The End of an Era

Ivy Street Centre Closes




The Rochester Lodge No 3494 hosted their last meeting at Ivy Street in Rainham on the evening of Wednesday May 18th. The Lodge was honoured by the presence of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, VWBro Roger Odd and no less than three Assistant Provincial Grand Masters; WBros Brian Powell, Roger Waltham and Andy Notley, who is a member and Past Master of the Lodge.

Among the many visitors present there were representatives from the Lodge’s Mother Lodge, St Michael's Lodge No 1273 and all of the daughter Lodges, namely the Lodge de Wydemere No 6282, Middleton Manor Lodge No 6337, Renham Lodge No 8211 and Fiat Lux Lodge No 8893, who had come to witness the final ceremony to be held in the Centre.

Worshipful Master Ken Jarvis conducted a Second Degree ceremony for Bro Neil Basadonna, who was the last initiate before the Lodge celebrated its Centenary in January.

It was an emotional evening as many of those present had been Initiated, Passed and Raised at the Centre and formed a strong attachment to the building and to Rainham. Before the risings, Roger Odd addressed the meeting and said that although this was the end of an era in the history of the lodge it should also be considered as the beginning of a new one where the brethren could take up the challenge before them and see the Lodge go from strength to strength. He stressed that a Lodge was not about the building but its members and he wished the Lodge well for the future.

In 1911, The Rochester Lodge began operating from the “Old Green Shed” in Orchard Street, Rainham. In 1954 they purchased and moved to a redundant Methodist Church in Ivy Street, but after 57 years the members have reluctantly had to face the fact that, with falling numbers and increasing costs, they can no longer afford to run it.

As no other suitable building could be found within Rainham, the members decided that rather than close the Lodge they would move to another Centre, namely the St George Hotel in Chatham. The members are determined to show the same fortitude that their Founders demonstrated over 100 years ago and work together to build up the Lodge at its new home.

When proposing the toast to Provincial Grand Officers, WBro Jim Beaney referred to the kind of spirit needed by the brethren and quoted from the speech by Henry V, on Saint Crispin’s Day, prior to the Battle of Agincourt.

“And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my Brother………………...
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s Day”


IvyStreet dinners 


20 May 2011