Salopian Lodge 262 was not always known as 262. It started existence in 1788 as Lodge 525. In 1792 it was changed to Lodge 434. Again in 1814 becoming Lodge 496. Yet again in 1832 as Lodge 328 and finally, in 1863 it became Lodge 262. (just when you thought you knew the number!)
Its first meeting was held at The Fox Inn on 3rd July 1788 its first 100 years or so moving from pub to pub! In 1800 it moved the meeting to the Trumpet, in 1851 to the Raven and Bell and in 1859 to the Raven Hotel. By 1910 it was meeting at the Freemasons Hall on College Hill.
Freemasonry must have florished tremendously between 1850 and 1910 because in 1852 plans to amalgamate the only two lodges in Shropshire were abandoned and yet only 60 years later, the Freemasons Hall is up and running. No longer used for masonic meetings, today it is part of the music hall.
Some chronological events:
1789 Thomas Telford spends a year as our treasurer, puts the subscriptions up, then goes off to do something less important like build bridges.
1790 The local paper reports that Robert Darwin (father of Charles Darwin) joins a Shrewsbury based Lodge that was founded in 1788 (that’ll be us then)
1843 “What should be done about poor masons begging”. The benevolence fund is established
1852 The two lodges in Shropshire abandon plans to amalgamate.
1888 Centenary meeting held on 14th May. All living present and past Lodge members were invited.
1895 Bro. A. Graham is installed as Worshipful Master
1897 Bro. A. Graham composes lodge song (still sung after every meeting, all 24 verses!)
1921 Bro. A. Graham is again installed as Worshipful Master after a gap of 26 years. This was in the presence of 44 members and 29
visitors. A record for the lodge! He choses to read parts of Lodge History at each meeting.
1938 150th Anniversary A reading is made of the paper by W.Bro. Graham, P.D.P.G.M. giving a short Sketch of the Lodge History, by W.Bro. Pendlebury, D.P.G.M. The final paragraph of this seems worth repeating:
“I have only one more thing to say. It is that after fifty years experience I have never seen a Lodge in which the true Spirit of Brotherly Love is displayed so unfailingly as in 262. Petty jealouses and cliques, so often found in other Lodges, do not exist among us. If this spirit remains among us, as I am sure it will, there cannot be any failure in the Lodge to obtain the good fortune embodied in the wish “here’s luck to 262”.
1967 Due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease among the dairy herds of Shropshire the P.G.M. suggested that all Lodges in infected areas should hold their regular meetings with only a sufficient number to open the Lodge, read the minutes and then close.
1974 December. Mr A. Rashid Khan was initiated. The Volume of the Sacred Law on this occasion was the Koran. This is the first recorded instance of a non christian member in our lodge. We are pleased to report we now have many.
1988 200th Anniversary – The Lodge was held at Crewe St. The Festive Board was held at Albrighton Hall Hotel at a cost to the Lodge of £7000…. the Lodge made a loss of £600..A Grand Lodge officer was collected from the Station in a black Rolls Royce…. he stayed at the Albrighton….. insisting on smoking in his room and set the fire alarm off…. the hotel had to be evacuated!
The Lodge received 2 decanters …. some say from Province? ,… they were sent away to be engraved…… and never seen again !!
A more detailed and serious look at the history of the lodge is available by clicking on the button here and downloading it. It covers 1788 to 1987