A BRIEF HISTORY OF MITRE LODGE
The Lodge owes its existence, above all, to the zeal and enthusiasm of one man. Arthur Benjamin Hodgson was appointed Headmaster of Archbishop Holgate’s Grammar School, York, in 1937 and remained in post until ill health brought about his retirement in 1959 and an untimely death in 1961.
Affectionately known to staff and pupils alike as ABH, he was justly proud of his school and held strongly to the belief that associations and friendships formed at school and based on a sense of fellowship and common purpose were invaluable in later life, reflected by honesty, sincerity and fair dealing, qualities not unknown to Masons.
In the late 1940s, he set out to assess the strength of support there might be from existing members of the Craft who were past or present masters or Old Boys of the school for the formation of a Lodge for their convenience. Early indications were encouraging and matters were pursued in 1952 culminating in the establishment of a body of founders who took the steps necessary to the formation of the Lodge, under the sponsorship of Albert Victor Lodge, No. 2328 and with the support of other existing Lodges in the city.
The Lodge’s name comes from the prominence that a mitre played in the ethos of the school. The mitre was the school badge and the name of the school magazine and it was the custom of the time to ‘award a mitre’ to a boy for sporting prowess instead of the usual practice of ‘awarding colours’.
Consecration of the Lodge took place in The Assembly Rooms, York on Wednesday, 21 April 1954 when over two hundred Brethren were present and the first Regular meeting was held on Wednesday, 5 May at Duncombe Place, by arrangement with York Lodge No. 236, at which the twenty-eight Founders welcomed twelve Joining Members. Duncombe Place was to be ‘home’ for the next forty-three years.
A steady supply of candidates and good support from existing members ensured that the Lodge developed its own characteristics. One of these was that Brethren should be given the opportunity to take part in the work as soon as they felt ready to do so – a practice happily continued.
By 1981, the supply of new members who had a direct connection with Archbishop Holgate’s had dwindled to the extent that Mitre Lodge was opened up to others as well. Fittingly, the first new Initiate of the new era, Bill Seddon, who was a teacher at Leeds Grammar School, was the son-in-law of one of Mitre’s founder members, Alf Ross.