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History of Royal Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1555 EC


(Compiled by W. Bro. Dr. Santokh Singh)


At a meeting held at the Penang Chamber of Commerce Building on 10th April 1875, it was resolved to form a Lodge of Freemasons in George Town. On 17th April 1875, a petition requesting for a Charter for a Lodge in Penang, from the Most Worshipful Grand Master, H.R.H. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and later King Edward VII, was sent through the Immediate Past Deputy District Grand Master, W. Bro. F. H. Gottlieb to Rt. W. Bro. W. H. Read, who was then in London. The Lodge was to be called ‘LODGE PENANG’. The Petition was signed by the following 14 Brethren:



Robert Carr-Woods (First W. Master)

London Lodge 108 & 508


Adington Ainslie (First Senior Warden)  

Sussex 354, Jamaica W.C.


Thomas Augustus Fox (First Junior Warden)

Zetland in the East 508


Robert Sailey

Zetland in the East 508


I. King

Lt. Kentigen 429


W. Marshall

Zetland in the East 508


H. Lloyd

Fidelity 1042


John E. Gray

Hibernian 95 (Irish)


Elias Soloman Cohen

Lodge Philanthropy 794


James Wilkinson

Zetland 525


P. L. Harrison

Zetland in the East


W. H. Hill

W. I. Cork (Irish)


M. Grumberg

No. 10 Caratta Manilla


W. Inmes

St. George in the East No.1152

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On the 17th May, 1875, Bro. Robert Carr-Woods wrote to the Grand Secretary requesting that the name be changed to “THE ROYAL PRINCE OF WALES LODGE” IN HONOUR OF THE THEN Prince of Wales who was the M. W. Grand Master. The Warrant was dated 5th July 1875.


The first meeting was held on 1st September, 1875, under a dispensation dated 18th August, 1875 from W. Bro. H. H. Gottlieb acting District Grand Master. This meeting received proposals for five candidates. The next meeting was on Wednesday, 6th October, 1875, at which meeting “a handsome Cushion was received from Br. T. A. Fox made from the remains of Aprons worn by Right W. Bro. W. T. Lewis formally the Resident Councillor in Penang and the District Grand Master of Sumatra. The gift was duly appreciated by the Brethren”.


The Consecration of the Lodge was performed on Saturday, 4th December 1875. The District Grand Lodge was opened by the Rt. W. District Grand Master, Rt. Wor. Bro. H. W. Read while the following officers assisted:


The Deputy District Grand Master

Rt. W. Bro. F. H. Gottlieb

Bro. Hill 

as the Senior Grand Warden

Bro. Henrich    

as the Junior Grand Warden

Bro. Dunlop  

as the Senior Grand Deacon

Bro. Christiansen

as the Junior Grand Deacon

Bro. Rent   

as the Grand Sword Bearer


After the consecration, the first set of officers was installed with W. Bro. Rev. Arthur Fearon as Worshipful Master.


At the Installation Meeting Held on Saturday 6th December, 1941, W. Bro. W. R. Wells was installed as the Master. A few days later on the 14th the Japanese Forces occupied Penang and the building was looted of its many Masonic valuables and irreplaceable documents were lost. It was subsequently used as a store for furniture and later as barracks for the Japanese Forces. The dedication and determination of the Brethren was illustrated by them holding their Masonic meetings in Changi Jail Singapore on 4th November, 1942 – 5th December, 1942 and 6th January 1942. These meeting were probably held under great secrecy despite the watchful eyes of the Japanese Guards.

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In 1946, the Directors of the Temple Company, under the Guidance of W. Bro. E. V. C. Thompson and the assistance of many Brethren, repaired the damage to the building and rendered it fit for Masonic meetings. The first post war meeting was held on the 8th January 1947 with ten members and four visitors. The first post war installation was in December 1947 when W. Bro. R. Billet was installed in the Chair of King Solomon by the Rt. W. Bro. Baldwyn Lowick, who was then the District Grand Master. At this meeting a “Warrant of Confirmation” was presented to the Worshipful Master as the original Warrant or Charter having been lost in the war time. The membership in 1947 was 42 compared to 67 in 1941. By 1966, the membership had increased to 118.


In 1975 the Lodge received the “Centenary Warrant” dated 4th December 1975. This event was celebrated with the usual fan-fare and the publication of a very useful book by W. Bro. P. G. S. Nair. The Worshipful Master at the Centenary celebrations was W. Bro. Dr. Goh Kay Wah, who has retired from the craft.


The 1980’s saw a slight decline in membership perhaps due to the unfavourable opinions regarding the institution in the lay press and some comments by Government officials especially departments like the police in the UK. Even in Malaysia there were unfavourable comments. But as our institutions stands on firm foundations, it was unnecessary to defend our principals. The truth revealed itself in due time.


The Lodge had its ups and downs. This occurs in all organisations with long histories. However the last five years saw a change. There is tremendous interest in the Craft amongst the professionals. The membership is growing steadily and the newer members are truly keen and this augurs well for the Craft.


The present membership is about 75. After a long patient wait, we had to resort to hold “Emergency Meetings” to initiate the candidates in order not to dampen their enthusiasm.

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The present financial status is good. However as we have inherited a very old, beautiful, magnificent building, the cost of maintenance is high. The present group of brethren are all keen to oversee that our heritage is well preserved. The Temple Committee spends about RM60,000 per year on maintenance.


The lodge has honoured the following as Honorary Members for the past services to the Lodge and the Craft in general:

Rt. W. Bro. J. W. Y. Eu.
Rt. W. Bro. Robin Ian Rawlings
W. Bro. Teoh Thim Lam
W. Bro. Narayanasamy Thanga Vello


There are 14 subscribing Past Masters of the Lodge. In the past few years, a number of British Brethren, who are residing in Penang under the “Malaysia my Second Home” scheme have joined the Lodge. They are very supportive and active members. They share their experience and add colour and flavour to the Lodge.


The Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1555 is the successor to the first Neptune Lodge No. 344 which was warranted on 9th September 1809, and the initial meeting of The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge were held at exactly the same place where Lodge Neptune held its meetings.


It will be an interesting event to commemorate the arrival of Freemasonry into the Eastern Archipelago on September 9th 2009, two hundred years ago.      


With thanks to W. Bro. Dr. Santokh Singh for information on the history of the Lodge.

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Page last edited: 08 August 2009