The 100 year mystery of three Masonic chairs

Albert Chairs

Three symbolic antique chairs, highly regarded and prized by Freemasons, have returned home to Southend 

Three symbolic antique chairs, highly regarded and prized by Freemasons, have returned home to Southend after a mystery absence spanning nearly100 years. In a story involving a past Peer of the Realm and an incredible amount of detective work, the chairs are now in their rightful place at the Masonic Centre at Saxon Hall in Aviation Way.

The chairs – made for the Worshipful Master and two Wardens - were originally presented by three of the Founders to the Albert Lucking Lodge No 2717, which was formed in 1898 and still remains in Southend. The Lodge during this period met in various hotels around the area and at some time, probably during the First World War, the chairs were lost.

It’s here where the mystery really begins according to the Lodge Secretary Paul Thurgood when the chairs were finally re –discovered in a social club in Solihull, Warwickshire earlier this year.

“Because the Earl of Warwickshire, the then Provincial Grand Master for Essex, consecrated our Lodge we can only assume that when the chairs were first found, someone arranged for them to be sent up to the Midlands,” said Paul.

“It was only when the Club, where they finally ended up, had decided it needed to clear out some of its old furniture that a Warwickshire Mason took interest and decided to track down the original owners and the mystery was solved.”

It seems the chairs were designated for the scrap heap and the original plaques were so badly corroded that it was almost impossible to identify who had been the original owners.

Fortunately, the Warwickshire Mason Simon Weston, realising the significance of the chairs cleaned up the plaques and made contact with the Albert Lucking Lodge who were pleased to receive them back.

However, the mystery has not been entirely solved. The chairs had been in Solihull for 30 years where it’s believed they were occasionally used but where they had been stored before then – no one really knows.

So the story continues and anyone who can help fill in the missing years should contact the Albert Lucking Lodge at Saxon hall

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