The Early History of Westbourne Chapter
In October 1867 the Westbourne Lodge presented a Petition to Supreme Grand Chapter for authority to hold a Royal Arch Chapter in connection with the Lodge. The Petition was granted and the Chapter was Consecrated on 17th March, 1868. The Charter was signed by the Earl of Zetland, 1st Grand Principal; de Gray Ripon, 2nd Grand Principal; John Haven, 3rd Grand Principal; 'William Clark Gray, Grand Scribe E; Albert W. Woods, Grand Scribe N.
It is uncertain where the Consecration took place, and the names of the Consecrating Officers unknown. Following the custom of the time the Consecration was probably at the New Inn, Edgware Road, London, W. where the Westbourne Lodge was then meeting. In the same year, 1868, both the Lodge and the Chapter moved to Lords Hotel, St. John's Wood where the real work of the Chapter commenced. It might rightly be said that the 'long innings' opened at Lords.
Twenty one years later the Chapter transferred to a new venue at The Holborn Restaurant, W.C .1. and remained there until 1954-, when, on the demolition of the old building another transfer was made - to the Dominions Hotel, Lancaster Gate, W.2.
It is regrettable that the Minute Books covering the first 69 years did not survive the Second World War, and that in consequence, our knowledge of the early history of the Chapter is limited until 1937, from which time the Minuted records of the Chapter are available.
We know the Chapter met during the 1914-18 war, and met continually during the last war. The Chapter of Improvement did much good work between the wars, but came to an untimely end in 1940, when its place of meeting and all its equipment were destroyed by bombing. From this, and the wide dispersal of Companions' places of residence after the war, the Chapter of Improvement never recovered. We are indebted to the hospitality of other Chapters of Improvement in providing training for successive Principals and Officers.
Loss of records deprives us of knowledge of outstanding personalities during the first half of the century. But reference to the By-Laws, in conjunction with some research carried out for the Westbourne Lodge Centenary History records that from the first, the Chapter and Lodge were intimately connected, and some interesting details emerge.
The Founders of the Chapter include:
H.A. Stacey Z - First J.W. of the Lodge
C.A. Cottebrune H - First S.W. of the Lodge
John Caldwell First Treasurer of the Lodge
Henry Reed Master of the Lodge 1868
Robert Spelson " " " " 1869
Lewis Ascott " " “ " 1870
E. Comp. Cottebrune was an outstanding personality in the Westbourne Lodge for half a century, and was continually in office during the whole period. He came to the Lodge from Domatic Lodge No. 177, to which, from their records "he came from France" as a Joining Member in 1856. He was appointed A.G.D.C. in Supreme Grand Chapter in 1893, and P.G.St.B. in 1902. He was a Vice-President of the Board of Benevolence and Grand Sword Bearer in Grand Mark as far back as 1862. The "Freemason" in 1902 refers to him as "one of the most familiar figures in Metropolitan Masonry for a generation".