David Henry Barlow was born at Greenfield Road, Malvern, Worcestershire on the 15th December 1940. Interestingly, this house is now an Old Peoples home so it really could have been a home “from cradle to grave”. David went to school at Malvern College and then studied at Wireless College Colwyn Bay.
David’s Masonic career began in Worcester on the 27th November 1963, three weeks before his 23rd birthday when he was initiated into Freemasonry by his Father at Godson Lodge No 2385. He remained an Entered Apprentice for nearly 3 years and was eventually Passed to the Second Degree on the 26th October 1966 and was Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason on the 21st December 1966.
He rose to the rank of Senior Warden within Godson Lodge but did not proceed to the chair however, he remained a member of this Lodge until 1st March 1976.
The major events happening in the world and in the UK in 1963 were;
22/11 President JF Kennedy was assassinated
8/8 Great train robbery
23/11 Dr Who first shown on TV
18/11 Dartford tunnel opened
June Profumo affair came to light
March Beatles release their first album
October First James Bond film Dr No released
Worst winter since 1947
Man Utd won FA Cup
Spurs won European cup winners cup
When David first joined freemasonry, the prices of everyday items were a bit different to those of today
A gallon of petrol cost 4 shillings,
A pint of beer was 2 shillings
20 cigarettes would set you back 4 shillings.
New Ford Cortina £675
Black and White portable TV £70
Average house price £3160
In 1966 and being a freemason for just 3 years, he was on leave from his job as a Radio Officer in the Merchant Navy when he attended the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting at Birmingham University with his Father who was due to receive Provincial Honours.
He sat at the back and observed the Provincial Grand Master fiddling with a microphone having no idea how to use it or switch it on. His Father informed the PGM that David was present and offered him up to assist. David recalls placing the microphone on the PGM’s lapel and putting the on/off switch in his pocket under his apron. He then went to the back of the hall and adjusted the volume and directed him to speak normally and not shout.
David sat at the back of the hall throughout the meeting, following the order of proceedings and turning the microphone on/off as required to make the communications and meeting run smoothly also making use of a pre-arranged signal when if the PGM wanted to talk he would rub his left ear and the microphone went on.
After this event he received a very kind letter from the PGM thanking him, but not only that he was summoned to attend the meeting the following year and was also invited to the meal before the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting as the guest of the PGM. David and his wife Diane met at the General Election hustings in 1966 at which Harold Wilson secured a landslide victory for the Labour Party. This was the last general election when the voting age was 21.
They were married on the 11th July 1968 and celebrated their Golden Wedding in 2018.
David became a joining member of the Old Malvernian Lodge No 4363 on the 4th January 1972 and became their Worshipful Master in 1978. He was awarded London Grand Rank on the 29th October 1991 and the Lodge elected him as an Honorary Member on the 26 January 2012 for his many services to the Lodge.
By 1983 David had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but found that his ability to ride a bicycle was easier and better than walking. He therefore decided to embark on a 50 mile bike ride in aid of Masonic Charities. Dr John or Very Worshipful Bro John White was at that time the DPGM of Worcestershire and he acted as medical supervisor throughout the ride which was greatly appreciated by David. The bike ride was successfully undertaken through the Worcestershire countryside stopping to visit various Lodges along the way and on completion a good sum of money had been raised.
On the 8th April 1991 David became a Joining Member of Ben Marsh Lodge No.7938 in Worcester and he remained a member of that lodge until 18th December 1995. In 1992 David relocated to Cornwall having had to take early retirement on health grounds.
On the 27th April 1994 he became a Joining Member of Three Spires Lodge No 9245. He was proposed by his friend, W. Bro John Freeman who was Worshipful Master at that time. Having joined the Lodge it was not more than two months later that he was asked to take over the position of Treasurer as the incumbent Treasurer had passed to the Grand Lodge above. He was duly elected and for the next 25 years David was never out of some office or another within the Lodge.
As well as Treasurer, he has also served as Secretary and as both Junior and Senior Warden. Indeed, he has either been appointed to or stood in for every office in the Lodge except for the Organist. He has also written several Masonic lectures which have been presented to Three Spires Lodge at various times over the past years.
In May 2001 the Deputy Grand Master Right Worshipful Brother Ian Ross Bryce attended the 250th Anniversary celebrations of Love and Honour Lodge. His Director of Ceremonies was Very Worshipful Brother Bruce Clitherow, a friend and brother in his London Lodge and they arranged to meet at lunchtime at the Green Lawns Hotel in Falmouth.
They were having a drink when the Deputy Grand Master invited Bruce and David to join him for lunch. He was fascinated by Three Spires being the only Lodge meeting in Truro and also being a daytime Lodge. This is a very fond memory for David as it is not every day you have the chance to have lunch with the Deputy Grand Master.
In September 2002 David was actively involved as a founding member of the Cornwall London Grand Rank Group and was their chairman in 2009 the year after Peter George became Provincial Grand Master and became President of the Group. The President is always presented with a London Grand Rank tie but one was not available. David remembers removing his and giving it to Peter – he is still waiting for it to be returned!
David’s Masonic Career within the Craft has progressed over the years, and he was first awarded Provincial Honours in Cornwall, when he was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works on the 2nd April 2005 by RW Bro James Kitson. He was further promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden on the 7th April 2018 by RW Bro Stephen Pearn.
His Masonic career has not been confined to just the Craft as he was finally Exalted into the Royal Arch, when he became a member of the True and Faithful Chapter No.318 on the 5th October 1998. He remained a member until resigning on the 5th October 2009. As a new Freemason in the early 1960’s, David recalls how he would see all the “Grand Officers” with huge cases, disappear into a separate robing room and that he would only dine with the “Junior Members”.
David was only 23-year-old when he joined and money was hard to come by, so he resisted the constant entreaty to complete his journey in Ancient Freemasonry and join the Royal Arch which was an expensive thing to commit to at that time. Regular attendance was pressed hard for both Craft Meetings and for the Lodge of Instruction, which seemed to be imperative, even when gaining a Junior Office, this he found was also very time-consuming, but his complaints of little spare time fell on deaf ears.
David has always enjoyed his Craft Freemasonry and has always given his all. He cannot attend meetings as often as he would like these days, but he often very fondly thinks back to those earlier days of friendship and brotherhood. He has always hoped he was never observed to be one of the team with big cases in a separate robing room, he never wants us to forget we are all brothers together.
During David’s long and distinguished career in Freemasonry he has shown a great deal of commitment and dedication to maintain the traditions and principles of the Craft. From his record it is clear that David has served Masonry and Cornish Masonry in particular, with great distinction and loyalty to duty throughout his 60 years of membership.
He is a great ambassador to the cause and is always willing to help out and fill in any office as required and to share his expertise. A brother who is willing to help and guide, to instruct and educate and who has enjoyed the fraternity and camaraderie of our wonderful order for the last 60 years.