Lodge Dalhousie No 720
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November the 5th is a date which figures prominently in the history of our country. On that date in 1605 Guy Fawkes attempted to clear away King James and the English Parliament with the Gunpowder Plot. November 5th 1688 saw Prince William of Orange land at Brixton to secure the Protestant succession. Then on the same date in 1885 came an even more important date as it was then,due to the prompting of Brother Dr John Falconer of St.Annes, Lasswade, that The Grand Lodge of Scotland granted a charter to Lodge Dalhousie No. 720.
It had not been an easy birth. The 20 brethern who lived locally and wished to see a Lodge established in Bonnyrigg had approached Nos.10, 429, 580, 606 for their assistance in having the Lodge chartered, but all were unable to help. However Dr Falconer was not to be put off. A Past Master of the Celtic Lodge and an active member of Grand Lodge, he secured the necessary support and the petition was granted following a debate on the floor of Grand Lodge. The Brethern of the new Lodge had shown confidence in their petition being granted as in September of 1885 they had received permission from the Earl of Dalhousie to use the colours of his coat-of-arms for the Lodge regalia.
The Lodge met for the first time officially on February 22nd 1886 in the Coffee House, Leyden Place (temperance premises!!!) The early days of the Lodge saw the usual problems of accommondation and finance but the early members kept working away and by the start of the Great War were the lookout for their own premises. The Coffee House was offered but rejected. Eventually Bonnyrigg Public Hall was acquired for £1500 with condition that Picture Shows be held 12 times per year for 10 years. The Lodge took possession of the hall in May 1920 due in no small part to Ex-Provost Brother Archibald Gilchrist who gave a loan of £1000. Less than a year later the hall was taken over by the Military as quarters for troops billeted in Bonnyrigg during the Miners' Strike. The Coffee House was demolished in the 1950's and the site is now occupied by a block of flats built by the Town Council.
The hall and the debts associated with it now became the Lodge's biggest concern.Various improvement plans were implemented and different schemes mooted to pay for them, but it was not until 1945 that the debt was finally cleared. In the intervening years several schemes were put forward with a view to selling the hall or building a new one-luckily nothing came of these and the Lodge's only reason to vacate their own premises was the Second World War when once again the Military requisitioned the hall.Meetings were held in the Tennis Courts Pavillion. The hall was once again extensively altered and improved during the 1950's and 1960's and the new Temple upstairs came into use for the 75th Anniversary celebrations.
In 1967 the bombshell burst when it was discovered that the front of the building was in a dangerous condition. The members and several neighbouring Lodges Nos. 429 and 580 rallied round and the repairs were put in hand and paid for, during this time the hall and the temple were completely refurbished and the Harris Lounge was built in place of the old boardroom and cloakroom.
The next chapter in the history of Lodge Dalhousie was reaching the grand old age 100 years.In 1985 that milestone was reached. The brethern began making plans to celebrate the centenary many months beforehand.A Centenary Committee was formed with Bros. Billy Grant, John Peden, Robert McCutcheon, Ben Placido, Willie Moonie, Eddie Anderson, Billy Brownlee, John Roy, R.B.Watson, Gus Sinclair and Nat Fisher having the responsibility of organising the events to take place.The Lodge Centenary celebrations commenced on Sunday 21st April 1985 with a Service of Thanksgiving in Bonnyrigg Church. Bro. Bill Armitage, Provincial Grand Chaplin of Midlothian officiated,assisted by Bro. John McKinnon PM, Junior Provinical Grand Chaplin. Bro. Robert Hooker, Provinical Grand Organist, acted as accompanist and Bro. Robert Ross, MM 112 and HM 720,sang the solo "The Old Rugged Cross". RWM Angus Sinclair headed a parade of 207 Brethern from the lodge by way of High St, the Toll, Polton St, Dobbies Rd, Park Rd to the church. The parade was preceeded by Bonnyrigg and Lasswade Brass Band and was under the control of Bro. Duncan McKay PM, Director of Ceremonies, assisted by Bro. Robert Burnett , Marshall. For the first time the lodge's new standard was displayed being proudly carried by Bro. Eric Brownle , Standard Bearer. A collection of £241 was uplifted and donated to St Joesphs Hospital, Rosewell.
The social highlight of the celebrations took place at Peebles Hydro Hotel on Friday 24th May 1985, when 253 Brethern and ladies enjoyed the aptly named "Cenentary Banquet". The culmination of the lodge cenentary celebrations took place on Friday 21st November 1985 when a Cermony of Re-Dedication and Cenentary Dinner was held in the lodge premises. The lodge tyled at 6.30pm and the RWM welcomed a large number of 720 brethern and visitors. Each logde in the province was represented by their respectiful RWM's. A special guest was Bro. A.Bain, RWM of the Lodge Caledonia Uganda. Following the welcome the RWM passed then raised the lodge before admitting a deputation from the Provinical Grand Lodge of Midlothian headed by the RWPGM Bro. Robin D.H.Jackson After the Provinical deputation had been welcomed and seated,a deputation from the Grand Lodgeof Scotland entered the temple under the direction of Bro. Gordon Agnew, Grand Director of Ceremonies. The MWGM Mason of Scotland Bro.J.M. Marcus Humphrey of Dinnet took the chair of King Solomon and proceeded to work the Ceremonial of Re-Dedication assisted by the Senior Grand Chaplin Bro. Rev. F.Routledge Bell. After the close of the lodge the brethern adjourned downstairs for the Cenentary Dinner.The RWM, the Grand Master Mason and the Provinical Grand Master were piped to the table by Bro.Tom Harvey and thereafter all present enjoyed an excellent meal.
Lodge Dalhousie has now moved with the times as we moved into the millennium with Brother David Pringle being in the chair of King Solomon at the turn of the century. The lodge premises have been completely refurbished with the function hall in particular taking on a new lease of life.
The Office Bearers elected during the new millennium.
Office Bearers elected during the new millennium
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