Walnut Tree Lodge 5533 Founders

When we look at the Founders of our Lodge there is a need to look at the social situation that led them to form the Lodge.

Before the first world war the housing situation in the UK, especially in London, was chronic. Sometimes with 3 families living in a house with poor sanitary conditions.

After the war, on their return home, the men expected a great deal more. Also the women, who had played their part by working in the factories, wanted change.

Lloyd George won the first post war election with the slogan “Homes fit for Heroes” and for the first time ever local councils were given funds and permission to build. One of these authorities was the London County Council ( L.C.C) who acquired land in the Dagenham and Barking area, that at this time was used for market gardening and farming, and before long they had started to envisage the large new Becontree Estate.

The LCC employed surveyors and architects to plan the estate and they were based at various sites, some worked in a hut adjacent to a walnut tree from which the Lodge name is derived.

The estate was built in 3 phases and was used to house those living in London and those coming to work in the new Ford factory in Dagenham.

One of the Lodge members Bro. Len Brooks would recall with great enjoyment the time the estate was being built and of his exploits of restarting the steam traction engines that were being used in the estates construction and driving them along the streets.

The following were the Founder Members of the Lodge:

  • Harold Crowe our first Master was a Founder and a Chartered Secretary living in Dagenham.
  • Stephen James Norton was a Constructional Engineer was living in Clacton on Sea and held the post of IPM.
  • Isaac Mason from Chadwell Heath was an engineer, as well as being a Founder was the first Senior Warden.
  • William Harrington who was a surveyor with the LCC lived at Sandringham Rd Barking was the first Junior Warden.
  • Edward Meredith an architect living in Chadwell Heath was a Founder and also held the post of Treasurer.
  • Ernest Gage from Morden, Surrey and Estate superintendent for the LCC was the first Secretary.
  • Leonard Webster from Westcliffe on Sea was the first Director of Ceremonies and was retired.
  • Herbert Amies from Dagenham was a principal assistant with the LCC and was the first Senior Deacon.
  • Albert Stickland from Ilford was a Chartered Surveyor and the first Junior Deacon.
  • Harry Trow from Hornchurch was an assistant building inspector and was the first Assistant Director of Ceremonies.
  • Henry Stratton from Goodmayes was the first Almoner which he did for nearly 20 years.
  • George Carter from Romford was a sanitary inspector and the first organist.
  • William Gear from Dagenham was an estate superintendent and also the Assistant Secretary.
  • Sydney Emberson from Chadwell Heath was a draper and the first Inner Guard.

Even after the Founding of the Lodge, it still attracted those employed in Local Government the last three being W. Bro. Les Breadmore and W. Bro Fred Reeve both who worked for the London Borough of Tower Hamlet and W. Bro Robert Roberts who worked for the London Borough of Havering.