Bro Charles Hamilton Pemberton


Charles Hamilton Pemberton was a freemason and founding member of Lodge Temperance 2557. He started his masonic career with Percy Lodge No 1427 where he was initiated into the mysteries and privileges of ancient freemasonry on 18th November 1890, passed to the second degree on 16th December and raised to the sublime degree of a master mason on 21st April 1891.

In early 1895 a group of Freemasons thought it a good idea to form a Lodge which would have no intoxicating drinks at any of its meetings. Bro Charles was a signatory to the petition forwarded to the United Grand Lodge of England for the formation of Lodge Temperance and shows he was a master mason and subscribing member of Percy Lodge No 1427, living at 8, Regents Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne and working as a clerk. At a preliminary meeting of the founding members it was agreed to recommend Bro Charles as Junior Deacon, an office he occupied for the first year. He progressed to Junior Warden the following year, Senior Warden in 1897 and was installed in the chair of King Solomon in 1898. After a year as Immediate Past Master there is no evidence in the Lodge records he held any other office.

Bro Charles was born in Gateshead, Co Durham in 1869, the son of James Pemberton, a master joiner and builder with his own business, and his second wife, Elizabeth Curry a widow, formerly Harvey, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, who married there in 1868 after James’s first wife, Hannah died. James married his first wife, Hannah Wilson in Newcastle in 1839 and they had at least ten children:

  • Barbara Wilson (b 1842 – d 1851)
  • Mary Waller (b 1843)
  • Hannah (b 1845)
  • Elizabeth Ann (b 1847)
  • Margaret (b 1850)
  • James (b 1853)
  • Barbara Wilson (b 1855)
  • Ann (b 1857)
  • William Wilson (b 1859 – d c1860)
  • William Wilson (b 1862 – d 1898)

Sadly, Hannah died at the age of 46 on 31st March 1867 and James married Widow Elizabeth Curry in Newcastle in 1868. Elizabeth had two children from her earlier marriage to George Curry; Thomas and William and she had at least three with James:

  • Charles Hamilton (b 1869 – d 20th August 1930)
  • Agnes Percy (b 1871)
  • John Alexander (b 1873)

James died on 21st January 1891 at 15, Ellison Place, Newcastle leaving £92 5s 3d in his will.

Charles married Emma Lizzie Gibson in Newcastle in 1896, the daughter of WBro. John Walker Gibson PPGD, the first Master of Lodge Temperance. In 1901 Charles and Emma had moved to Somerville House, Forest Hall where Charles was working as a gas account collector for the Newcastle and Gateshead Gas Company. The records indicate that they did not have any children.

Bro Charles visited Lodge Temperance 2557 at the meeting of 19thMarch 1923 and on behalf of his mother in law, Mrs Gibson he presented a framed photo of the late WBro. John Walker Gibson PPGD, first Master of the Lodge. The Master on behalf of the Lodge expressed his pleasure in accepting and thanked Mrs. Gibson and WBro Pemberton. The whereabouts of this framed photo is unknown today.

Charles continued to live at Somerville House with Emma until his death on 20th August 1930 aged 61. He left £1552 in his will to his widow who eventually moved to 8, Kennersdene, Tynemouth to live with her sisters Isabella Jane and Mabel Agnes Gibson. She died there on 18th May 1940, aged 69.

Many thanks to Emma Pemberton, the great granddaughter of Charles’s brother John Alexander Pemberton who made these observations:
My great grandfather John was always inventing various machines and gadgets (someone said he invented the first basic washing machine before it was patented but no evidence to support  and I have never investigated!)  also Charles’ father James was very industrious…another anecdote was that he had some role in producing one of the Lord Mayor’s Coaches through his carpentry/joinery (again – no evidence to support) so it sounds like they were a very creative, inventive and forward thinking family for the times so I can imagine that Charles would also have had some of these qualities.