Persevering for 100 years

Perseverance council No.42 celebrated a milestone of 100 years of service at its November meeting held at Mill House Masonic Hall, Clayton- Le- Moors, Blackburn.

These events are very rare in The Allied Degrees as the Most Worthy Grand Master, Tom Jackson was quick to point out that. It will not be until 2034 that another council will celebrate such an achievement. He was joined at the meeting by the head of our order in East Lancashire District Grand Prefect Mervyn Wilson along with his West Lancashire counterpart Paul Snape and Joseph McCollum from the West Midlands.

Mervyn with members of the council

Mervyn was well supported with his team of Acting Officers as well as a good delegation from neighbouring West Lancashire. In total over 50 brethren were in attendance which is the highest attendance in the Council’s 100 years of existence comprising of a total of 390 meetings and 748 ceremonies.

The council was opened by the current Master, Stephen Barritt who was very pleased to receive Tom Jackson accompanied by the Grand Director of Ceremonies and did not hesitate to offer the gavel to our Grand Master.

Paul Snape (centre) with the West Lancashire Visitors

Of course Tom eagerly accepted it and was warmly welcomed with the customary salutations. He congratulated the members on this achievement and gave his best wishes for the future.

He then invited the council Secretary Stephen White to present a history of the council. On 29 November 1921, 13 Brethren petitioned the then Grand Master, Col Charles Warren Napier-Clavering, and as a consequence the Lodge of Perseverance was consecrated at 4pm on 27 May 1922 at Richmond Terrace, Blackburn. The ceremony was conducted by FW Broadbent, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Lancashire, Eastern Division assisted by R Verney Clayton Provincial Grand Secretary.

Just to put things in perspective at that time there were no mobile phones, no tablets, and no computers and of course no internet. There was no Soviet Union which was formed in December of that year. There was political unrest and at the date of the petition we were just three and a half years from the end of the First World War. The country was emerging from a depression.

Of the 13, several were solicitors two were ex Majors both of whom worked in a cotton mill. Eight of them served as Master of Perseverance Lodge of Mark Master Masons from which Lodge this Allied Council had originated.

The Council started with a flourish.  At the second meeting no fewer than nine members had the degree of St Lawrence conferred upon them, there were two more at the third meeting and another at the fourth. At that same 4th meeting 12 became Knights of Constantinople, and the 5th meeting saw 10 become Grand Tilers of Solomon.

Steve Gregory in a deputy sandwich

On 9 March 1929 12 members became Knights of Constantinople, and the same 12 became Grand Tilers of King Solomon. There was also an Installation, all in 1 hour 15 minutes.

The following meeting in July 1929 was a special meeting and saw the first ceremony of Red Cross of Babylon. 13 members conferred.

In March 1933 there was a visit from the Grand Master, Dr Charles Herbert Perram who took part in the ceremony of the Red Cross of Babylon, as the Illustrious Sovereign in the Court of Darius.  He also acted as M E President in the degree of Grand High Priest which followed. Three brethren in the former and five in the latter no doubt had very happy memories of the occasion.

The Grand Master must have enjoyed himself in March 1933 because he returned in May 1935, and acted, as King Solomon in Grand Tilers and President in Grand High Priest. There is reference in the minutes of October 1942 that a dispensation for a change of date was not necessary because of the Emergency regulations issued on 23 September 1939. This is the only reference in the minutes to World War II, and all regular meetings were held as they were scheduled.

At the time of the consecration there was only one District which now has been split into East and West Lancashire in its time the council had moved to Rishton, before settling at Mill House which is close to both Blackburn and Accrington. Membership numbers have gone up and down over the years and recently the future of the council has been steadied with a large influx of joining members and now has a candidate to admit at its next meeting so the future is looking bright, Tom Jackson concluded that the council can now look forward to the next 100 years.

Tom (centre) with Mervyn and the District Officers for 2023 and Graham Newton (2nd left)
Mervyn Presents Tom with a gift

There was another important item of business:  District Deputy Grand Prefect, Peter Hegarty had stepped down following his promotion in the Craft to Assistant Provincial Grand Master, it was time to appoint and invest Graham Newton, a member of Perseverance council, as his successor.

Tom invited Mervyn Wilson to take the chair and perform this duty with the help of his Senior and Junior wardens who were like wise placed at their stations. An escort was formed and Graham was duly presented, obligated and invested. Likewise Trevor Parvin was appointed as District Secretary to fill the role previously for filled by Graham.

Mervyn, Tom and Steve Barritt raise a glass

Graham was warmly applauded and congratulated before Mervyn invited the Master Stephen Barritt to resume his rightful place. The next meeting being the installation the next Master was selected who is to be Allan Shields who will take up the baton from Stephen in May and lead the council into the next 100 years.

With the council closed the brethren retired to the festive board for fine food and good company which sealed a perfect end to this memorable and unique meeting.

Story and photos by AM Shields.

Council History courtesy of Stephen White. Secretary.

The brethren enjoy good company and fine food at the festive board