Following is a speech given some years ago by Provincial Grand Secretary Brother Jim White at the installation of Brother David Drysdale . It contains a lot of interesting information about the history of our Lodge.
|Right Worshipful Master, Right Worshipful Installing
Masters, Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Grand Office
Bearers, Reigning Masters, Past Masters, Worshipful Wardens and Brethren
all, it is my privilege and pleasure this evening to propose this toast to
The Lodge of Alloa No.69.
I would thank the Right Worshipful Master Brother David Drysdale for affording me this fine honour.
Whilst ancient buildings in Alloa and surrounding district provide evidence of the industry of the operative mason from the 13th century onwards, the works were neither numerous nor substantial enough to have warranted the oversight of a local lodge.
In bygone days a greater trade was had from the cutting of timber in the extensive forests of Clackmannan for use in buildings elsewhere. The labour in the district at that time may be equated with the function of our ancient brethren in the Forests of Lebanon even to the transportation of timber down the waters of the Forth. Records exists of the use of this timber in Stirling Castle and Clackmannan Tower, which was at one time part of a royal castle.
By the sixteenth century the custom of forming operative mason's lodges for the erection of large buildings was well established in Scotland. Lodges in Edinburgh, Kilwinning, Stirling, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Dundee controlled the general building in these towns, and it is on record that these lodges exercised oversight over the surrounding country districts.
The earliest record of masons meeting in Alloa goes back to the early 1750's when brethren from The Lodge of Stirling travelled to Alloa and there initiated brethren into the craft.
At that time the Lodge in Alloa was designated a depute lodge of The Lodge of Stirling possessing neither a name nor a number in its own right. Whilst the Alloa masons met in harmony, no degrees could be conferred without the commissioned Office Bearers of The Lodge of Stirling being present.
The journey in winter from Stirling was arduous. There was no regular coach. The choice was rowing boat down the Forth, horseback or shank's pony. Visits were not frequent. A decision therefore was made to petition Grand Lodge for the formation of a lodge in Alloa.
The History of The Lodge of Alloa, written by Past Masters James Saunders and Robert Wright, records the great debt it owes to The Lodge of Stirling in general, and in particular to Brothers Thomas Jack, Andrew Riddell, Tobias Bauchop and the other brethren who undertook this invaluable pioneering work.
The Charter was granted 237 years ago in 1757. The exact date being the 14th of November. An anniversary which is shared by a number of other persons or events. On that date in history 1889 Nehru, India's first PM was born; 1935 King Hussein of Jordan was born; Coventry Cathedral was destroyed 1940; 1941 The Ark Royal was sunk; 1948 Prince Charles born; 1973 Princess Anne married Mark Phillips; 1757 The Lodge of Alloa No.69 was Chartered by The Grand Lodge of Scotland.
The Lodge was first constituted on 31st Dec 1757 with the first candidates being initiated in 1758. Initiation fee 12/6d Passing and Raising a further 13/6d. Total; £1.6s.0d. (£1.30p).
The history of the Lodge records a number of events, facts and figures, some of which I will relate today.
1766. French War. Payment of one guinea towards ransom of a poor brother in a French prison. Perhaps it was a Brother from Alloa who gave to France their country motto - Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
8th Sept 1774 Hon.William Schaw Cathcart initiated. 19 years old.
2 months later in December elected Right Worshipful Master.
1807. 50th Anniversary. Brother James Landers PM on the chair for second time. Napoleon in charge of France. Britain fighting Turkey, Denmark, France. First running for Ascot Gold Cup.
1857. Centenary year. Brother S Morrison in chair. Lodge clothed that day in Grand Lodge regalia, loaned for the occasion. Britain fighting China, India. Matrimonial Causes Act set up establishing divorce courts.
In 1878 the RWM Brother Thomas Milne learned that the Grand Master Mason of England, the Prince of Wales (afterwards Edward V11) was to pass through Alloa station on his way south to Balmoral. A telegram was sent to Aberdeen requesting that His Royal Highness might receive the members of the lodge on the station platform. A reply consenting to do so was received. Word quickly spread through the town and about 4.00 in the afternoon a large crowd assembled at the station whilst the Alloa Instrumental Band played national airs. On the platform the members of the lodge, in full regalia, along with the chief Magistrates and principal residents of the town were presented to the Prince.
1892 Loaned Regalia to Office Bearers designate of Lodge Ben Cleuch 782. RWM / PMs / W.Ws elected members for kindness. In 1952 loaned Regalia and Jewels to Lodge Ladywell 1474, Tullibody, for Consecration and Installation ceremonies.
During the 1800's the esteem of Masonic Lodges within the community was such that deputations were invited to many public events, in particular that of the laying of foundation stones of public structures or bridges. The Lodge of Alloa was represented at many of these events such as:
1843 Foundation Stone Ludgate School, Alloa
1846 Foundation Stone of railway bridge over the Forth at Stirling.
1854 Foundation Stone Stirling High School
1855 Foundation Stone West Free Church, Bank St, Alloa
1861 Foundation Stone Wallace Monument
1872 Foundation Stone Burgh Chambers, Alloa
1875 Foundation Stone Burgh School, Bedford Pl, Alloa
1876 Foundation Stone Original Masonic Hall, Alloa
1882 Foundation Stone Caledonian Railway Bridge over Forth at Longcarse, Alloa.
1887 Foundation Stone of Alloa Town Hall.
1904 Notable initiation. Minister of the Parish of Alloa Dr. James Lauchlan McLean Watt. Later to become Moderator of the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland and Grand Chaplain of The Grand Lodge of Scotland.
1906 First Mark Master Masons degree. 23 Candidates.
Masonic Church Service. Parish Church, Alloa. 250 assembled in Lodge.
1907. 150th anniversary. RWM Bro.George McMurtrie in chair. Britain was not fighting at that time. Boy scouts founded by Baden Powell.
1909 Bro.George Drummond (M.M. of Lodge Kilwinning), a frequent visitor to the lodge who was now resident in Alloa presented a Fellow Craft tracing board which is still in use today.
1909 Bro. Dr.E.Dyer P.M. elected R.W.P.G.M. for Stirlingshire, an office he was to hold for 20 years.
1911 28th April. Lodge opened 8.45 am then adjourned. R.W.M. Bro.Morton Thomson accompanied by 5 brethren then travelled to Edinburgh for laying of Foundation Stone of the current Grand Lodge building at 96 George St, Edinburgh. The lodge was resumed at 8.15pm where the RWM presented a report of the day's proceedings.
1912 Recorded in minutes was condolences to Bro.John Millar who lost his brother Robert (a ship's engineer) on the Titanic.
1913 Masonic Service. 250.
1913 RWM Joseph Harrower, Master Joiner - Relative of Colin Harrower.
After the Great War ended in 1918, masonry throughout the country was proving to be very popular.
1919 Burns Supper. 180 members in attendance. Whist Drive and dance. 130 couples.
1918 84 initiates
1919 108 initiates
1920 134 initiates.
1921 122 initiates 448 initiates @ £75 £33,600
182 meetings @ £50 £ 9,100
4 x 100 Test Fees @ £10 £10,000
£51,700 in 4 years
The lodge, in line with other lodges in the Province, was in a very healthy financial position. The decision was made to have a new lodge built. Likewise my own Mother Lodge obtained it's current premises during this period as did Lodge St.Servanus in Alva and many other lodges throughout Scotland.
1924 New lodge in Church St consecrated by Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Dr.E.Dyer, P.M. Meeting nights were changed from Friday to Thursday evenings, thereby freeing the premises for rental on Friday nights.
Dec 1924 (70 years ago) Bro.Joseph Lindsay installed as RWM - Janitor at Alloa Academy.
Dec 1934 (60 years ago) Bro.John Hendry installed as RWM - School Janitor.
1957. The lodge celebrated it's bi-centenary. RWM Bro.Colin Harrower in chair. In that year Harold McMillan became PM. Premium bonds were started. For 30th time in their history, Rangers won the league. We won't mention the League Cup final of that year.
Throughout the history of the lodge, meetings have taken place in various venues in Alloa.
1757 Haigs Inn at top of Broad St
1763 Purchased house in Trongate. Met there 4 years.
1767 Bro.Anderson's Inn (Presumed to be successor to Mrs.Haig.
1792 Old Ship Inn at the Shore.
1799 Crown Hotel.
1843 Royal Oak Hotel, Bedford Place.
1868 Crown Hotel.
1871 Royal Oak Hotel.
1875 New premises. Church St above Museum Hall.
1824 Masonic Hall, Church St
1988 Station Hotel
1990 Royal Oak Hotel
The lodge of Alloa No.69 has a long chequered history. As with all lodges there are happy memories and a fair share of sad memories. Having looked back into history, we should now give thanks for the present and look forward to the future.
The present surely begins with Bro.Colin Harrower, R.W.M. in 1956-58, the most senior of The Lodge of Alloa's Past Masters. A master joiner by trade, Bro.Colin has made his mark both within and outwith the Craft. Indeed, our own I.P.M. Bro.Ricky Buchanan served his time as an apprentice joiner with Ogilvie Builders under the watchful eye of Bro.Colin. Bro.Colin, as mentioned earlier, was the R.W.M. when the lodge celebrated it's bi-centennial in 1957.
Bro.Neil McKay Manson, who is responding to this toast, served as R.W.M. in 1964-66. Bro.Neil, who hails from Wick in Caithness and is a dock rigger to trade, is an enthusiastic attender of the Lodge as well as being a P.S.P.G.W. of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Stirlingshire.
The lodge also receives great support from other Past Masters such as Bro.Jeff Hainsworth, who served as R.W.M. in 1976-78; Bro.John Hall, who served as R.W.M. in 1978-80; Bro.John McLelland, today re-installed as W.J.W., who served as R.W.M. in 1986-88; Bro.Hammy McGlone, who served as R.W.M. in 1974-76 and then again in 1988-90; Bro.Stan Crossan, who served as R.W.M. in 1990-92; and we are certain that Bro.Billy Bridgeman, who today became I.P.M. will follow in the footsteps of these ambassadors for The Lodge of Alloa No.69.
There is one P.M. I have not mentioned in the above. That is Bro.Douglas Figg, who is not a P.M. of The Lodge of Alloa, but is I understand a P.M. of Lodge Blantyre in Malawi and who has served as lodge secretary for some six years.
The future begins today, R.W.M. We are certain that under your leadership, The Lodge of Alloa No.69 will continue to be a leading light in freemasonry in the Province of Stirlingshire and that with the guidance and support of your P.Ms and brethren you will have a thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling term in office.
I would at this time ask the assembled brethren to please be upstanding and join with me in a toast to 'The Lodge of Alloa No.69' coupled with the name of Past Master Bro.Neil McKay Manson.