Many O.Bs, particularly of recent vintage, may not be aware that the College has a Freemasons’ Lodge. The Old Brightonian Lodge No. 4104 was founded one hundred years ago this year 2020, and this centenary will be celebrated at the College by kind permission of the Head Master.
The Lodge was founded on Saturday 18th September 1920 at the College by a group of 16 petitioning brethren - or founders - of whom seven were teaching staff at the college, including Mr Dawson, the Head Master. Over the years the lodge has enjoyed the membership of later Headmasters and staff, both from the Common Room and the administration.
Operative Freemasonry, as it has been called, has been around since the dawn of civilization. Men have always wanted to celebrate the building of their homes, palaces and public institutions and it has been an allegorical following of that desire to build by craftsmen, who were skilled in their work, and who in a similar way to the Guilds of more recent times, formed themselves into lodges. The first modern Freemasons formed lodges in places where they worked and where they tested their skills with various signs, symbols and trade secrets to distinguish the very skilled from the craftsman and the apprentices. Thus, shoddy work and unqualified activity were avoided.
The Grand Lodge of England, our governing body if you like, recently celebrated its 300th anniversary with a gathering of members at The Royal Albert Hall, where men and women performed music and songs and HRH the Duke of Kent. The Grand Master delivered an address to the assembled 4,500 people. At the College in October, we will celebrate the 100 years of the Old Brightonian Lodge which has always had the success of the College as one of its objectives.
In the very early days, the Lodge set up a Scholarship Fund for pupils who might otherwise not be able to attend the school, particularly those through sickness or misfortune found themselves unable to continue their education once started. When Brighton College became co-ed, the trustees immediately opened the bursaries to all pupils of whatever gender.
In recent months, we have moved our support to begin to answer the Headmaster’s call to support pupils at the London Academy of Excellence (LAE) which the College, in their wisdom, set up with other schools as a Free School to provide Sixth form education to an area in East London where no such school was being provided.
The Lodge has sponsored two pupils for the next two years and we hope to continue our involvement when funds are available to meet this very obvious need. The Lodge is proud to be part of the funding effort for the LAE which has produced so many successful university candidates in recent years. Long may that continue.
Freemasonry is a most interesting, enjoyable and rewarding pastime. Freemasons worldwide share a common bond which is beneficial to everyone. Freemasons contribute many millions every year to society, in general, being the most generous charitable organisation in the country apart from the National Lottery. The O. B. Lodge is part of the United Grand Lodge of England which is for men, but Co-Masonry is for women and there are many families who subscribe to both.
Peter Cockburn (Sc. 1959-64)