Outbreak of the
First World War.
With the outbreak of the
First World War in 1914, the festival of St John
was abandoned owing to the crisis. A souvenir
ticket was printed and sold for 2/6, proceeds
going to charity. A directive from Grand Lodge
stated, "in order to preserve the peace
and harmony of the Craft, Brethren of German,
Austrian, Hungarian, Turkish nationality by
birth, should not attend any Lodge until peace
A great number of soldiers
were billeted at Stobs Camp a well as church
halls and other buildings. The Lodge was advised
that the premises might be commandeered for use
as billets. Whether or not it was, or to what
extent, is unclear. A letter was received from
424 offering the use of 424 premises but no
reference is made as to whether their offer was
taken up, although meetings continued to be
held. It would appear that the military occupied
the Lodge Hall, but it is uncertain where and
how meetings were held.
The military relinquished
the use of the hall in 1915, and an offer of £20
in settlement of damage caused by the soldiers
was accepted. A large number of soldiers were
made members of the Lodge and a number of
visitors were received.
Honorary Life membership
was conferred on Captain James Kennedy DCM, MC.
Throughout the war years the Lodge continued to
carry on the festival of St Andrew, although
some events, soirees etc were cancelled.
Some brethren were
initiated and left for France the same night. A
number of members were wounded, a great number
lost close relatives, and some paid the supreme
A Lodge of sorrow in
memory of the brethren of the Lodge who died for
their Country in the Great War was held, and 300
members and visiting members assembled in St
Johns Parish church (now a department store in
Oliver Crescent) to remember Major William
Beattie (whose sword is used by the Tyler to
this day), Captain Robert Maxwell, Lieutenant W.
Barrie, Sergeant G. Scott, Privates James Rae,
George Henderson, Adam Howieson, and Sapper Ron
The years between
the wars No.1.
In 1919 there were 79
initiations in one month, and 123 Office bearers
and members attended the Lodge on 30th May.
In December 1919 the
committee reported that following the war the
Lodge had greatly increased its membership, and
there was need for larger premises. In 1920 the
number on the roll was 522, including 5 Honorary
members, 96 Life members, 406 being in full
standing. Between 16th May 1919 and 18th May
1920 there were 138 initiations and four
applications. The PGM observed that "the
past year had been one of unexampled prosperity
which has never been approached in the history
of the Lodge"
The committee proposed to
alter the existing premises at Myreslawgreen at
a cost of £2075, Lodge funds available amounted
to £500 and subscriptions from members £500. In
February 1920 the reconstruction treasurer
reported that the amount of money required was
reached and the committee gave instructions for
the reconstruction. However in December 1920,
the resolution to rebuild Myreslawgreen was
rescinded and it was proposed to purchase the
property in Commercial Road previously owned by
Messrs Innes Chambers & Co, Tweed Merchants,
which had been destroyed by fire in 1919, with a
view to converting the building into a Masonic
The premises were
purchased for the sum of £400, and the
foundation stone was laid with full Masonic
honours in March 1922, by PGM Br. J.H.F.K. Scott
of Galashiels. A procession was held by Oliver
Crescent, and Bridge Street to Commercial Road,
headed by the Saxhorn Band. A jar containing
documents, coins etc was placed in the cavity of
the stone, wine and oil being poured over it,
and a dinner was held in the Town Hall following
the ceremony was attended by a large number of
The building was
consecrated on 16th December 1922, and the
number present "strained the capacity of
the Lodge room to its utmost". 235
office bearers and brethren being present.
In order to raise funds
for the building a bazaar was held on February
17th 1921. PM Br. Tumbull reported that the
amount drawn at the bazaar was £2455-5/-, and
the balance on hand was £2929-9/10, Special
mention was made of Br. John Bett Lodge 424 for
his assistance in raising the money.
November 24th 1922 saw the
closing of the Lodge room at Myreslawgreen,
which had been used as a Masonic Temple for 48
years and 14 days. The premises were later sold
for of £600. his interesting to note that at the
time of writing there is one brother still alive
today who was initiated in Myreslawgreen.
The following lines were
penned by Br. Thomas Ker, Senior Warden and
FAREWELL TO THE OLD
MASONIC HALL, MYRESLAWGREEN.
Farewell, ye age-encrusted walls,
Beneath the azure
blue star-spangled dome;
ancient consecrated halls,
Where Masonry has
made a living home.
through long years unnumbered, dim,
Where pious hearts
th' unquestioned pathway trod;
prayer, and psalm, and hymn,
In simple faith
were wont to worship God.
Where Masonry for
fifty years or near
Has shed her rays
refulgent and benign,
And held her lamp
that lit our footholds clear
Through ways where
shoals and pitfalls oft entwine
throughout these years so fleet
Has taught her
tenets to our lasting good,
And helped to
guide our laggard, wayward feet
In paths of virtue
and true brotherhood.
ancient walls, twice hallowed shrine,
cast her wondrous spell;
And Masonry upheld
the light divine;
halls, a sad, a fond farewell.
TO THE NEW MASONIC
HALL, COMMERCIAL ROAD.
When the old pile
in flame had disappeared
And left rude
chaos brooding desolate
skill and patience have upreared
stately, stable, and ornate.
Evolved from atoms
rude and primitive,
ashlars cut and carven true,
Reared by the
skill that Craftsmanship can give,
Reared on the
lines that grace and strength construe.
presides within these walls
And with her light
that sheds effulgent ray,
precepts, nigh divine, enthralls
All devotees who
pass within her sway.
handmaid of religion,
Her tenets teach
us naught but for our good,
Our laggard feet
lead to a higher region,
And bind us with
the bonds of brotherhood.
structure now we dedicate
To Masonry, and
her attendant train,
Of virtues, which
her precepts inculcate
Of graces which
her tenets may ingrain.
May He who notes
the sparrow's wounded wings
Look down and
consecrate our Lodge anew
And guard us
through whate'er the future brings,
Until He summons
us to pastures new.