One of the unique lodges within the Ormskirk and Bootle Group, Old Crosbeian Lodge No 4992, hold their regular meetings at Merchant Taylors’ School; with the lodge’s membership being that of past students, teachers and parents of pupils at the school. Their meetings are held in the school’s music room, which is converted to a lodge room for their ceremonies. The brethren recently met for the special occasion to celebrate with Alan Strickland Beatty his 50th anniversary in Freemasonry. The lodge was honoured on this occasion by principal guest Derek Parkinson, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, to preside over the evening’s celebration. Derek was accompanied by Frank Umbers Ormskirk and Bootle Group Chairman, John Marsden and Stephen Brereton joint group vice chairmen. The lodge was also graced with the presence of a large number of grand officers and Provincial officers for the occasion.
The meeting commenced with the WM, Ian Walton, warmly welcoming everyone to the evening’s celebration, before opening the lodge. Once the lodges business had been completed, Ian proceeded to open up to the second and third degrees, where the Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Mark Barton was admitted into the room.
Mark announced Derek Parkinson was without and demanded admission and he was duly admitted into the lodge room in a possession of grand and acting officers. Ian warmly welcomed Derek to the lodge and offered him the gavel, which he graciously accepted.
Derek started his presentation by saying: “One of the benefits of holding a senior position in the Province is the opportunity to celebrate with a brother as he reaches a milestone in his Masonic career. It usually also gives me a wonderful opportunity to find out not only about the celebrant, but about how things were 50, 60, or 70 years ago and it’s always been very interesting. We experience a number of celebrations for 50 years in the craft, a smaller number for 60 years and just occasionally we are privileged to remember greater periods of membership of Freemasonry. Tonight, we are here to celebrate 50 years with Alan.”
Derek then invited Alan to sit in a chair which had been placed in front of the master’s pedestal, asking him to relax and enjoy the evening. The brethren were then treated to a splendid and detailed account of Alan’s life.
Alan was born in 1933 to Ethel and Clarence Goldsmith Beatty, a senior manager in Stockbrokers, managing people’s holdings in stocks and shares; living in Crosby. When Alan started school he first went to Stanfield Prep and during the Second World War with the school being temporarily closed down, Alan was transferred to Forefield Lane Infants and Junior School and then at 11 years of age Alan started his secondary school education at Merchant Taylors’ School, which Derek said gave Alan the ability to join this lodge when the time came.
As Alan lived in Crosby while he was growing up during the Second World War, he wasn’t evacuated like many of the children from the neighbouring Seaforth and Bootle areas, which were affected so badly by the bombing, as it was thought that Crosby was relatively safe from the bombs.
During his time at school Alan joined the scout troop that was affiliated to All Saints Church in Forefield Lane and while attending Merchant Taylors, Alan was a member of the school boxing club and the school’s Combined Cadet Force where he was in the Army section, with Derek saying: “I noticed that you had a rifle range in the school buildings for .22 practice, I wondered if you or any of the other brethren remember ‘TUG’ Wilson the armourer at that time, an ex-Regular Army Regimental Sergeant Major described by one former pupil as ‘fearsome’. He used to take you to Altcar Rifle range to fire the larger weapons, the .303 Enfield rifles and the Bren guns. The range was on land donated by William Molyneux, 4th Earl of Sefton, for the Grand Lancashire Rifle contest in 1860 and then he let the volunteer forces use it and eventually the Army took over the 620 acre site. One interesting thing I discovered is that it formed part of the early warning system during the Cold War that began after the end of the Second World War. Only four years ago three hidden radar bunkers were discovered that had been built in 1953 to give warning to 16 gun emplacements that were controlled from a base in Frodsham. The bunkers were manned by 15 staff and watched for incoming aircraft or missiles from Russia which was thought to be a serious threat at that time.”
On leaving school Alan wanted to enter the legal profession and approached one of the city’s solicitors with a view to being articled. However in those days you had to pay for the privilege of being attached to one of the solicitors, working very hard and not receiving much pay. The amount in question was £1,000 which in those days would equate to about £22,500 today. This was far beyond what Alan’s father could afford possibly due to the effects of the depressed stock market in the 1930’s had had on his income; so Alan took on a position as a trainee legal executive with Layton and Company, a well-known legal practice in Liverpool.
Alan enjoyed the work and by gaining experience he was able to secure a similar position with the practice of Elkan Rex Makin, known locally as E Rex Makin in Hackins Hey off Dale Street. When the practice expanded, particularly as a result of the many high profile cases they took on, the offices moved to the old North End Music Stores or NEMS offices in Whitechapel. During his time there Alan often attended court in his own right to represent the clients both in Liverpool and London and Alan remained working there until he retired 18 years ago.
In 1952 Alan was called up for two year’s National Service and trained as an Aircraft Mechanic, which involved being able to maintain and repair everything in the plane apart from the engine and the electrics. Alan’s postings were to Padgate, Hednesford, St Athan and Full Sutton.
In the late 1950’s Alan met Enid Marjorie Hale and they were married in August 1961. When they married they lived in Parbold and then later moved to Mawdsley and had three children, Alison, James and David.
When the children were younger their activities brought with them a series of other jobs which Alan took on to help out wherever he could. One of these was as the auditor for the Mawdsley Cricket Club, as his son was a keen and accomplished sportsman, playing for the club and he also played for Rufford Colts Football Club, where Alan became the treasurer for the football team, doing both jobs for many years.
Alan also attended Ormskirk Parish Church where he sang in the choir for 17 years and was also a tenor in the Ormskirk Operatic Society.
After Alan moved house he started attending St Michael and All Saints Church in Croston, which brought with it a request to take on the role of church treasurer. Alan has done the job for just over 25 years and associated with the church is Trinity and St Michael’s School, again located in Croston, with Alan recently being awarded a long service award for 25 years as a governor of the school.
Derek said: “You told me you had a wonderful marriage and you and Marjorie socialised a lot, particularly with Sheila and Bill, your best friend. Sadly Marjorie died almost 25 years ago, just 18 months after Bill had died and so it wasn’t surprising that you and Sheila stayed very good friends and you now live together in Ainsdale. You have travelled extensively in the last 15 to 20 years to Australia, America and South Africa; visiting your cousin who lives there.”
Derek then informed the brethren about Alan’s Masonic history. Alan was initiated into Old Crosbeian Lodge No 4992 on 22 February 1967, and was installed as worshipful master in 1977, but before that Alan spent three years as lodge secretary and his Provincial rank is as Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon.
In 1977 Alan was exalted into Sefton Chapter and progressed to be first principal. Alan holds the rank in Provincial grand chapter of Past Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.
After the detailed account of Alan’s life and Masonic career so far, Derek called upon the Ormskirk and Bootle Group Chairman, Frank Umbers, to read out the jubilee certificate, before Derek had the pleasure to present the certificate to Alan, saying: “Worshipful Brother Alan, you have contributed to serving the community by your voluntary work, particularly in the church and the school, and to Freemasonry in this city and have certainly got great pleasure and enjoyment from all that you have done, and so it is a great honour and a privilege to say to you, Alan, thank you for all that you have done both for Freemasonry and the wider community, and congratulations on achieving 50 years as a Mason and we all look forward to seeing you enjoy many more years as a member of this great order.”
After closing the lodge, the brethren made their way across the courtyard to dine in the splendour of the school’s library for a magnificent festive board.