We have seen that, by the start of the 20th century, Edward Holden was Managing Director of the London City and Midland Bank, an amalgamation of two great banks, where the traditions of both companies were valued and displayed in the title.
It was at a Sports meeting of the Bank in 1902, when the Manager of the Holborn Branch, W. Bro W. H. Hillman, suggested to Bro. Holden that the founding of a Masonic Lodge, specifically for staff members of Managerial rank, would enhance friendly staff relations to the benefit of themselves and the bank. Bro. Holden was in full agreement and delighted at the suggestion that the new Lodge would bear his name. Indeed, his signature appears on the Petition to Grand Lodge and he was a founder at the Consecration on 12th January, 1903. As its motto, the Lodge adopted that of the Bank, “Vis Unita Fortior” and its device comprised the arms of the cities of Birmingham and London, detailing the traditions of the Bank.
There are a number of traditions that have evolved over the years to the mutual advantage of the “Holden and Sister Lodges.” In particular, the Masters of the respective Lodges are invited to attend the Installation ceremonies of their “Sisters” and to play their part in those ceremonies by taking the chairs of Installing Senior and Junior Wardens and Installing Inner Guard and responding to the toast to “The Holden and Sister Lodges” at the Festive Board. Now that all the remaining Lodges have “opened” their membership and no longer restricted that to Bankers, these traditions have been maintained and it is encouraging to find that those now joining the Lodges eagerly grasp the concept and its travelling, which may well be unique in Freemasonry.
Holden and Sister Lodges included:
- Vis Unita Lodges 5041 – Manchester
- St. Mildred Lodge 5078 – Cardiff
- Cambrensis Lodge 5523 – Rhyl
- Broad Acres Lodge 7012 – Leeds
- Fortior Lodge 6172 – Birmingham