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 is declared"

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 sacrifice.

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 Cameron.



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 Lodge room.

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 brethren.

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 Bard:-


Farewell, Farewell, ye age-encrusted walls,

Beneath the azure blue star-spangled dome;

Farewell ye ancient consecrated halls,

Where Masonry has made a living home.


And erstwhile through long years unnumbered, dim,

Where pious hearts th' unquestioned pathway trod;

With exhortation, 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


And Masonry 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.


Farewell, ye ancient walls, twice hallowed shrine,

Wherein Religion cast her wondrous spell;

And Masonry upheld the light divine;

Farewell, ye halls, a sad, a fond farewell.



When the old pile in flame had disappeared

And left rude chaos brooding desolate

The Craftsman's skill and patience have upreared

This structure stately, stable, and ornate.


Evolved from atoms rude and primitive,

Fashioned with ashlars cut and carven true,

Reared by the skill that Craftsmanship can give,

Reared on the lines that grace and strength construe.


Freemasonry presides within these walls

And with her light that sheds effulgent ray,

Her ancient precepts, nigh divine, enthralls

All devotees who pass within her sway.


Masonry, the 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.


This stately 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.

next chapter