Percy Lodge Help With Hong Kong Masonic Detective Work

27th August 2023

The members of Percy Lodge No.1427, which meets at Fern Avenue Masonic Hall, recently received contact from W.Bro Dr Albert Leung, the Almoner of The Perseverance Lodge of Hong Kong No. 1165, located in Hong Kong, introducing them to the Masonic Memorial Project which the Lodge was undertaking, in Hong Kong, concerning the restoration and maintenance of Masonic Graves located in the Colonial Cemetery in Happy Valley, from the earliest days of the Colony through to the current century.

Through time-consuming research and analysis, a small working group identified the final resting places of many of the Brethren, some of whom were Initiated in the UK and subsequently joined lodges or were buried there. In so doing, they identified a certain Brother Nichol Harvey, who was initiated in Percy Lodge No. 1427.  Brother Harvey died on 8th December 1881, aged 33 years, however, they had no further record of him.

Reaching across the continents to W.Bro Ken Atkinson, the Secretary of Percy Lodge, they were able to fill in many of the gaps.

Nichol Harvey was born in 1848 in Newcastle, to Nichol Ferguson Harvey who lived between 1822 and 1853, a Master Mariner, and Jane Walker who lived between 1822 and 1869. The 1851 Census showed Nichol, then aged 2 was living with his family at 3 Howard Street, however in the 1861 Census, aged 12, he was now a Scholar at the Royal Hospital School, Greenwich, which was founded in 1717 to provide boys from seafaring backgrounds with the rare privilege of learning arithmetic and navigation.

By the 1871 Census, aged 23 he was listed as a Mariner and living with his maternal Grandfather, John Walker who was born in 1797 as his parents, by then, had died.

As Percy Lodge was consecrated on 5th June 1873, and is interestingly celebrating its sesquicentennial anniversary this year, Nichol must have undertaken all his degrees between then and 1881 probably all in one leave.

In addition he is mentioned on the family gravestone in Jesmond Old Cemetery, and listed as dying 8th December 1881 in Hong Kong on board the SS Cleveland.

Coming under the overall control of the District Grand Lodge of Hong Kong and the Far East, the project has identified somewhere in the region of 142 graves with Masonic connections, of which 71 have been linked to a specific Lodge. The project proposes a cleaning and maintenance program of the graves in tandem with an annual visit to the Cemetery, perhaps during Ching Ming Festival, to lay flowers and pay their respects to the Brethren.

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