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The Cambridgeshire Freemasons’ Alma Mater Lodge celebrates 150th anniversary

The Cambridgeshire Freemasons’ Alma Mater Lodge celebrated its 150th anniversary with a dinner at Freemasons’ Hall, Bateman Street, Cambridge, on Saturday (18 May).

Peter Sutton, the Alma Mater Lodge treasurer, said that 75 people attended, including Dr Bharatkumar N Khetani, the High Sheriff of Cambridge.

The Alma Mater Lodge celebrates its 150th anniversary. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Alma Mater Lodge celebrates its 150th anniversary. Picture: Keith Heppell

He also explained that Alma Mater Lodge owes its existence and survival primarily to one man: John Brownrigg, who was admitted as an undergraduate into Trinity College in 1859 at the age of 18.

Two years later, he moved to Magdalene College as a scholar where he read theology. He took a BA in 1864 and was ordained in the same year.

The year he spent as master of Isaac Newton University Lodge – INUL – in 1863 left its mark. He appreciated that only one undergraduate could occupy the chair of INUL each year and that there were many worthy undergraduates who did not possess either the time or opportunity to perform the work involved in multiple ceremonies.

He envisaged forming a lodge at a place readily accessible to Cambridge but which would not compete with other university lodges at either Oxford or Cambridge. He put his ideas into execution in 1874 – 150 years ago.

The lodge would be based at Bletchley in the Province of Berks and Bucks with the meeting place specified in the petition as the Railway Hotel, Bletchley.

In 1883, John Brownrigg was appointed to an office in London which made it impossible for him to continue his role at Bletchley.

The May 1883 meeting was therefore cancelled and at the November 1883 meeting it was decided to transfer meetings to the University Arms Hotel, Cambridge.

Peter said: “Alma Mater Lodge continues to be a very successful lodge based at Bateman Street, Cambridge, with currently 75 members.”

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