George Frederick Rogers was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania temple in London on 18 June 1895; he chose the Latin motto ‘Omnium frater’. That evening was a busy one at the GD: Mary Palethorpe Reynolds, Harold John Levett and George Cope Cope were initiated in the same ritual. Though George knew many members of the GD already, I’m not sure that he had met any of the other new initiates. The GD records that have survived suggest that George never followed up his initiation; though he didn’t ever go so far as to resign from the Order either.
This is one of my short biographies. They mostly cover GD members who lived in Bradford, Liverpool and Edinburgh. I’ve done what I can with those people, using the web and sources in London. I’m sure there’s far more information on them out there, but it will be in record offices, the local papers...I’d need to be on the spot to look at them, and I’ve had to admit that life’s too short!
My basic sources for any GD member are in a section at the end of the file. Supplementary sources for this particular member are listed at the end of each section.
This is what I have found on GEORGE FREDERICK ROGERS; known at least at university as ‘Long’ Rogers - he was 2.03 metres tall (6' 8")!
IN THE GD
When he was initiated into the GD, George Rogers had been a member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia for two years, and the Theosophical Society for at least five years. Both of those organisations were good recruiting grounds for the GD though I think the SRIA is the more likely route in George’s case.
In the GD’s earliest days many members of SRIA had received a GD initiation, probably in order to advise the GD’s founders on the rosicrucian details of the rituals they were going to set up. Most of them had not wanted to be a member of an order that was intending to do practical magic, and let their membership lapse. By the time of George’s initiation, the GD’s earliest days were six if not seven years into the past and the original flow of initiates from SRIA was more of a trickle. However, George might still have been offered initiation by on the grounds that he had information and advice to offer. The most likely person at SRIA to have wanted George in the GD was William Wynn Westcott - one of the two main founders of the GD, and from 1892 the SRIA’s most senior member, its Supreme Magus.
One other person who could have recommended George for initiation was Charles Lloyd Tuckey, who had been initiated in July 1894. Charles was a member of SRIA, probably because George had recommended him. The two men were both doctors and had been members of the Society for Psychical Research for several years. They shared an interest in mesmerism and hypnotism.
ANY OTHER ESOTERIC INTERESTS?
George was very interested in some aspects at least of the western esoteric tradition, and while he was not an active member of the GD, he kept up active membership of several other esoteric groupings.
George became a freemason at a very young age. He joined the Isaac Newton University Lodge number 859, which was based in the university and had a reputation for bringing on young freemasonry talent. I think George had already set his foot on the ladder of the lodge’s hierarchy of officers by the time he took his BA exams in 1887. He continued up that ladder while studying for his MB and BS. It was an expensive business: lodge officers were expected to wear a modfied version of Court evening dress while carrying out their duties. It was also an exacting business: the lodge was known for the high standard of its ritual work. And once they were sufficiently senior, officers of the lodge were given a rank in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cambridgeshire, with its attendant duties. In addition, there were exchange visits between Oxbridge-based lodges that senior officers of the lodges were expected to attend. George reached senior warden level at the installation meeting of November 1890 and went to the annual festival meeting of the equivalent lodge at Oxford University, Apollo University Lodge number 357.
On 27 November 1891 George reached the top of Isaac Newton University Lodge’s hierarchy, the first student from Gonville and Caius College to serve as its Worshipful Master. As WM of one Cambridgeshire lodge he was invited to important meetings in other ones. He led a delegation of Isaac Newton University Lodge 859 members to the installation of Lt-Col Robert Townley Caldwell as the new Provincial Grand Master of Cambridge; and attended that year’s installation meeting of Etheldreda Lodge 2107 in Newmarket, in February 1892. His year as WM was particularly busy as the Lodge was in the process of building its own Masonic Hall. It had owned land on Corn Exchange Street for many years but had only just raised enough money to commission architects and pay builders. George had the good fortune to be WM when the Earl of Lathom (standing in for the Duke of Connaught as the most senior freemason in England) laid the new building’s foundation stone, on 6 May 1892; though he had handed on the baton to his lodge successor Francis Carr by 1893 when the first meetings were held in it. George’s own installation had been held at the lodge’s earlier meeting place, the Red Lion Hotel; meetings of the lodge from 1916 to 1920 were held there again, after the military requisitioned the Masonic Hall.
After his year as WM was over in November 1892, the number of freemasonry functions George attended dropped. In the summer of 1893 he had more important exams to take; and then he started work, in London. However, he was going back to Cambridge for freemasons’ meetings when he could spare the time. He was still involved with Cambridgeshire’s Provincial Grand Chapter and in 1895 had made it to the rank of Principal Sojourner. And in 1897 he went as a visitor to a meeting of the Scientific Lodge number 88, Cambridge University’s other - much older - freemasons’ lodge.
As far as I can tell, George didn’t join any freemasons’ lodges while he was living and working in London in the late 1890s. He joined a Rosicrucian group of freemasons instead - see the next section for more on that. The formation of London Hospital Lodge 2845 came a little late for him - the process of setting up it up didn’t begin until after he had got a job back in Cambridge. He didn’t attend the early meetings of the lodge’s founders but later on, he added his name to the petition to the United Grand Lodge of England; probably at the request of the lodge’s first WM, Ernest Sansom, the hospital’s senior physician and consequently George’s ex-boss. George was present at the lodge’s consecration, on 2 October 1901 at Hotel Cecil; and was one of that year’s officers though quite a long way down the list of them. I imagine that Isaac Newton University Lodge 859 will have been his main freemason’s lodge now he was back at the University.
If you were particularly interested in the esoteric side of freemasonry there was a group of colleges that you could join which specialised in research into the legend and symbolism of Christian Rosenkreuz; and George joined it. This was Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia; not exactly a freemasons’ lodge, but you had to be a freemason to be a member. George was admitted to the SRIA’s Metropolitan College on 13 April 1893. After business had been dealt with, college meetings were organised around the reading of a paper by one of the members, followed by a discussion of the points raised in it. The paper would then be published in SRIA’s Transactions. On 11 January 1894, George’s medical acquaintance, professional hypnotherapist Charles Tuckey, became a member in time to hear George read his paper on Mesmerism, a subject they had probably been discussing between themselves for quite a while. Charles was never a committed member of SRIA and resigned in 1897 but George remained an active member until after the first World War. He made his way up the ladder of official posts in the Metropolitan College to serve as its Celebrant (the equivalent of WM) from January 1904 to January 1905. His interest in hypnotism continued and he had a paper on the subject prepared for the meeting of 10 April 1919. There was not enough time to read it that evening, but he gave a short resume of it at the following meeting, 10 July 1919.
By the early 1920s, George was one of the SRIA’s longest-serving members. As an ex-Celebrant at its Metropolitan College, and the reader of a paper, he had the rank of Hon Magi 9º and a place on the SRIA’s governing Council. However, accounts of the SRIA’s Metropolitan College in the 1920s show that he did not attend any of its meetings during that decade, even those in the April of each year that were meant to be obligatory. In 1931 he finally sent in his resignation. It was accepted with regret - all resignations were accepted with regret - at the meeting of 8 October 1931. The Metropolitan College’s Transactions usually acknowledged the death of members but not necessarily of ex-members; there was no mention of George’s death in the 1943 issue.
SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH
George and Charles Tuckey were important members of the Society for Psychical Research and George at least will have known some of its founding members well - the Society’s founders had included a group of Cambridge University academics.
George joined the Society in October 1885, just after he had started at Cambridge University, and four years before Charles did. Meetings got easier to attend in 1893, when he went to work as a junior doctor at a London hospital. By 1895, George was a member of the Society’s governing council and he remained a member for many years, even after returning (in 1900) to join the academic staff of his old Cambridge college.
Unlike Charles Tuckey, who had no interest in eastern philosophy, George was interested in theosophy. His Theosophical Society membership application appears in the TS’s Register for 1889 to 1891 but without a date. However, a news item in the TS’s magazine Lucifer shows that he was a member by February 1889 - as with freemasonry, he’d got involved while still an undergraduate.
The TS organised itself locally by way of lodges, run rather like freemasons’ lodges. While he was still at university, George was a member of Cambridge Lodge. So was Catherine Passingham; she was the Lodge’s president in 1888-89 and her daughter Amy Gillig was its honorary secretary. Mrs Passingham was also a member of the Society for Psychical Research, so it’s likely George knew her and her family quite well around 1888-89. He may have met them even before that: in 1892 Amy Gillig married Edward Armitage, Cambridge University graduate and member of Isaac Newton University Lodge 859 since before George joined it. The Passinghams left Cambridge early in 1889. To fill the gap Catherine Passingham and her daughter would leave, a Mr Naidu (clearly born in India) was made lodge president and George became vice-president. Catherine Passingham - but not her daughter - was initiated into the GD in October 1889.
George was still a member of the TS when he moved to London in 1893. While living in London he was a member of Blavatsky Lodge, which met at the TS’s headquarters in Regent’s Park; though Helena Petrovna Blavatsky had died by then so George wouldn’t have heard her speak. George remained a member through the mid-1890s - though not a member of any particular lodge - when the majority of members lapsed or resigned, as a struggle for power and future direction tore the TS worldwide apart in the years after Blavatsky’s death; carefully keeping the TS records up to date through moves to three different London addresses between 1893 and 1900. However, he stopped paying his annual subscription around 1899, and there’s a note on his membership entry deeming his membership to have lapsed as of November 1902. Cambridge Lodge may have been closed by then anyway - more than half the lodges in England shut down during the power struggle.
If George kept up his interest in theosophy after 1902, it will have been in a private way only.
Catherine Passingham was a spiritualist as well as a theosophist. In the mid-1890s at least, she attended meetings and social events at the London Spiritualist Alliance. I haven’t found any evidence of Mrs Passingham persuading George Rogers to give the LSA a try, though. The spiritualist magazine Light covered LSA events, and usually included a guest-list; but I didn’t spot George’s name at any event in the 1890s. It is hard to tell, however, whether people were spiritualists. Spiritualism in general was a very locally, even family-based pursuit and the London Spiritualist Alliance was just an umbrella-group for some spiritualist events in London.
Database of the collections at the Freemasons’ Library, accessible online at
www.freemasonry.london.museum/catalogue.php. You can search the catalogue via the website. And if you follow the option ‘resources’ you can reach a searchable digitised database of freemasonry magazines. It only goes as far as 1900 though.
The Freemason November 1888 p10.
The Freemason March 1889 p5.
The Freemason November 1890 p11.
The Freemason February 1891 p11.
The Freemason November 1891 p3 and p8.
The Freemason February 1892 p3.
The Freemason November 1892 p1.
The Freemason June 1893 p3.
The Freemason March 1895 p6 and Freemason’s Chronicle March 1895 p4.
The Freemason November 1897 p6.
The Freemason December 1900 p2.
The Freemason October 1901 p2.
I also searched The Freemason’s 1905 volume but couldn’t see any references to the lodges George Rogers was involved with.
A Hundred Years of the Isaac Newton University Lodge number 859 1861-1961. No indication of the author. This was just a brochure, keener to celebrate the close links the lodge had with the United Grand Lodge of England, and to mention the distinguished careers of its members; than to write a lengthy account of the lodge’s history. However it did have a list of the lodge’s worshipful masters to date; also lists of its secretaries and treasurers - George never served in either of those roles. Held at the Freemasons’ Library.
Alumni Cantabrigiensis Abbas-Cutts part 2 p70 citing Times 15 March 1929.
Ars Quatuor Coronati volume LXII part 1 p137-38: In Memoriam Edward Armitage. As a member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076, Armitage will have known GD founder William Wynn Westcott.
London Hospital Lodge number 2845. Not really a lodge history, just a four-page leaflet giving some details of its founding. No author’s name or publication details. And no date of publication. The latest date I found in the text was 1945. Held at the Freemasons’ Library.
Transactions of Societas Rosicruciana Metropolitan College beginning with the issue of 1893-94 and continuing until that of 1943 though with a break after the 1931 issue. Held at the Freemasons’ Library.
History of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia by the MW Supreme Magus Dr William Wynn Westcott. Privately printed London 1900 and there are no subsequent updates to it: pp31-32.
SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research published by the Society from its offices at 19 Buckingham Street Adelphi, London; and for members only. Even corresponding and associate members have to be elected. Volume 2 1885-86 p57, October 1885 - joining date of George Frederick Rogers.
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research volume 4 1889-90: p49 April 1889 - joining date of Charles L Tuckey.
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research volume 9 1893 and 1894. Published London by Kegan Paul Trench Trübner and Co for the Society: p371 list of Council members doesn’t yet include George; p388
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research volume 11 1895 p602 George is now a member of the Council; p620.
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research volume 15 1900-01 p443 George was probably too busy to do many book reviews but this issue has him reviewing Alice Feilding’s Faith Healing and Christian Science. Also p485 Charles Tuckey is also a Council member now; p503.
Theosophical Society Membership Register January 1889 to September 1891 p129. Four different addresses are listed on George’s entry: his parents’ house in Plymouth and three in London. There’s no record of his address after 1900, when he returned to Cambridge; so he had let his membership lapse by then.
Lucifer: A Theosophical Magazine March-August 1889 with Blavatsky as editor. Published by the Theosophical Society Publishing Co at 7 Duke St Adelphi. Volume 4 issue of 15 March 1889 p83 news item on TS’s Cambridge Lodge.
I haven’t found any.
George Frederick Rogers’ parents were George Porter Rogers and his wife Sarah, née Wills. George had been born in London and Sarah in Cheshire, but they married in Plymouth. George’s mother was from Dartmouth and perhaps that’s why he chose to settle in Devon.
George Porter Rogers was a businessman, but from 1875 he also had income from a patent for improvements to sewing machines. He patent was held jointly with Charles Walter Vosper. Vosper was an engineer and probably did the design; while George contributed the money to develop Vosper’s ideas.
George Porter Rogers’ main source of income was from wholesale warehouses in Old Town Street and Treville Street, and later in Commercial Street, in Plymouth. In 1878 he was a partner in Rundle Brown and Co. At the end of that year Henry Brown retired; the remaining partners carried on as Rundle Rogers and Brook. George Porter Rogers was also active in the local Liberal Party, becoming the president of its Plymouth and Western Counties branch in 1891. By that time he may have been the only partner remaining from the original business: he only was involved in the purchase from Plymouth Council of warehouses and other premises in Commercial Road Plymouth, in August 1890.
George and Sarah married in 1866 and had eight children. George Frederick Rogers was their eldest child, born in April 1867. On census day 1871 George Porter Rogers and Sarah were living at 1 Moor View Terrace Plymouth with George Frederick and his two next siblings, Ida and Amy. Even at this relatively early stage in George Porter Rogers’ business life, they were able to afford two servants. By census day 1881, four more children had been born, but George Porter Rogers’ mother Mary had come to live with them, bringing her income from investments; and the warehouse business was doing well. The family had moved to the street they lived in for the next two decades - Seaton Terrace Compton Gifford - and they were able to employ a cook as well as a housemaid and a nurse. On census day 1881 they were living at number 10. Their neighbour at number 9 was Anne Lemon, widow of Lt-Col Thomas Lemon of the Royal Marines. Mrs Lemon’s son, Rev Thomas William Lemon, was a freemason and future GD member.
By 1891 Anne Lemon had died; and the Rogers family had either moved a few houses down the street, or had their original house renumbered. On census day 1891 George Porter Rogers, his wife, mother, daughters and youngest son Edgar were living at number 16 Seaton Terrace. With several of the children no longer living at home, George Porter Rogers and Sarah had scaled back their household staff to a cook and a housemaid only; but they were going to the expense of employing a live-in governess.
George Porter Rogers died in May 1911, leaving as much as £25000 in personal estate alone. George Frederick Rogers was one of the executors of his father’s Will; with his mother Sarah, his brother Victor and Edward Barclay Smith MD who I suppose was the family doctor.
Evidence from later in their lives suggests that George Porter Rogers’ sons Victor and Edgar went into their father’s warehouse business, with Edgar branching out into clothes manufacture. George Frederick Rogers was the family’s academic star, however: he got into Cambridge University. He never worked in the family business.
GEORGE PORTER ROGERS
Census 1871-1891; Probate Registry 1911.
Commissioners’ of Patents Journal issue of 9 July 1875 p1839.
London Gazette 7 January 1879 p72 list of partnerships dissolved.
Libl and Radical Year Book 1887 p71 with George Porter Rogers as one of the two vice-presidents of the Plymouth and Western Counties Liberal Club.
Seen at discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk, details of documents at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office items 1302-124.:
Times Wednesday 30 December 1891 p4: amongst those congratulating W E Gladstone on his birthday: George Porter Rogers as chairman of the Plymouth and Western Counties Liberal Club.
London Gazette 11 August 1899 p5039 a long list and I couldn’t find the top of it to find out what it was! It’s all men, by county, so I think it’s probably a list of new JP’s. George Porter Rogers, now of 2 Warleigh Villas Ford Park Plymouth, is on the list for Devon.
GEORGE FREDERICK ROGERS: EDUCATION
The GD member - I’ll call him George from now on - went to Plymouth High School, and passed the exams to go to Cambridge University in 1885. He was a undergraduate at Gonville and Caius College, and graduated BA in 1887.
Alumni Cantabrigiensis Part 2 No 5 p344.
Times 16 December 1887 p9 University Intelligence.
Although his family as comfortably off, George was going to need a profession, and he chose medicine. It was while he was working for his degrees in medicine that he spent his year as WM of Isaac Newton University Lodge number 859. He graduated in medicine and surgery in 1893 and as MD in 1896.
He moved to London in 1893 to work at the London Hospital. He began there as a new graduate would, as receiving room officer, before being promoted to house physician and house surgeon. In his first two years at the hospital he was living out, probably in lodgings: at 123 Gloucester Terrace, then at 66 Mornington Road Gloucester Gate and lastly at 3 Vernon Chambers Southampton Row. Probably in 1895, though, he was appointed to work on the hospital’s maternity ward, for which he needed to live on-site.
It’s surprising how few certain details I’ve been able to find about George’s working life, and
I’m not absolutely sure even when he left the London Hospital. I think he remained there until 1899. Then he might have had some time between jobs, before returning to his old Cambridge college, Gonville and Caius, in 1900 as junior demonstrator in the Anatomy Department. The appointment was for five years, at £100 per year; but it was renewed twice. By 1912 it had expanded, as well, to include examining undergraduate students.
George moved back to Cambridge in 1900 but not into college. On the day of the 1901 census he was the only lodger at 4 King’s Parade Cambridge, where the householder was Louisa Greef, a widow of 72. By 1911 Mrs Greef had either died or moved away, and George had taken over as the householder. On census day 1911, he was employing a housekeeper and a housemaid to keep house for himself and his one lodger Anne Lane, an elderly spinster who worked in a music shop. Two servants for a small household in which both residents were out all of most days seems excessive; so perhaps George was not out all of most days, but working in general practice at that address when not doing his job at the Anatomy Department.. His entries in the General Medical Council registers and the medical directories don’t make it clear whether or not he was working as a GP.
George’s third five-year appointment as junior demonstrator expired in December 1914 but I think he had probably not been doing the work for nearly two years: in 1913, he was appointed an Inspector of Vivisection for the Home Office. When the war broke out, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and served until 1919; though I don’t know where he worked and such evidence as I’ve found suggests he continued to do his Home Office job. In 1916 he was living in London again, at 46 Norfolk Square Hyde Park but this seems to have been a temporary phase because he moved back to Cambridge, to 9 King’s Parade in 1917.
George continued to work for the Home Office until 1943 but after 1928 I don’t know where he was living. He must, I suppose, have left King’s Parade Cambridge; but the usual sources for this kind of information give ‘c/o’ addresses only.
Times 19 June 1893 p7 University Intelligence.
General Medical Council registers 1895 to 1931; there are no entries for him after 1931.
A note about the Medical Directory: like Who’s Who, it’s dependent on the people listed sending in details of their current employment and whereabouts.
Medical Directory 1895 volume 1 London p309.
Medical Directory 1897 volume 1 London p327.
Medical Directory 1900 Provincial section p1080.
Times 30 January 1904 p12 University Intelligence.
Medical Directory 1905 Provincial section p903. Then there’s no change in the entry for George Rogers until:
Medical Directory 1912 Provincial section p973.
The first World War is where George’s entries start departing from what was really going on:
Medical Directory 1916 Provincial section p971 but with the Norfolk Square address and the new job at the Home Office listed as well as the junior demonstrator job at Cambridge University, as if he was doing both when University sources say he’d left his university job.
Medical Directory 1917 Provincial section p975 with George’s jobs as per 1916 but his address as 9 King’s Parade Cambridge.
The 1917 entry continues unchanged until:
Medical Directory 1928 Provincial p1006 with George’s employment details exactly as 1917 but no address other than c/o Barclays Bank Cambridge. That entry then continues without alteration until:
Medical Directory 1944 when there is no entry for him at all.
The fact that George’s job as junior demonstrator ended in 1914 is from:
Cambridge University Calendar 1919 issue, seen via archive.org: p85 Anatomy Department staff: George Frederick Rogers as junior demonstrator, the most senior of three of them; dates 1900-1914. Further down the page are his terms and conditions, and salary. On p10 George is on the list of those eligible to vote for the MP for Cambridge University.
Also seen online: Cambridge University Calendar issue of 1921-22 p13 and p90 with exactly the same entries as in the 1919 issue. It’s as if time has stopped!
Alumni Cantabrigiensis Part 2 No 5 p344 which gives the dates of his employment by the Home Office as 1913 to 1943. It’s also the source of his nickname of Long Rogers.
Apart from the two talks that were published by the SRIA, I don’t know of any.
George Rogers died in November 1943. He had probably been retired for a few months, as his death took place in Yelverton, Devon. George’s youngest brother Edgar Stanley Rogers was living in Yelverton on census day 1911, with his wife Lilian and two children; and may still have been living there in 1943. George had appointed Edgar to be one of his executors, with an accountant, William John Ching. George left a comfortable amount of money to his heirs, whoever they were - £24700-and-odd in personal estate alone. George had never married and so had no known descendants.
Probate Registry 1944.
BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.
Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert. Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986. Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914. The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation. All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden. Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01. I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.
For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923. Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972. Foreword by Gerald Yorke. Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist. He has no axe to grind.
Family history: freebmd; ancestry.co.uk (census and probate); findmypast.co.uk; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families; thepeerage.com; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.
Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.
Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette. Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.
Catalogues: British Library; Freemasons’ Library.
Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: