Many Somerset Companions are very familiar with the working of Somersetshire Chapter No 2925 which meets at Mark Masons Hall and many have also enjoyed the hospitality extended to Somerset in November when the Provincial Team visits the Chapter. I have visited Somersetshire Chapter on many occasions and together with Companions from Somerset and London was instrumental in forming the strong bond that now exists between us. Due to pressure of being Grand Superintendent it has never been possible for me to visit the Chapter other than at the November Convocation however the year I was able to attend the Installation Convocation held on Tuesday 8th January 2019.
I was staying in London overnight as I had a meeting at Freemasons’ Hall the following day and after travelling to London and checking into my hotel it was a quick tube journey to St James and Mark Masons’ Hall. I was aware that there was a problem at Mark Masons’ Hall as a sewer in the road had collapsed and the authorities had restricted the use of the building which meant that all catering was suspended. The Chapter was faced with finding a suitable alternative. On arrival at Mark Masons’ Hall I was faced with traffic chaos and a noticed stating that there were ‘Deep Excavations’.
The Convocation was attended by 12 Companions, quite good for London, and I have already been asked to stand in as Haggai, which I was pleased to accept. I was also able to present the Address to the Principals on this occasion. Dinner had been booked at The Institute of Directors in Pall Mall. The Institute of Directors occupy the Grade I listed 116 Pall Mall in London, which is open to members and has rooms and function suites available for commercial hire. The building is owned by the Crown Estate, along with the large collection of artwork that decorates the rooms. Until 1978, the building was run by the United Services Club. The building was designed by John Nash, the 19th-century architect who also designed the Brighton Pavilion and Marble Arch, and constructed between 1826-28.
The Chapter dined in the magnificent Nash Dining Room and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all that attended. We all departed at 9pm as most had to travel long distances home., the Past 1st Principal to Northallerton in Yorkshire, the 1st Principal to Middle Rasen in Lincolnshire and the 3rd Principal to Crayford in Kent.
The Chapter owes a great dept to the Scribe Ezra, Gerry Chilcott for the vast amount of work that he does to ensure the Chapter works so well with the membership so wide spread and it was through his good offices that we dined in such wonderful surroundings.
The Chapter is looking forward to the visit from Somerset Provincial Grand Chapter in November next, but I urge any Companion that are in London on a day when Somersetshire hold a Convocation to make every effort to attend and support the Somerset Chapter in London.
ME Comp D John Bennett