A short history
Forward Lodge was founded and consecrated in 1867, so 2017 marks our 150th year. The lodge banner incorporates the Birmingham coat of arms and, of course, the name of the lodge is the Birmingham motto Forward.
There were seven founder members the most eminent of these being Worship Brother Walter Foster a doctor at the Birmingham General Hospital. He later became a Member of Parliament for Chester and Ilkeston and was the first Doctor to hold a ministerial post. He was knighted and subsequently elevated to the Peerage as Baron Ilkeston of Ilkeston, he died in 1913.
The first summons 26 February 1874 indicates a start time of 5pm where a ceremony of initiation and a passing took place. On the night the accounts were presented showing the Lodge had in hand cash amounting to £141 10 s 5 d which in today’s money represents £11,690. Yearly sub in 1864 was 15 shillings and 9 d which in today’s money would be £1541. You will be relieved to know that our fees are just over a tenth of that figure now.
The lodge has met in various places, starting in the masonic rooms in Newhall Street to our present meeting place in St. Pauls Square. Our meeting dates have changed as in 1867 meetings were held in September, October, November, December, January, February, March (2 meetings), April, May, June (2 meetings), July and August (2 meetings). They even met on New Years day. By 1872 they had started taking a Masonic break, the last meeting being in June and restarting in October. We now meet on the first Monday of each of the following months, October, November, December, February, March and April. Our meeting times normally start at 6.30pm, and for those brethren that stay for a meal afterwards can to have left by 10pm at the latest.
At the November meeting each year, the minutes of the Lodge held on the same month 100 years previously are read, these are not only interesting, but as a mark of respect to our predecessors.
The most striking thing about the lodge as recognised by all of our visitors is that it is a happy and welcoming lodge. It has plenty of ‘characters’ in it who not only ‘play’ hard but masonically work hard, the result is that the lodge makes a valuable contribution to the wider community.
We average around 25 in number, and come from various backgrounds: engineering; plumbing; local authority; police service; teaching and insurance. We of course welcome any new members from any background and can assure them they would not regret a decision to join us. We meet socially on an informal basis so why not come for a drink and a chat, find out who these ‘masons’ are.
Each year our Master will select a non-masonic charity to support during his year of office.