Eurydice Lodge No 1920 Marks Family Centenary
W Bro Paul Huggins reports.
In November 2021, there was a special meeting of Eurydice Lodge No 1920, as it marked 100 years of the same family’s membership of the Lodge.
Jesse Huggins was Initiated into the Lodge in 1921. One hundred years later, two of his sons, Paul and Simon Huggins, are still active officers in the same Lodge, the former as Almoner and the latter as Organist. One would expect several generations over that period of time, but Jesse had become a father quite late in life when nearing 60.
Bro Jesse Huggins had an unusual yet very memorable recruitment into Freemasonry. Having just retired as an army captain after service in WW1, he was invited by his commanding officer, Viscount Goschen, to a dinner party at his country house in Kent. Afterwards, and because he was a fine bass singer, he was asked to entertain the guests with some songs. Jesse had heard that Rudyard Kipling was due to be a guest that same evening. Being a great admirer of Kipling’s works, he asked Goschen whether he could be allowed to sit next to him.
This was arranged, and Captain Huggins came to the dinner in great anticipation. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a disappointment as Kipling was suffering from deep melancholia after the death of his son Jack in combat. Because Jack was very poor-sighted, Kipling had used his influence to pull strings and get Jack allowed to join the army. Subsequently, he blamed himself for his death.
Although he was very polite and adept at social gatherings, Jesse found Kipling a rather sullen dinner companion. He had to make all the conversation himself, which would have been fine on any other occasion since he was always very adept at talking. His expectation for the evening, sadly, had not been met.
Perhaps because he was about Jack’s age, Huggins may have reminded Kipling too much of his own son. Still, later during dinner, somewhat recovering some social skills, Kipling asked Jesse whether he was a Freemason. The writer told his table companion that he thought he would make a very good convivial brother. This prompted Jesse to enquire and join Freemasonry shortly thereafter. He chose Eurydice Lodge, then a musicians’ Lodge. Jesse later went on to become Third Provincial Grand Principal of Middlesex, in which office, by chance, his son Paul succeeded him a mere 60 years later.
Eurydice Lodge has had a very unusual history. It was founded in 1881, mainly by musicians, three of whom were musicians of national eminence, with two other founders being eminent architects.
Over the years, the make-up of the Lodge changed, with fewer musicians, but a strong association with Remigium Lodge No 7343, a rowing Lodge. As the membership had declined, an idea was formulated to turn the Lodge into an Installed Masters Lodge for Sportsmen. In 2013 Installed Master status was granted, and the following year, W Bro Ken Wootton was installed as WM by another member, the Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton.
The Lodge is now thriving, with over 50 members meeting at the West London Masonic Centre.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 48 April 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 48 here.