Loddon Lodge was consecrated at The Masonic Hall, Victoria Street, Basingstoke on 30th April 1968 by the R.W.Bro Major General R. L. Bond, C.B, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., Hon.F.R.A.M., who was the Provincial Grand Master for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Loddon traces its lineage back through its mother lodge, Oakley Lodge no. 694, to Lodge of Economy no. 76, which was granted its warrant on 29th May 1761.
Loddon Lodge was formed to assist in the accommodation of the increasing number of masons and others interested in joining who had moved to the area as a result of the expansion of Basingstoke as a London-overspill town. The name Loddon was taken from the river that in former days, rising in the West Ham area, flowed through the lower part of Basingstoke. The logo is based on a bridge known as Loddon Bridge at Old Basing which had trees on both banks.
Of Loddon’s 28 Founders, 17 were Past Masters.
Those central to the founding were Tom Prichard (who acted as Secretary prior to the consecration), Arthur Warr, Jack Longley, Herbert Allen, Dai Beynon, Harry Brunning, Freddie Brooks and Reg Simms.
Following the Consecration W.Bro Arthur Warr was installed as the first Master and he appointed Bro. The Rev. Raymond Clues as Senior Warden and Bro David Smethurst as Junior Warden.
It may be of interest to note that:
1. 87 attended the Consecration (Provincial Party 25, Founders 28, Guests 34).
2. The menu for the day (i.e. for lunch, tea, dinner with wines) cost 37/6 per head (£1.87).
3. The subscription was £5.00 p.a.
On 8th April 1993 the 25th anniversary meeting of the lodge was celebrated. The passage of time had by then reduced the number of founders to eight, of whom five were able to be present. As it was Past Masters night, each was invited to fill an office and during the evening presentations were made to mark the occasion.
Charity is of course very important to Freemasons. Loddon Lodge is proud to have attained a Gold Award for its contribution to the 2016 Festival in support of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.
Loddon Lodge enjoys an active social calendar, as part of which it holds an annual summer charity garden party at the home of Bro Mike and Mrs Ann Welch. The lodge also holds a ‘Friends of Loddon’ luncheon every December in the excellent company of the widows of late members of the lodge.
A great many members have come and gone over the years, each having contributed to the legacy
enjoyed by the lodge today.
The need for brevity prevents all of them being mentioned individually here, but one such man was Bro Dick Reuberson MBE, who was for many years a faithful, generous and flamboyant member of the lodge. Bro Dick liked to hold court in the bar after lodge meetings surrounded by his many friends. To this day, and it is hoped in perpetuity, the wine enjoyed at every Installation meeting is provided courtesy of a handsome legacy left to Loddon Lodge when, in 1995, Bro Dick passed to the Grand Lodge above.
Over the years, Loddon has adopted some slight variations from the ‘blue book’ on which our ritual is based. In 2003, these differences were formalised by the creation of the ‘Loddon Workings’. This was organised by W. Bro David Stiles in conjunction with several Past Masters of the lodge, including W. Bros Brian O’Leary, Derek Hill, Bill Plant and Harry Hall. A leather-bound version of those Loddon Workings is presented to the incoming Worshipful Master on the occasion of his installation, for reference during his year, and is afterwards passed to his successor. This particular copy of the Loddon Workings belonged to the late W. Bro Brian O’Leary, for many years a popular and highly regarded Past Master of Loddon Lodge.
Another item traditionally passed from master to master is a photograph album in which every former Worshipful Master of the lodge is pictured. This was one of several innovations introduced by W. Bro. Malcolm Barham, who served as Secretary for a period of sixteen years and has twice been Worshipful Master of the lodge.
In 2004 Loddon launched its website, which is currently in its third incarnation. In 2010 this was supplemented with a lodge Twitter account. Both have proved to be instrumental in attracting initiates, joining members and visitors, all of whom can be assured of a warm welcome.
On 12th November 2009 Loddon Lodge hosted an official visit by the Provincial Grand Master, R. W. Bro Brian C. Bellinger. At that meeting, the Worshipful Master and his Officers conducted a ceremony of Raising. As rumour has it, the Provincial Grand Master afterwards commented that he’d never seen another like it. The Worshipful Master and brethren chose to interpret this in a positive light!
The number of remaining founder members has now been reduced to just two, and both are now honorary members of the lodge. One of these is W. Bro Geoffrey Allen, who served as Loddon’s Organist for 43 years before taking a well earned break in 2011. It is a Loddon tradition that W. Bro Geoffrey responds to the toast given at Installation meetings to the Founders, Officers and Past Masters of Loddon Lodge. It is a further tradition that the Initiate who most recently joined the lodge always proposes this toast.
At 48 years old, Loddon has a shorter history than many lodges, but its members maintain a sense of pride in the lodge they have inherited from their predecessors. April 2018 will be the 50th anniversary of Loddon’s consecration, which naturally gives cause for reflection.
Today, Loddon continues to thrive and is fortunate to have maintained an active and enthusiastic membership throughout its short history. The lodge places a strong emphasis on live ceremonies and in addition conducts regular ‘one off’ events such as a recent Festival of Rarely Heard Ritual.
Our current members range in age between their early twenties and late eighties; all relish the opportunity to meet on the level and part on the square, contributing to Freemasonry and the local community in which they live and work. Together, we enjoy a proud history and hope for nothing less than a bright future for Loddon Lodge.