A Brief History of the Petts Wood Lodge No. 5435

It is generally thought that the name of Petts Wood can be attributed to the Pett family who were shipbuilders in the fifteenth century onwards. One, William Pett claims our attention because in his will he mentions lands in Chislehurst and the oaks growing thereon – material for his ships. The ownership of these lands and other lands close by changed from time to time until they were eventually donated to the National Trust over a period of years from 1927.

The residential development of Petts Wood started in the 1920s and was accelerated by the opening of a railway halt on the lines between London and Orpington in 1928. Later the halt was expanded into the existing four-track station. Before the 1920s there was no Petts Wood, as we know it today, only a few detached houses or farmsteads here and there. Even up to 1932 there was no large-scale development West of the railway line.

Among the new residents were a number of Freemasons who, as was only to be expected, gradually became acquainted with one another and it was not long before it was suggested that a Petts Wood Lodge should be formed. The sponsoring Lodge was the Catford Lodge No. 3649 to whom we are ever grateful for their interest in supporting the petition. The Consecration meeting was duly held on the 10th January 1934 at the Masonic Hall, Cromwell Avenue, Masons Hill, Bromley, Kent; the consecrating officer was the Right Worshipful The Provincial Grand Master, The Right Honourable The Lord Cornwallis, C.B.E., Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, assisted by twelve officers of the Province of Kent. There were 19 founders of the Lodge.

The distinctive crest of the Lodge illustrates the memorial stone to William Willett, whose name will always be associated with the events leading up to the Summer Time Act of 1925. This Act, passed after his death, preserved for all of us the benefit in the summer of extra daylight hours. They were originally introduced in 1916. The memorial stone in the form of a sundial stands in the woods near the St. Pauls Cray/Orpington Road, a mile North of the railway to Swanley. The sundial bears the inscription, also seen on the Lodge banner and summons, “Horas non numero nisi aestivas”, that is, “I only count the summer hours”. His name and deeds are also perpetuated in Willett Way, the Willett Recreation Ground and the Daylight Inn.