Post War growth and Faraday Lodge
The period between 1919 and 1923 marked a second burst of growth in membership, during which the Lodge gained an extraordinary 36 Initiates and 13 joining members. W. Bro. Percival Kipping warned against such growth and suggested that the Lodge’s full membership should be capped at 75 with no more than two Initiates in any year, but his proposition was never put to a vote. Many Emergency Meetings were needed to cope with this large intake. This group of members, if they stayed the course, had to wait around 14 years before even becoming a Steward. Those that stayed and progressed became the mainstay of the Lodge during the Second World War. Notable amongst this intake was W. Bro Frederick Dumjohn PAGDC who was Master in 1945 and Secretary from 1949 to 1962. He was responsible for compiling the first history of the Lodge for the 50th anniversary in 1958.
With such growth in numbers and the consequential delays in progression, it is not surprising that some sought another route. In 1925 the Lodge sponsored a petition for the formation of the Faraday Lodge No. 4798 which was consecrated on 19th June 1926. Amongst the 21 Founders were 6 Brethren of the Lodge, including W. Bro. Ernest A. Laidlaw, who became its first Master. The prime movers to set up our ‘Daughter Lodge’ came from employees of Siemens Brothers, one of the major telephone equipment manufacturers, which was headquartered at Woolwich, close to where the Thames Barrier is now situated. Given the post-war anti-German sentiment, it was decided not to call the lodge Siemens Lodge, but Faraday Lodge seemed appropriate. Nevertheless, there was some debate with Grand Lodge about whether a Lodge should be named after a person who was not a Mason. However, the Founders replied that the Lodge was not directly named after Michael Faraday, the famous scientist, but after the C.S. Faraday, the cableship owned by Siemens Brothers. To this day, Faraday Lodge’s badge depicts this cableship.
W. Bro. Ernest Laidlaw was born in 1873 and in 1889 was apprenticed to the Western Counties and South Wales Telephone Company, which was absorbed into the NTC in 1892. He installed the first Central Battery exchange for the NTC, a major step forward compared to the former magneto system that had been used since 1880. He was initiated into Telephone Lodge in October 1908. In 1910, he joined Siemens Brothers as Chief Engineer. He was Master of Telephone Lodge in 1923/4. Under his leadership at Siemens Brothers, the firm produced the 3000 type relay which became the GPO standard and the iconic Bakelite Neophone telephone in 1929.