Konkola Lodge No 7549 EC
Date of Consecration
September 21st, 1957
Regular meeting day
First Saturday September
all communication through the secretary
Extract from “A History of English Freemasonry in Zambia to 1970”, compiled at the request of the District Grand Lodge of Zambia by A.M.L.Entzinger, Ndola, Zambia, MDCCCCLXXI
Konkola Lodge was initially located in Chililabomwe. The town was originally named Bancroft after Dr J.A.Bancroft, who had form many years been the consulting geologist to the Anglo American Corporation of South Africa. The mine came into production in April 1957, got flooded in April 1958, and was reopened a year later.
“Interesting is the founding of Bancroft Lodge No 7549 EC, and holding its regular meetings in an Observatory building – astronomy being one of the liberal arts and sciences. In the early 1950s I (WB D.O.Lindeque) founded the Copperbelt Astronomical Society at Kitwe and when I moved to Bancroft (to join Bancroft Mines Ltd.) my reputation as the “father of modern astronomy in Northern Rhodesia” enthused a number of Bancroft-ites to support the formation of the Bancroft Astronomical Society. Thanks to the secretary of the Society (and later the earliest initiate of Bancroft Lodge) and by active participation in building activities of members, one of the finest – if not the finest – amateur observatory buildings in the world was completed. The first objective was to have a home where members could meet, hence the lecture hall was completed first. During the building operations (of the lecture hall), the Scottish Lodge Star of the North was in the process of being founded in Bancroft and shortly after the consecration of that Lodge I had occasion to stand within the lintel high walls of the lecture hall and wondered why I had not thought of it as a venue for lodges to meet in Bancroft. Thereafter, every change effected was to meet Masonic requirements in lighting, festive board, storage etc.” (W.Bro D.O.Lindeque)
The solemn Consecration took place on 21st September, 1957, at an Emergency meeting of Jubilee Lodge in the Observatory Building at Bancroft. The ceremony was conducted by the District Grand Master, R.W.Bro. Capt. A.J. Thompson, W.Bro A.Wroth, and W.Bro. D.J.Jones, P.D.G.W. At the subsequent Installation, W.Bro. D.O.Lindeque was installed as first master of the Lodge. He invested Bro. D.E. van Leeve as S.W. and Bro. W.E.Sutton as J.W. To commemorate the occasion Bancroft Lodge presented copper gavels to the D.G.M, the D.D.G.M., the D.G.Secretary and the Master. The gavels had been made by Bro. D.E. van Leeve.
The closing of the mine following the flooding of 1958, caused several members to leave the town. The second Master, W.Bro. D.E. van Leeve, found himself at the end of his term without Wardens to take over and the Lodge re-elected W. Bro. Lindeque to the chair for a second term in Office.
In October 1959, it was decided that the Lodge be opened at 7.30 pm in future, to enable brethren who had to go night shifts, to attend the meetings. The ballot for this in December was not unanimous but went through with a 10 to 3 majority.
Previously it was noted how refugees from Katanga caused a severe strain on the various Northern Rhodesia volunteer organisations. Little Bancroft carried the brunt of the influx through the Tshinsenda and Kasumabalesa border posts and was thrown in near-panic.
“The W.M. reminded Brethren of their duty during the present crisis and asked Brethren to act with common sense at all times.” (Reg. Mtg. 13th July 1960)
W.Bro. Lindeque left the country in November, 1964. His last meeting was attended by several members of the English and Scottish Lodges in Chingola and Bancroft, who had come to say farewell to an active Mason. A year later the Lodge made him an Honorary Life Member in token of gratitude and esteem for the work he had done for the Lodge.
“When I left Northern Rhodesia I left behind ‘two babes of mine’: the Bancroft Astronomical Society and Bancroft Lodge – the former with £1,500 towards the professional type telescope envisioned for installation at the Observatory. You will understand what I mean when I say: ‘I left a large slice of my heart in Bancroft”. (W.Bro. D.O.Lindeque)
Bancroft Lodge has always been a small Lodge in a small town and it is, therefore, understandable that in the aftermath of the “wind of change” that blew through the African continent it suffered some severe setbacks due to the departure of members. Attendance at meetings (excluding installations) averaged 18 members and 8 visitors during 1957 – 1960, 14 members and 13 visitors during 1967 – 1970, and 12 members and 9 visitors during the first seven months of 1972. It is, however, a pleasure to attend the meetings of Bancroft lodge and experience the friendly hospitality of its enthusiastic members.