Augustus Darch is one of the most important and influential figures in the history of Royal Jubilee Lodge. In addition to serving as Secretary of the Lodge for over 31 years, he wrote also the history of the Lodge from 1810 until 1910.
Augustus was born in Sampford Peverell, Devon in 1840, the son of John Darch, a boot and shoemaker, and his wife Elizabeth. His early life was spent in Devon where he began work, in what was to become his lifetime employment in the pharmaceutical profession, as a Chemist’s Shopman in Tiverton.
By 1871 he had moved to Woolwich, Kent, where he married Rebecca Matilda Hawkins by whom he was to have 5 children. One of his children, Henry Augustus Darch, was to become an equally important member of Royal Jubilee Lodge.
In 1881 Augustus was living at 2 Palace Road, Lambeth and employed as a Chemist and Druggist. He was to remain in Lambeth for the rest of his life although he moved on a number of occasions. At the time of his death he was living at 112 Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth. It seems he was still employed, despite being 75 years old, as a Dispensing Chemist.
Augustus was a very committed Freemason. He was initiated into the Lodge in 1873 and installed as its Master in 1881. He succeeded Joseph Nunn as Secretary in 1884, an office he held until his death in 1915. Apart from being our longest serving Secretary, he was Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction for many years. He was succeeded as Secretary by his son, Henry. Between the two of them, they served as Secretary for a continuous period of 57 years.
Known for his masonic perfection and patience, his motto was “business before refreshments”, Augustus was advanced to London Rank in 1910 and was a member of the Lodge for 43 years.
There are numerous accounts of his masonic activities in various masonic publications of the day from which is is clear that his masonic interests extended beyond Royal Jubilee Lodge. He was a Past Master of Honor Oak Lodge No. 1986 which meets in Wigmore, East Kent and the Founding Senior Deacon and Past Master of Royal Albert Hall Lodge No. 2986 (1906-7) which meets in Mark Masons’ Hall, St. James Street, London, SW1. Not content with being Preceptor of Royal Jubilee Lodge, he was for many years Preceptor of The Terriers Lodge of Instruction, also known as the Royal Victorian Jubilee Lodge of Instruction No. 2184, which met at various establishments in central London although the lodge itself met and continues to meet in east London.
Augustus was also an Honorary Member of Confidence Lodge No. 193. Confidence Lodge was consecrated in 1790 and meets at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London, W.C.2. Quite what his connection with Confidence Lodge to warrant him being made an Honorary Member is not known.
Augustus was also a Past Zerubabbel of Royal Jubilee Chapter which was founded in 1867.
Augustus died on 6th July 1915