The petition for the formation of Old Mancunians’ Lodge No. 3140 was signed by eleven old boys of Manchester Grammar School (Hence the name), who were Freemasons from various Lodges and whom we honour as founders.
They held their first meeting at the Deansgate Hotel Manchester on October 2nd 1905, with the purpose of creating a masonic lodge primarily for the past members of Manchester Grammar School. Following approval by Provincial Grand Lodge, the Lodge was consecrated at the Midland Hotel, Manchester on Monday 5th February 1906, by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master
CRN Beswicke-Royds. The Provincial Grand Master, Lord Derby being unable to officiate himself, honoured the Lodge by presiding over the Installation meeting in the following year.
This may inspire the reader to imagine life in Manchester in 1906: at the second meeting of the Lodge, the fees were established. The annual subscription fee was agreed at £2 2s 0d, a considerable sum at the time! Five shillings were added as the annual subscription to the charity fund.
During the first four years the Lodge held its meetings at the Freemasons Hall in Cooper Street, Manchester, whence in 1910 it moved to the Albion Hotel in Piccadilly, where it remained until those premises were demolished in 1926. In October of that year it removed to the Blackstock Hotel in Upper Brook Street, Chorlton on Medlock, where it continued to meet until it finally reached its present location in the newly built magnificence of Bridge Street on the 4th October 1929.
The concept of holding ceremonies including a number of candidates dates back to the early days in the Lodge’s history. Even in the first few years of the Lodge’s life this has been common practice. Our records indicate these as early as 1907 when the Lodge had four new candidates on 5th March and another two on 5th April.
Throughout its life, Old Mancunians Lodge has had numerous memorable occasions and celebrations; however, one cannot ignore the impact of the calamities of war extending through ten years of its life. During the two World Wars, many of the Lodge members were engaged on active service; some of whom lost their lives. With many others in the Home Guard, Fire Service and Air Raid Warden Service; attendances were naturally variable during the War. Unsurprisingly, the above, together with the pressing circumstances such as the blackouts, caused occasional disruption to some of the meetings during the war. The Lodge has honoured the memory of those who lost their lives with great regard.
On a happy note, the Golden Jubilee of the Lodge on Saturday 11th February 1956 and its Centenary in February 2006 were amongst its most prominent celebrations. The former was attended by Sir Edward Rhodes and the latter by Paul Rink OBE, both Provincial Grand Masters for the respective periods.
Much younger than Old Mancunians’ Lodge, Mount Sinai Lodge No. 8855 was founded in 1979.
In early 1978, there had been a longstanding need for a new Lodge from within a number of Lodges necessitated by their large memberships and long waiting lists for keen candidates. Therefore, when approached, The Province strongly supported this concept and subsequently, members from various Lodges, including Old Mancunians’ Lodge were invited to become petitioners for the new Lodge.
The first meeting of the founders was held at the home of one of the petitioners on 10th July 1978. After a great deal of discussion and organisation, the new Lodge was consecrated by the Provincial grand Master the Rt Hon Lord Hewlett, on Wednesday 21st March 1979 at Freemasons Hall, Bridge Street, Manchester before a large attendance of Brethren from East Lancashire and other Provinces.
At the time of the consecration, the average age of the seventeen founders was 42 years and at the time of the signing of the petition, three of the founders were in the chairs of their respective Lodges. Over more than three decades, Mount Sinai Lodge has had a remarkable record in introducing active and dedicated members.
Amongst the notable events held by the Lodge over the years, two are particularly remarkable: The twenty fifth Anniversary of the consecration of the Lodge is a well-remembered celebration held in 2004, attended by Peter Walthall the Provincial Grand Master at the time.
The Lodge open evening in January 2002 was another resounding evening; when numerous non-Masons were shown the Lodge room, received an explanatory introduction and were then entertained to a Social Board where Paul Rose, our Assistant Provincial Grand Master also spoke. More than half of the attendees later declared interest in joining the Lodge; building new bonds of friendship that we are enjoying today.
In 2006, Old Mancunians’ Lodge joined the “Universities Scheme”, extending but not limiting its membership to University students and postgraduates. This has marked the beginning of a very exciting era in the Lodge’s life. Since then, the Lodge has attracted many young men mainly from the Universities in Manchester; while it has received graduates from across the country and abroad who are interested in Freemasonry and have come to work/live in Manchester area. Conversely, the members moving on to leave the area have been enjoying Freemasonry; some by joining Lodges as far as London, Germany, Romania and Texas.
In 2013, Old Mancunians’ Lodge and Mount Sinai Lodge joined together; forming a bigger, stronger and even more vibrant Lodge.
The Lodge by-laws were amended by unification and individual traditions were elegantly amalgamated. The new Lodge remains an active member of the Universities Scheme and a great opportunity for young men to enjoy Freemasonry.
Looking through the glass of time, one cannot help but feel both nostalgia and pride. Mount Sinai Lodge no longer holds pre-meeting cocktail receptions; and although maintaining its academic theme, Old Mancunians’ Lodge is no longer the special Old boys’ social club. Nevertheless, the Lodge continues to prosper with the same splendour which has brought great joy to its members … joining,
present and past…