The history of the Lodge

On the 27th November 1936, Harold Golden, the first Secretary of the Paviors Lodge, submitted a letter of petition to the United Grand Lodge of England. It had been sponsored by the Lodge of St. Julian No. 5107 (the Innholders’ Lodge) and contained 23 signatures. On 2nd December of the same year, the petition was approved and the Warrant of the Lodge was issued. The new Lodge was consecrated at Freemasons Hall, Great Queen’s Street on the 25th of February 1937 by the Grand Director of Ceremonies, Charles Nichol. The founding Master was Major A.D.C. “Dickie” Rice.

The Worshipful Company of Paviors

Dating back to 1276, The Worshipful Company of Paviors is one of the 110 City of London Livery companies that evolved from medieval guilds and were responsible for the regulation of wage control, labour conditions and industry standards. Today, livery companies play a significant role in City life by providing charitable-giving and networking opportunities. The Paviors were originally responsible for the roads of the City of London and maintain a strong connection with the construction industry to this day.

The United Grand Lodge of England

The United Grand Lodge of England is the governing body of Freemasonry in England, Wales and the Channel Islands where over 200 000 members meet in 6 800 Lodges. The headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England is Freemasons’ Hall in London.

Paviors Lodge

Following the inaugural meeting, which was attended by 195 brethren and featured the Eton Singers, regular meetings continued to be held at Freemasons Hall. Dinners followed at at the Connaught Rooms with an excellent average turnout. Inevitably, the outbreak of the Second World War had its effect on the regularity of meetings and the attendance of its members. The Lodge was fortunate, for although many of its members served in the armed forces, only one was lost due to enemy fire. The first Almoner of the Lodge lost his life when his flat opposite the BBC was bombed.

In 1947, the Master, Officers and Brethren resolved that as a City Livery Lodge, the Paviors Lodge should meet in the City and from April that year they moved to hold their meetings at Armourers Hall, where they also dined. In April 1954, the Lodge took up residence at Butchers Hall for the first time, moving again in 1958 to Innholders Hall before returning to the Taurus Suite at Butchers Hall in 1960.

Since 2013, the Lodge has held its meetings at the Charterhouse.

Initially, the Paviors Lodge by-laws limited membership to members of the Worshipful Company of Paviors. This proved to be restrictive as the Company’s membership was limited to only 200 – although this increased to 225 in 1948 and is 330 today.

On the 1st of March 1944, the members amended the by-laws by resolution to allow the sons of Paviors, as long as they were Freemen of the City, and members of other City Livery Companies to become eligible for membership. This helped assure the future of the Lodge.

A strong link between the Lodge and the Livery

There has always been and still remains a very strong link between the Paviors Lodge and the Worshipful Company of Paviors. Among the initial 23 petitioning members of the Lodge there were six Past Masters of the Livery. The first initiate of the Lodge was the Honourable Clerk of the Company at the time, Bro. Henry Head and there have been two further Clerks who have been members.

Since the change in the by-laws, the Lodge has seen many sons of Liverymen become members and often following their fathers into the Master’s Chair. Of note is the latest double act to follow this tradition is the immediate past Secretary, Alan Scriven and his son the current Director of Ceremonies, Robert Scriven. Also, the Past Metropolitan Grand Secretary, Stuart Henderson and Lodge Treasurer Edward Henderson. George Cook, Master in 1955, completed the Lodge’s first third generation membership by initiating his son Colin.

J W Stubbs, then Assistant Grand Secretary, presented Eric Cruse (father of the chairman of the Paviors’ Wine Circle, John Cruse) with his Grand Lodge certificate in December 1954. The Grand Secretary, Sir Sydney White, gave the Master’s address in 1947 and 1956 and an address to the Initiates in 1947.

Over the years the Lodge has had many members and honorary members of ‘Rank and Opulence’ from Masters of the Livery Company to eminent Masons including the Rt Rev Bishop of Carlisle, Grand Chaplain, and the The Hon Edward L Baillieu, Assistant Grand Master. In 1985, HRH Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, Past Senior Warden was installed as Master of the Lodge. Dr Harvey Marshall, Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster, was a member of the Lodge.

In 1951, senior members of the Lodge commissioned a ballot box and a pair of snuff boxes made from wood from an oak known to have grown during the Norman Conquest. Circa 1400-1433, it formed part of the piling of a wharf at the junction between Wal Brook and the Thames and after the Great Fire of 1666 was re-used as a bean in the reconstruction of the Fayre Houses near Elbow Lane. The ballot box is in more regular use than the snuff boxes today!

The success of the Lodge has been in great part due to the dedication of its Secretaries. In February 2017, an engraved salver was commissioned to commemorate Alan Scriven’s 19 highly successful years in the role.

Charitable Activities

The members of the Paviors Lodge have warmly embraced the Masonic virtue of charitable giving. A variety of causes have been supported, including the Paviors Livery Charity, The Grand Charity, The Royal Masonic Trust for Boys & Girls, The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) and the Masonic Samaritan Fund. It is not possible to calculate how much has been donated since the Lodge’s inception as much of it is not recorded. A large donation was made in 1976 to assist with the redevelopment and modernisation of the Royal Masonic Hospital and in 2009 the Lodge was awarded the Grand Masters Diamond Award for its contribution to the RMBI.

Masonic  and non-masonic causes have been equally well supported. In recent years, thousands of pounds have been donated from the two charitable funds held by the Lodge, The Paviors Lodge Benevolent Fund and The Paviors Lodge Memorial Charity Fund. Each of these have, in turn,  donated to such worthy recipients as the RNLI, Prostate Cancer Fund, The Bobby Moore Fund, The Downs Syndrome Educational Trust, the Cyber Knife Appeal and the Air Ambulance Appeal.

The Lodge has welcomed a vast number of visitors over the years and many enthusiastic thanks have been recorded in its minutes.

The Lodge is one of the most active and vibrant parts of the Paviors’ community. Every year, the outgoing Master of the Lodge holds a Master’s Supper to entertain wives, partners, members of the Worshipful Company of Paviors and non-masonic guests. There is usually a musical accompaniment and the Livery Company is always toasted: “.…root and branch, forever!

Preamble of the Ordinances of 1479AD (from the Book of Statutes)

Preamble of the Ordinances of AD1479 (from the Book of Statutes)

1929 Grant of Arms

Paviors Grant of Arms from the College of Heralds. The original manuscript was destroyed during the London Blitz