A Centenary Celebration - Two Years Late!

On the 13th April, 2022, one of the Federation’s newer members, Aurora Lodge No. 4070, celebrated its centenary – two years late due to the incidence of Covid restrictions in its centenary year, 2020.

The meeting, in Castle Grove Masonic Hall, Leeds, was very well attended with representatives of many different Lodges present to enjoy the celebration – and an excellent Festive Board presided over by W. Bro. Darren P. G. Goldsmith, the current Worshipful Master. W. Bro. Goldsmith very kindly allowed the Worshipful Master of 2020, W. Bro. Andrew Poleviak, to occupy the Chair for the whole of the meeting in the Lodge room – he, himself acting as Senior Warden.

The Federation was represented by W. Br. Ronald Barham, MStJ, P.P.G.Swd.Br (East Lancs); the presentation of Centenary Jewels was by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the masonic Province of Yorkshire West Riding, V. W. Bro. John Boyington CBE, Past Grand Sword Bearer, with a large Provincial Deputation in attendance.

The Brethren present were treated to a humorous rendition of the History of the Lodge (a more formal version is below) after which the Provincial Grand Secretary read the Centenary Warrant to the members present before the Deputy Provincial Grand Master presented it to W. Bro. Andrew Poleviak.

The members of Aurora Lodge were then presented with their Centenary jewels, following which an excellent Oration was delivered by W. Bro. Roger Quick, Acting Provincial Grand Chaplain, who also acted as Organist for the event.

At the Festive Board, those present were treated to a rendition of the Lodge’s unique Master’s Song after an excellent repast and the Festivities concluded with the cutting of the celebratory Centenary Cake (square, of course!), after which all present received a slice, or two, and a specially minted Masonic Token, designed and produced by a member of the Lodge, as a memento of the occasion.

Aurora Lodge No. 4047 a Short History

Aurora Lodge No. 4047 was consecrated on 24th March 1920 and was one of the many Lodges formed shortly after the termination of the First World War. All twenty founders were members of the Mother Lodge, Coronation No. 2922.

The name ‘Aurora' was suggested by W. Bro. D'Arcy Rudd, PPGChap. and the first I.P.M. Aurora was the Roman Goddess of the Dawn as the Lodge was consecrated some 16 months after the cessation of the First World War our founders decided it was an appropriate name as it suggested the dawn of a new age with the hope of a better future for all.

The first Master was W. Bro. Jose Rickard PPGDC Worshipful Master of Philanthropic Lodge No. 304 in 1888 (our Grandmother Lodge) and of Coronation Lodge in 1902 (our Mother Lodge). A Brother of great experience and an erudite Freemason, he was not a young man when he accepted the task of forming a Lodge but for nearly twenty years to come, his insistence on the dignity and high importance of Freemasonry moulded the development of Aurora Lodge. He died in 1941 at the age of 94 and has become a legendary figure in the memory of the Lodge.

The Lodge prospered from the start and soon took a high place amongst the Leeds Lodges on account of the personality and educational attainment of many of its founders and early members of who, besides the two already mentioned, W. Bros. Dr. Walter Parsons, Dr. R. Lee Bolton, Dr. Isaac Taylor and Edgar Lee may be especially remembered.

The early years were characterised by a large number of new initiates and this keenness for Masonic work resulted in 1933 in the consecration of our Daughter Lodge, The Lodge of the Morning Star No.5428. Founding member and the first Master was W. Bro. James Croysdale.

Aurora Lodge attained a reputation for harmony at the festive board, the main driving force being W. Bro. Arthur Hainsworth. This musical character has been well maintained by a succession of Brethren amongst whom W. Bros. Hubert Varley, Gerald Huntley and Herbert Wilkinson must be especially mentioned as well as W. Bros. Arthur Crocker and Peter Gambrill.

The Lodge is particularly proud of its special Masters Song written by founding Brother W. Bro. Bolton Dan Taylor with music composed by Bro. Jeremiah Stones. It is sung to the Worshipful Master on every regular Lodge night and since the death of W. Bro. Varley in 1972, who had sung the song for over 50 years, it has been sung by W. Bros Arthur Crocker, PPJGW and Peter Gambrill, PPJGW, on occasions by W. Bro. Sidney Tempest and in more recent years by W Bros. David Wadeley, PPJGD, PPGStB (Berks) and Malcolm Sparkes, PPGSuptWks.

Since 1945 the Lodge has been fortunate in having Brethren who have achieved high Masonic Honours. W. Bro. Edgar Lee, PJGD one of our founders died in 1967 and W. Bro. Harry Whitfield PAGDC, died in 1962. At one time we had four Grand Lodge Officers. W. Bro. Sir James Croysdale, PJGD, was AsstPGM for nine years from 1960 to 1969, W. Bro. Reg Broomhead was appointed PAGDC, and W. Bro. Jack Bidgood, PAGDC was acting ProvJGW, W. Bro. Ronald Kellet served with distinction on the Charity Committee of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding for 12 years becoming chairman in 1974. He was appointed to the office of JGD in 1975, the only acting Grand Lodge Officer the Lodge has had.

Over the 100 years of our existence nine Brethren have achieved the Golden Jubilee of membership: W. Bros. J Croysdale, H Varley, S Webster, R Broomhead, G H Priestley and C S Haddon. W Bros. J C Bidgood (1991) and R P Kellet (1998) both received the PGM's Jubilee Certificate in open Lodge. Bro. A N Bradbury received his Jubilee Certificate in May 2015.

Members have not restricted themselves to Masonic interests only and in recognising their duty to the community as a whole achieved high Civic and Political Offices. Serving as Lord Mayors of Leeds were Bro. Fred Brown Simpson (1931), Bro. Donald Cowling (1953), W Bro. Sir James Croysdale (1955) and Bro. William Hargreave (1965). W Bro. George Somers held the office of Deputy Lord Mayor (1970). W Bro. Robert Armitage, PPGW was M.P. for Leeds Central and W Bro. Jack Bidgood was M.P. for Bury & Ratcliffe from 1955 to 1964 serving as P.P.S. to the Minister of Pensions and on the Select Committee of Estimates.

The Lodge moved from its founding home in Great George Street in May 1969 firstly to The Mansion, Roundhay Park and then to Castle Grove Masonic Hall where we have been firmly established since 1981. W. Bros. Arthur Crocker, Bill Bard, PPJGW, and David Wilkinson PPDGDC, have taken a notable role in the management of the Masonic Hall's affairs. W. Bros. Bill Bard and David Wilkinson have both been chairman of the Board and both have been responsible for considerable improvements to the fabric of the building and the finances of the Company.