Originating from a meeting of the promoters of the Lodge held on 30th October 1885, the Wilberforce Constitution was signed on 12th December 1885, allowing the Constitution and Consecration Ceremony to take place in January of the following year in its original premise at No. 55 Charles Street in Kingston upon Hull.
It is perhaps significant that roots of the Wilberforce Lodge were very much within those other Lodges who similarly followed the somewhat unusual “Humber” ritual – a tradition which is maintained to this day.
Consequently, it was from membership of the nearby De La Pole, Humber, Londesborough and Minerva Lodges, that Wilberforce Lodge was formed.
Although there is no evidence to suggest that William Wilberforce was a Freemason, his origin in Hull, together with his subsequent contribution towards the abolition of slavery in the early 19th Century made him an appropriate figure with whom the Lodge should be associated. Indeed in an address from the people of Hull in 1812, Wilberforce was described, simply as the “Friend of Man” – a truly fitting objective for anyone – but especially for those committed to the ideals and principles of Freemasonry. Temperance!
One tradition which has not withstood the test of time, however, is that of temperance. In 1886 early members vowed “that in the future no intoxicating liquors be used at refreshment in the Lodge” – a principle which was adhered to until it was overturned by ballot in 1896 when it was also agreed that all members sitting down for refreshment would pay the princely sum of 6d.
As visitors and friends today will testify, the present day Wilberforce Lodge has a reputation for a warm and friendly welcome, particularly during the relaxed style of the Festive Board.