The Early Days of Dagger Lane
The land upon which the Lodge premises on Dagger Lane was built was originally part of Maud Camin’s property. From there, it then passed through the hands of the Abbot of Meaux and King Edward I, who in turn ceded it to the De-la-Pole family. In 1420 it was jointly owned by William De-la-Pole and the Scope of Massingham. Later, it fell in to the hands of John Grimsby. Dagger Lane was then known as Champion Street, which was a small country lane just inside the city walls.
The freehold to the Lodge was purchased in 1874 and during the alterations the flooring of the old chapel was removed and a vault was discovered containing a coffin lying with the head towards the north. The vault, eventually bricked up, measured some seven feet by four and a feet.
The War Years
At the outbreak of war in September 1939, Grand Lodge issued an edict suspending all Lodge Meetings until further notice. This was lifted before the end of the year, but it prevented the Lodge from holding an Election Night in October or an Installation in November. Consequently the Worshipful Master, W.Bro. Douglas Williams continued in office for a second year.
The War naturally had as profound an effect on Masonry as it had on life in general. Because of the black-out and the danger of air raids, meetings were held much earlier. In this Lodge they were usually held at 5.45 p.m. in the Summer months, but at lunch-time during the Autumn and Winter. Evening dress disappeared, to be replaced by dark morning dress or uniform. Attendance at meetings fell as Brethren joined the Armed Forces or were evacuated from Hull, and at times was as low as thirteen.
In May 1940, By-Law No.1 was amended to make June a Regular Meeting. The meeting that September was the first to be interrupted by the War. Bro. Arthur Stanley Wells was taking his Second Degree and had just answered the necessary questions when the Lodge had to adjourn temporally because of threatened enemy action. Other meetings were also interrupted, but always by false alarms. No actual air-raid took place during a Lodge Meeting.
In January 1941 no ceremony was worked and the Lodge merely Opened and Closed. Because of the shortage of candidates this happened on many subsequent occasions, though talks by W.Bro. Frank Glew, the Lecture Master, often illuminated an otherwise barren meeting.
Destruction of the Temple
On the night of May 8th 1941, the Masonic Hall in Park Street was seriously damaged and rendered unfit for use by a high explosive bomb during a heavy air-raid. Much of our Lodge Furniture was destroyed, including the Three Chairs, Candlesticks, Wardens’ Columns and Honours Boards. Fortunately the Lodge Regalia was undamaged. During the same month the Humber Lodge building in Anne Street and the De La Pole Lodge building in Osborne Street were totally destroyed. The Minerva Lodge No. 250 very generously offered the use of their Hall in Dagger Lane to all Lodges which were without a home. Together with others we gratefully accepted their invitation.
In 1942 the subscription for all Service Members was fixed at one guinea.
It was also decided to change the months of recess from July and August to January and February to lessen air-raid risks. Attendances at meetings began to improve and so did the number of Candidates. There were four Initiates in 1942 and five in 1943 and the number of Brethren attending meetings ranged from twenty to thirty.
In July 1944, twelve years after the committee was set up to enquire into the formation of a Royal Arch Chapter, the following motion was proposed:
“That the Lodge be asked to sanction the formation of a Royal Arch Chapter attached to the Lodge and to give an assurance that it will endorse the petition accordingly.”
The motion was carried and the Chapter was Consecrated on l7th May, 1945. This was a courageous decision to take in wartime. Since then the Chapter has flourished, membership being open to any Old Grammarian Master Mason, be he a member of Lodge No. 5129 or any other Lodge. In 1945, the Lodge Secretary, W.Bro. Herbert Locking was made Provincial Grand Secretary. There was much rejoicing amongst the Brethren, and a motion congratulating him on the honour was carried unanimously. It ended thus:
“……….and express the hope that for many years to come he will have health to enjoy that Office, so that the members of Provincial Grand Lodge can know some of the inspiration and happiness that his care and conscientiousness have brought to this Lodge.”
These words were tragically ironic. In May the Lodge learned of the death of its Treasurer, W.Bro. Harold Locking. Two months later Benno Pearlman died and four months after that came the death of Herbert Locking himself. Thus in six months the Lodge lost its three most prominent members. W.Bro. Kenneth Locking became the new Secretary and served the Lodge as faithfully as his brothers had done, until his death in 1958. There is no doubt that the Lodge owes a great debt of gratitude to the brothers Locking.
At the end of the war the months in recess were changed back to July and August, but the Lodge did not revert either to the old meeting time or to the wearing of evening dress. Meetings, as now, were held at 6.00 p.m. and dark morning dress remained the order of the day. During the course of the war sixteen Brethren served in the Armed Forces, whilst many others gave voluntary service as Home Guards, Air Raid Wardens, Fire Watchers or members of other voluntary organisations.
Some interesting post-war events may now be mentioned. In 1947 we were Founder Members at the Constitution of the Federation of School Lodges. In 1952, after consultation with the Old Bridlingtonian Lodge No. 6843 and the Old Hymerian Lodge No. 6885 it was decided to hold a local Annual Joint School Lodge Meeting. A dispensation was obtained and the first meeting was held on May 3rd 1952, our Lodge acting as the first hosts. Since then these meetings have been well attended and much enjoyed. The Old Pocklingtonian Lodge No. 7867 subsequently joined us and each Lodge now acts as host once every four years.
In 1964 the Lodge resolved to form a Lodge Benevolent Fund. Four Trustees were appointed and a Management Committee was elected. The Brethren have supported this fund generously and on more than one occasion it has been possible to give timely help to Brethren, or their dependants, who were in need of assistance.
Probably the proudest day in the history of the Lodge occurred in October 1966 when we had the honour to be the hosts for the nineteenth Annual Festival of the Federation of School Lodges. This Emergency Meeting was held at the Grammar School. It was graced by the presence of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, the Most Honourable the Marquess of Zetland, the Worshipful Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Sir Charles Vernon Fitton P.G.D., the Worshipful Assistant Grand Master, Wilfred Arthur Gibson P.G.D., and a large number of Grand and Provincial Grand Officers.
The Vice President (and acting President) of the Federation of School Lodges, W.Bro. Charles Henry Johnson P.P.G. Treas., accompanied by distinguished Visiting Brethren representing the Federation, was received and admitted in due form. We were all very proud that a member of this Lodge should hold this high office. A lecture entitled “Three Phases of Masonic History” was then delivered by W.Bro. Harry Carr P.A.G.D.C., the Secretary and Editor of the QuatuorCoronati Lodge No. 2076. Forty-five Federated School Lodges were represented and there was a total attendance of two hundred and fifty. The meeting at the School was followed by a banquet at the Guildhall, which set the seal on a great day. The Master of the Lodge at that time was W.Bro. F.L De Boer. He served on the Management Committee of the Federation from 1964 to 1967, was Chairman from 1972 to 1974 and has been the Treasurer since 1978. The Brethren of the Lodge have also continued to support the Federation and a goodly number travel each year to its Annual Festival.
Having listed some of the more interesting events in the history of the Lodge, we must now paint a broader picture.
Although the Masonic Hall in Park Street was repaired and reconstructed the Lodge has remained at Dagger Lane since 1941 except for two interludes. The first was in 1958 when we met at Park Street from May to October whilst the Temple at Dagger Lane was repaired and re-painted. The second, longer interlude, was from April 1977 to December 1978, when the Dagger Lane premises were being extensively enlarged and improved. During this period we met once at Park Street, twice at the Masonic Hall in Beverley and thirteen times at the Masonic Hall in Sutton.
Into the 21st Century….
With the closure of the original Hull Grammar School in 1988, it was unsustainable for Hull Old Grammarians to focus its membership on Old Boys or Masters of the school. Now membership is open to anyone, irrespective of their school. The Grammar school does live on in Hull Collegiate, which acquired the Hull Grammar School name and combined it with Hull High School in 2005. Hull Collegiate curates artefacts from the Grammar School and keeps alive the letter and spirit of its motto: FLOREAT NOSTRA SCHOLA!