SEEING how many unstable ex-soldiers came to the Lodge of Instruction (attached to Faith and Works E.C. 5837) in the years after the war, the wonder is there was not more trouble from Brethren whom sudden meetings with old comrades jerked back into their still raw past.

This is from "The Madonna of the Trenches" by Rudyard Kipling.

I don't understand the meaning of "E.C. 5837"
Is this an address number in London?

I am glad if someone would kindly teach me.

  • 3
    This is not a general English abbreviation - it's something very particular to the fictional world that Kipling has constructed for this series of stories (titled Debits and Credits). In general, a "lodge" is a particular chapter of a fraternal organization, and each lodge is given a unique number (5837 in this case). The "E.C." would have a meaning within the fraternal organization named "Faith and Works", but I haven't read this particular set of Kipling stories to know what it expands to. Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 1:20
  • Maybe Executive Commitee?
    – SegNerd
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 1:27
  • Thank you very much for your answer ! It is very helpful. Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 4:00
  • 1
    Compare also the use of a union "local", such as (for example) the IBEW Local 60 which is the 60th local branch of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. A union is a specific type of fraternal organization. As has been suggested, "E.C." could mean Executive Committee or Executive Council but you will have to read the source for more context to get a definitive answer.
    – randomhead
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 4:39
  • Thank you so much for your suggestive answer. Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


It took some searching to find this. It's not a well-known abbreviation. Knowing what it means doesn't help understand the text.

It is short for "English Constitution". It means that the Masonic Lodge is number 5837 registered under the "English Constitution" with the Grand Lodge in London. All Masonic lodges have a unique number assigned by their Grand Lodge. Those that are governed by the United Grand Lodge of England use the initials EC after their number. Alternatives are SC (for Scottish Constitution) and IC for Irish Constitution.

This particular lodge is part of Kipling's imagination, not a real lodge.

For most readers it just part of the name of the lodge and the meaning is ignored. Other (real) lodges are "The Lodge of St. George No. 1152 E.C." or "Pioneers Masonic Lodge No.420 IC"

  • 1
    Thank you so much. I clearly understand the meaning! It is so helpful! Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 0:04

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