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A Brief History of the Andrew Marvell Lodge
by Barry Kensett PPGSwdB

Back History

Probably the first Lodge of speculative or free and accepted masons in Hull was one which held its meetings in Theold hull shipping Cock Tavern without Mighton’s Gate which was established under a warrant issued by the Grand Lodge of England (known as the Moderns) on 20th August 1759 and numbered 252. Their rivals, the Ancients soon followed by warranting a Lodge on 3rd September 1759 which met at the George Tavern. A further Lodge came into being at the Kings Head in 1761 and another, the Rodney, No 346 both of which met under warrants from the Moderns Grand Lodge. All of these Lodges eventually surrendered their warrants but the next Lodge to be constituted was one which is still in operation, the Minerva Lodge 250 whose warrant is dated 6th April 1783. The association of taverns with Lodges in the early days was taken for granted – it was only in later years that custom-built buildings began to appear. Indeed, the Minerva Lodge was one of the first in this regard.

Thus Freemasonry flourished in this significant sea port, and the influence of Humber Ritual can be observed not only in local Lodges, but over the globe.

The Pearlman Influence 

Before talking about the formation of the Andrew Marvell Lodge it is appropriate to mention one individual; Benno Pearlman

Benno Pearlman was a prominent Hull Solicitor who took and active interest in civic affairs. He became a keen and influential Freemason following his initiation into the de la Pole Lodge 1605 in 1903. Deeply interested in the civic development of the City of Hull he became an Alderman of the City and Lord Mayor in 1928. He was also a prominent Freemason. He was initiated into the De La Pole Lodge in 1903.

During his year as Lord Mayor he conceived the idea of forming a Lodge to be connected with Hull Grammar School of which he was a past pupil (as indeed was Andrew Marvell). Thus the Old Grammarians’ Lodge 5129 was formed and Benno Pearlman regarded this as his greatest achievement during his year as Lord Mayor.

He was also a founder member of the Thesaurus Lodge 3891 whose Chair he occupied three times.

In 1936 there were ten Craft Lodges meeting within the city walls with the addition of the Humber Installed Master’s Lodge 2494 and another dozen in the surrounding districts. The movement was flourishing and a number of Brethren expressed a desire to form a Lodge principally but not exclusively for the local and central government officers in the District. The prime mover, unsurprisingly, was Benno Pearlman and initially it was thought that a “Guildhall” Lodge would be proposed but later this name was dropped and other options were considered. Existing Lodges at the time had taken their name from prominent citizens e.g. De La Pole 1605 and Wilberforce 2134. Others took names from local features e.g, Humber 57 and Kingston 1010.

It was finally decided to adopt the name of Andrew Marvell, a local poet and politician and several times MP for the City.

Poetic Licence 

It is said that when the proposed name was submitted to Grand Lodge a reply was received to the effect that if it was proposed to name the Lodge after an individual, the permission of that person must be obtained. As Andrew Marvell had died in 1678 this may have proved problematic, but eventually a petition was duly submitted to Grand Lodge and in due time a warrant was issued and the Andrew Marvell Lodge No 5642 was officially consecrated and constituted on 6th May 1937 at the Central Hall, Park Street Hull.


The consecration meeting (1937) was attended by twenty Founder members of the Lodge and seventy-four visitors. Benno Pearlman was the Primus Worshipful Master. 

One-finger Typing

The ritual chosen for the Lodge was Humber working. Each initiate, after passing to a Fellowcraft and then being raised to a Master Mason, was issued with a small, compact “Ritual book” which contained the words and workings of all three degrees. As this system ensured that incoming members did not receive the words to the set pieces until many months after initiation, W Bro Jack Pollard, who was the Lecture Master from 1967 until 1974, decided that it was necessary to have copies of each degree separately. Using one finger, he typed them all out meticulously. He gave these typewritten sheets to W Bro Geoff Walker who proceeded to make sixty copies of each degree (sufficient to last 20 years) and create separate foolscap booklets, stapled together in folders. By 1987 these copies were all exhausted so Geoff Walker produced a further 21 copies, this time on A4 sheets. The copies in use today were made up by Barry Kensett.

One of the principles the Founders proposed was that when accepting Brethren as joining members, who by the nature of their daily avocation found it necessary to move to this area (requisite in those days with central and local government officers) due consideration would be given to their length of service within their Mother Lodges in relation to obtaining the Mastership of the Andrew Marvell Lodge. Thus the Lodge has never worked the “ladder system” of promotion.

It was decided to hold eight meetings a year plus the Installation and the number of Candidates was intended to be limited to three per year to avoid double ceremonies which were not favoured by the Brethren. This did not quite work out because, although double first and third degrees were never worked it was found necessary to work many double seconds, the last of these being held in 1976.

A regular annual programme was begun but it has not always been possible to follow the directives of the Founders. The practice of a shorter Lodge meeting in December to allow time for Christmas revelry is still maintained however.

The War Years 

During the 1939-1945 war meetings continued to be held regularly plus a number of emergency meetings for the purpose of advancing Candidates who, due to their wartime duties, were unable to be present on normal Lodge nights. During the war only one meeting was missed completely. This was the one due to be held in May 1941 when during one of the heaviest raids of the war the front of the Park Street building was severely damaged. Temporary repairs were effected and the meetings were able to continue as normal for the September Lodge.

In 1947 when W. Bro Matthew McNicol was appointed and invested as Provincial Senior Grand Warden, petrol rationing was still in operation. W Bro McNicol wrote a letter of application to the local office of the Ministry of Transport for the issue of supplementary petrol coupons stating that in his capacity as Provincial Senior Grand Warden he was in a similar position to the Archbishop of York, it being their joint duty to travel round their respective provinces to carry our their responsibilities. Sad to say the application fell upon deaf ears.

During the early 1970s concern was expressed in certain quarters about the general decline in the accommodation at the Central Masonic Hall in Park Street and the need for improvements to be carried out. The owners of the premises, the Thesaurus Lodge, proposed in October 1974 the setting up of a 250 Club with the specific aim of raising funds for the refurbishment of the building. Considerable improvements to the building resulted including the complete redecoration of the temple and re-upholstery of the seating, re-wiring, emergency lighting and conformity with fire authority requirements, kitchen, bar dining room and toilet improvements.

Not quite 100

In October 1974 the Lodge had 99 members, and also an application from a prospective member. The Worshipful Master, Geoff Walker, then decided that a 1st degree should be worked at the December meeting to make up the membership to 100. However, at the end of November one of the more elderly members died. The December candidate brought the number back up to 99 which has never been surpassed.

A departure from the usual procedure took place as recorded by the Summons for the meeting on 11th December 1978. In addition to the election of a Worshipful Master and Treasurer for the ensuing year, an item was included on acaciathe agenda as follows:
“To discuss the general and financial matters pertaining to the Lodge”
This appears to be the first time that the Lodge spent practically the whole of the meeting discussing matters appertaining to Freemasonry in general and to the Lodge in particular. It was a highly beneficial meeting, many views were aired, particularly from the younger Brethren who perhaps at other times may have felt somewhat inhibited.

A particularly sad day in the history of the Andrew Marvell Lodge was the 15th June 1980 when W Bro Philip Bloom, Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, who was the last of the Founders was called to the Grand Lodge above. For many years he was the father of the Lodge and his knowledge and experience and love of the Lodge which he helped bring into being was greatly valued.


In August 1986 the building was broken into and after the mayhem was cleared it was found that all the Lodges using the premises had suffered losses of varying amounts. This Lodge had all its working tools stolen which were replaced by insurance. Other Lodges were less fortunate and lost irreplaceable collections of very old jewels of historical and sentimental value.

In the early 1990s it was apparent that due to the decline in Lodge membership and the increase in running costs of the Masonic buildings in Hull that consideration should be given to rationalisation. At that time in Hull, in addition to the Central Masonic Hall in Park Street there were buildings in Dagger Lane, Beverley Road and in Sutton. After some time the working party produced their report and it would be fair to conclude that every Lodge thought that a reduction in the number of building would be a good idea provided that in each case their own building was selected to be retained.


lodge room interiorWithin a few years however the situation solved itself but not in a particularly controlled fashion. Internal strife broke out within the Thesaurus Lodge who were the owners of the Park Street premises and which affected all of the tenant Lodges. Attempts were made to negotiate a long-term settlement for the stability of the tenants which failed. Progressively all of the tenant Lodges left the building for more secure homes, a break which still saddens the hearts of all for whom Park Street was home. The building ceased to be financially viable and was sold in the early 2000s. It is now the site of a Hindu Temple. The Andrew Marvell Lodge moved to its current home at 69 Beverley Road, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1987 and its 75th in May 2012.

Barry Kensett



In common with many other Lodges there has been a decline in membership of the Lodge in recent years which accelerated following the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions in March 2020. Nonetheless the Lodge has welcomed three new members in 2021 and further candidates for membership of the Lodge are in the pipeline.

The Lodge is looking to pursue an upward curve with development of an active website, the appointment of a Lodge Membership Officer, and maintaining close links with Province through the Provincial Liaison Officer. The Lodge is also looking to develop closer links with other Lodges in a spirit of mutual co-operation.

The Lodge’s links with the community are reflected in its annual Charity Night. In 2022 it is planned that three local charities will benefit from donations from the Lodge.

Part of the Lodge’s fabric is the holding of social events which Lodge members and non-Masons can attend. It is hoped to revive the annual Lodge Ladies Night in October 2022.

Those attending our meetings will find us to be a warm and friendly Lodge where the members care for each other and also others in the community.

Malcolm Forbes, March 2022.