earl of March) served on Wellington's staff in the Peninsular War amungst other battles afording him the Military General Service Medal. Richmond sat as Member of Parliament for Chichester between 1812 and 1819. The latter year he succeeded his father in the dukedom and entered the House of Lords. He was a vehement opponent in the House of Lords of Roman Catholic emancipation, and at a later date a leader of the opposition to Peel's free trade policy.

Lodge Genealogy

Reproduced by permission of W Bro Hugh O'Neill, Lodge of Union No. 38

Gordon Centre

The Lodge Room (Temple)

The masonic hall, which is known as the "Gordon Centre", is in Canada Grove Bognor Regis and is the home of the Gordon Lodge. It is also home to three Gordon Lodge daughter lodges, one grand daughter lodge and other side degrees. The first Gordon Lodge meetings were held in the Assembly Rooms close to where the Gordon Centre now stands. The Assembly Rooms are now called The Picturedrome. The lodge then moved to the Victoria Hotel in Aldwick Road (known locally as "The Big Vic"), which has now been demolished and replaced with flats. In 1912 the Gordon Lodge moved again. With the assistance of the Manager of the Royal Norfolk Hotel on the seafront, it was decided to move the Lodge meetings from the Victoria Hotel to the Royal Norfolk Hotel. Here it was agreed that the Lodge could have full and free use of the hotel lounge also an ante-room adjoining the lounge and for all their regular and emergency meetings, at a yearly rent of £10. As the hotel became busier the Gordon Lodge had to move again.

Initial discussions to move were held in 1906 however suitable premises were not forthcoming. After the 1st World War the Lodge had grown in number to seventy and a sub-committee was formed to try and find local suitable premises. The Lodge looked into moving to the old Wesleyan Chapel in the High Street, however it did not come about. In 1926 it was proposed that money should be raised to build new premises as the membership was growing rapidly. The site in Canada Grove was purchased in July 1926 at a cost of £528 plus a further £25 to clear elm trees from the site.

By 1928 the fund-raising had been started and plans were drawn up for the Gordon Centre at an estimated cost of £2,800 after the original plans were scaled down as they were considered too expensive at £3,300. A limited company was set-up to handle the building of the new premises on 2nd March 1929 called "Freemasons' Hall Limited". The Gordon Lodge handed over the land title deeds to Freemasons' Hall Limited for £1 in exchange for 700 shares.

The foundation stone was laid on 13th May 1929 in the presence of 27 provincial Officers who carried their banner and standard, and over 150 Masons dressed in full Masonic regalia. The lodge met at the Royal Norfolk Hotel and had lunch before proceeding to Canada Grove. At the head of the procession there was an entered apprentice carrying the cement, the Master of the Selsey Lodge carrying the cornucopia with corn. The Masters of Midhurst and St. Richards Lodges were bearing the two ewers of wine and oil. The Provincial Grand Master for Sussex performed the opening ceremony on 11th November 1929 just 155 working days later.

Gordon Centre foundation stone laying 13th May 1929

A lot of the current furniture was moved from building to building and many items have been donated in memory of past members. The unique light fitting in the centre of the Temple was designed and presented to the Lodge. The old Pagham Parish Church organ that was built in 1864 was presented to the Gordon Lodge shortly after the church replaced it in 1914. However the Gordon Lodge have now replaced it too due to its age and mounting maintance costs. Many alterations have been made to the building since it was built 1929 that include the extention of the bar area, enlargement of the dinning hall in 1952, a new kitchen being built with the blue room above in 1978 and the installation of a lift in June 2009.

Gordon Lodge Consecrated 1878            in the province of Sussex