History (continued, page 3 of 3)
In its first years, the Lodge met at the Manor Hotel, Datchet; moving to Skindle's Hotel on the Taplow bank by the Maidenhead Bridge in 1907 and remaining there until 1913 when it transferred to the Angler's Rest at Wraysbury. In 1923 it moved again to the Dumb Bell Hotel at Taplow, where a temple existed in a building in the gardens which had a corrugated iron roof. Old members of the Lodge spoke feelingly of high temperatures there during summer heatwaves and of the Worshipful Master having trouble in making himself heard when rain was drumming on the roof.
In 1946 closure of this temple caused the Lodge to move to Slough, where a temple belonging to Herschel Lodge existed opposite St. Mary's Church, until 1960 when town planning alterations necessitated its demolition. A new home was found at the Misbourne Restaurant, Gerrards Cross until the premises changed hands and all Masonic bodies using it were given notice to quit.
A period of nomadic activity at whatever places our hard working Secretary (John Harris) could find followed until the Lodge found a permanent home after four years in the wilderness, at Beaconsfield in 1986.
Addendum to Lodge History
A new home was found at the Misbourne Restaurant, at Ethorpe Close, Gerrards Cross where the Lodge stayed until February 1982 until the premises changed hands, and all the Lodges using it were given IMMEDIATE notice to quit. As a result, the premises (which had become known for their art-deco interior and 1930s-style sprung dancefloor) were converted to become a Night Club.
The short notice given posed Neleus a real problem in the short term with finding venues for its Lodge meetings, but over the period of the next three years the members met at a number of different places, including the Licensed Victuallers National Homes at Denham, as well as the more traditional venues at the Marlow and Slough Masonic temples.
It wasn’t only the question of “where to meet” that caused a problem - it was also the provision of the Lodge “furniture and effects” which had been provided on a “shared” basis with other Lodges meeting at Gerrards Cross. On one particular occasion the Lodge found itself without Officers wands, and the problem was overcome by using snooker cues kindly provided by the Licensed Victuallers. At the dinner following the meeting, one of the visitors remarked that the Officers of the Lodge “lacked balls”, which produced knowledgeable gales of laughter in the circumstances.
This was a time when membership was at its lowest ebb, but there was a real desire to build on the Lodge’s firm foundations and, whilst in travelling “mode”, great strides were made over a relatively short period in attracting new membership. Members of our Daughter Lodge, Erdemont, were hugely supportive of our sojourn in the wilderness and often swelled the ranks with many visitors and this created lifetime friendships and a great bond between the two Lodges, which has remained to this day.
Behind the scenes, a committee charged with finding new premises for all the Gerrards Cross Lodges, finally found new premises at the Old School House at Beaconsfield, to where Neleus moved on a permanent basis in 1986 and where it has remained ever since. Of the original 27 Lodges that were displaced at Gerrards Cross, only 7 moved to the new venue. Neleus was proud to be one of those seven Founding Lodges of the Beaconsfield Centre.