REGIMENTAL & LODGE HISTORY

The St. Giles and St. George's Bloomsbury Volunteers were established at the beginning of the 19th. Century and are recorded as on parade (600) strong at a review in Hyde Park in 1803. This Regiment (The Devil's Own), however, is considered by some to be the ancestor of the "Inns of Court O.T.C.", rather than the Bloomsbury Rifles with which this Lodge is associated. They were disbanded in 1814.

 

"The Bloomsbury Rifles" were formed in 1859 as the 37th Middlesex (St Giles and St George's Bloomsbury) Rifle Volunteer Corps. In 1880 they became 19th Middlesex (St Giles and St George's Bloomsbury) Rifle Volunteer Corps and in 1881 they were designated a Volunteer battalion of The Rifle Brigade. In 1892 they Became 19th Middlesex (St Giles and St George's) Volunteer Rifle Corps. 1900-02 - Detachment served in South African War with City Imperial Volunteers.  . In 1908 on the formation of Lord Haldane's Territorial Forces they were amalgamated with the Victoria and St. George's Rifles (who, tradition has it, were descendants of the Duke of Cumberland's Sharpshooters 1792) as the Queen Victoria's Rifles, (9th. County of London) Btn. The London Regiment. This Regiment became a territorial battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps ending up in 1967 as the 4th (Volunteer) and 5th (Territorial) battalion of The Royal Green Jackets.

 

On the 1st May 1961 the Queen Victoria's Rifles were amalgamated with the Queen's Westminsters, to form a new Regiment, the Queen's Royal Rifles and on the 1st. April 1967 together with the London Rifle Brigade/Rangers and the 4th Btn. The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry there was a further amalgamation when they were formed into the 4th. (Vol). Btn. The Royal Green Jackets, the name they bear today.

 

In the year 1860 our Mother Lodge, "The Victoria Rifles Lodge No.822" was consecrated. In February 1890 Lt. Col. Smith-Richards, the Commanding Officer of the 19th. Middlesex Rifles Volunteers (The Bloomsbury Rifles), decided to form a Masonic Lodge meeting at Chenies Street and a petition was sponsored by the Victoria Btn., incorporated in the Queen Victoria's Rifles.

 

Brother Past Master Claud Scott, having informed the Brethren of the Victoria Rifles Lodge, that the Bloomsbury Rifles Corps (of which he was the Quartermaster) was desirous of founding a Masonic Lodge, produced the Petition to Grand Lodge and asked for signatures in accordance with the Book of Constitutions. Proposed by Bro. Past Master Claud Scott and seconded by Bro. Past Master Hawkins and resolved unanimously that the W.M., S.W. and J.W. do sign in open Lodge the recommendation to the Petition for a new Lodge made by the Petitioning Members of the Bloomsbury Rifles. Originally the Lodge required its Members to be taken from the ranks of the Regiment, but today this requirement no longer stands and Members come from all walks of life. However, many of the traditions remain including a toast to "The Regiment" during the festive boards.  Our first visitor and joining Member during the consecration was MW Bro. J Vrooman Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the State of New York, more details can be found here.

 

The only further record of this, which occurs in the Minutes, is in November 1890 when Bro. Past Master Claud Scott on behalf of himself and the Brethren of the Bloomsbury Rifles Lodge of Freemasons, tendered thanks to the W.M. and Brethren of the Victoria Rifles Lodge for the loan of furniture in July last for the Consecration. Bro. Past Master Claud Scott was the first Master of the Bloomsbury Rifles Lodge. Despite, however, the absence of Minutes on the subject, The Victoria Rifles Lodge and the Bloomsbury Rifles Lodge have always remained in close harmony to the present day.

 

As part of The Masonic Great War Project, Lt. M Brawn, DCM, died in 01/09/1918 the Legend states: WAR DIARY 23 May 1918 Lt and Quartermaster M.Brown (sic) joined 16 O R's joined 3 O R's wounded. 1 Sep 1918 - Hindenburg Support Line near Henin-sur-Cojeul Battn marched from BOIRY to N.34 central near HENIN in the Hindenburg Support Line. Hostile aircraft raid, Lieut M.Brawn killed 3 Other Ranks killed 11 Other Ranks wounded and 26 horses & mules killed. Lieutenant & Quarter Master. Buried :ST. MARTIN CALVAIRE BRITISH CEMETERY, ST. MARTIN-SUR-COJEUL. Grave Location:II. B. 21.

 

The Bloomsbury Rifles Lodge of Instruction was founded in November 1906, W.Bro. F.H. Giles being the first Secretary and W.Bro. G. D. Mogford the Preceptor. The first meeting place was the Coliseum Hotel, Great Portland Street, W.l until 1909 followed by three years at the Albany Tavern and subsequently the "York and Albany Hotel", Gloucester Gate, Regents Park. Owing to the War conditions, regular routine was interrupted between 1939-1945, but several summer sessions were held at the "Olde Cheshire Cheese". A return was made to the "York & Albany Hotel" in 1945 and a move from there to "The Camden Stores" in 1948. A subsequent move was made to the Museum Tavern.

In 1953 with the assistance and co-operation of the Q.V.R. Sergeants' Mess under the Presidency of Terry Moore and John Olliff, the L.O.I, came to its rightful home at the Regimental Headquarters of the Queen Victoria's Rifles, Davies Street. London W1 where it has remained to the present day. Meetings are held weekly generally in the Sergeants' Mess, except for a short break at Christmas and in the Summer.

 

In 1926 the Lodge sponsored the Petition for the formation of the "Bond of Friendship Lodge" No.4853 and several members of the Bloomsbury Rifles Lodge occupied the Master's Chair in the next few years. The Lodge similarly sponsored the Petition for the formation of the "Seven Stars Lodge" No.5892 in 1943. Both of these Lodges are still very active.

 

Several members of the Lodge have been honoured with Grand Rank, W.Bro. H. Curly, PAGSB. in 1930 and W.Bro. Capt. H. W. Arnold Asst.GSB. in 1943, W.Bro T Moore PGStB in 1992, W.Bro. J Hansford GStB in 1999 and W.Bro R Collet PAGDC in 2010 and W.Bro P Wood MetAGDC in 2016. Five other members were also honoured through their other lodges.

 

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