The Opening of the new Masonic Hall Tuesday 21st September 1920

By the deputy Provincial Grand Master W.Bro. Col.Sir Alan J.Sykes M.P.

Tuesday last will be a memorable day in the annals of freemasonry in Colne.; indeed the ceremonies of that day will be regarded by the craft as historical, as it marked a definite stage in the progress of local freemasonry, for almost two centuries Freemasonry has had a habitation and a name in Colne, but it remained for Tuesday’s function to give it a permanent establishment in the town. A Masonic Hall or Temple has been secured for the accommodation of the brethren, and the consecration of the premiers took place on Tuesday afternoon. The building is situated in Albert Road, the premises formerly occupied by Dr’s Hobertson and Keay.  This place has been reconstructed to form Club rooms and Masonic Temple for” Royal Lancashire Lodge”

 Entering the premiers from the main entrance of the building in Albert Road, the visitor passes through a large double vestibule, with oak panelled doors, with stained glass top lights, and is brought directly into a large lounge hall, with polished parquet floor, tastefully and symbolically decorated with lincrusta panelling and fibrous plaster. A feature of this hall is the large stained glass window, the full height of the room. From this room opens out a large and accommodating reading and smoke room, which is tastefully decorated and furnished, and has a direct outlook on to Albert Road through a large bay window. Opening from the hall on the other side, through an ornamental plaster arch surmounted by the crest of the “Royal Lancashire Lodge” is the annexe to the lounge. In this room, there is fitted up a small bar with polished Mahogany front and leaded lights, and from this annexe also opens the lavatory and conveniences neatly finished off with white tiling. 

 The Steward’s private premises occupy the rear of this ground floor and consist of living room two good bedrooms, bathroom and scullery. The main oak staircase leading out of the main lounge hall brings the visitor to the first floor when there is an entrance through double doors to a  large banqueting hall which will comfortably dine at least 100 people. This room is beautifully decorated and has direct lavatory accommodation adjoining.  On this floor there is a large serving or cutting up room, which is directly connected to the kitchen in the basement by a lift; and has good pantry accommodation. Leaving this floor the visitor ascends to the second floor; the principal room on it being the Temple, which will accommodate 100 people. The scheme of decoration in this room is typical of what a lodge room should be and is well in accordance with the antiquity of the lodge. There are also a storeroom and anti room on this floor both of which are tastefully decorated and furnished. From this floor, a staircase leads to a roof conservatory. The basement contains a large garage capable of holding four cars, a good cooking kitchen fit up with two large ranges and other necessary appliances. The heating vault, coal and coke store’s, a large keeping cellar, and a wine cellar. The contractors on these alterations where;  Mr.W.Townson masons work,  Mr.H.J.Caddy joinery work; Mr J.Skelton (Nelson) plumbers work; Mr.Jas.Laycock plasters work; Merss  Brotherton and Ernshaw electricians work; and Mr.H.Wooster Decorating Work. Mr S Thornton was the Clerk of Works, and the adaptation of the premises was from the design of Mr.T.J.Harrison, Architect Nelson, who has received many congratulations upon the tasteful and convenient arrangements of the building.

As already indicated, the ceremonial, or official opening of the new Masonic Hall took place on Tuesday afternoon, and in special recognition of the interesting event the lounge hall was decorated with choice palms and greenhouse plants by Mr.H.W.Smith of the Reedyford Nurseries, Nelson.

 There was a large attendance of brethren, amongst those present, being a considerable number of present and past officers of The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire, West Lancashire, and the West Riding.  Officers and brethren were also in attendance from the Queens Jubilee Lodge Nelson. Borough Lodge Burnley, Thursby Lodge Burnley, Red Rose of Lancaster Lodge Padiham, Faith Hope and Charity Lodge Barnoldswick, Craven Lodge Skipton, The Three Graces Lodge Hawarth, Royal Yorkshire Lodge Keighley, Keighley Lodge Keighley, Royal Forrest Lodge Slaidburn, Coronation Lodge Accrington, Equality Lodge Accrington,  Remembrance Lodge Accrington, Clifton Lodge St Annes,  and other Masonic lodges in England  Cairo and the United States of America.

The Lodge was opened in the usual manner, under the presidency of W.Bro. James Mills W.M., who was supported by W.Bro.W.H.Chapman I.P.M. W.Bro.H.Elliott  Chaplain, W.Bro. S.Thornton Secretary,  W.Bro.W.E.Halliwell  P.P.G.A.D.C. Treasurer, W.Bro. A.R.Kenyon P.M. director of ceremonies, W.Bro.Hy, Holden  P.M. Charity representative.  Bro.Sagar Holden Senior Warden, Bro. H.J.Caddy Junior Warden, and a full complement of officers. Latter the lodge was visited by the Worshipful Deputy Provincial Grand Master of East Lancashire W.Bro  Lient-Col. Sir Alan J.Sykes M.P. P.G.D. who was accompanied by W.Bro. H.Verney Clayton past ass. Grand registrar Prov., Grand Secretary, W.Bro.Lieut-Col. A.England  C.M.G.D.S.O.,  Provincial Senior Grand Warden W.Bro.J.M.Southurn.  Provincial  Junior Grand Warden; W.Bro.G.J.Critchley.   Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies; W.Bro. Jno.E.Freeman P Prov G.Warden and W.Bro.the Rev James Dodd P.Prov. Grand Chaplain. 

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master then accepted the direction of the proceedings and called on the secretary W.Bro. S.Thornton  P.P.G.D. to read the approved amendment to the By-Laws of the lodge relating to the removal to the new premises. W.Bro. W.E.Halliwell P.P.G.A.D.C. then gave a most interesting resume of the circumstances leading to the removal to the lodge. In the course of his remarks, he said. Two centuries ago George  1st  reigned over this realm of England he was a German incapable of speaking the language and utterly unable to appreciate the English man’s love of freedom, integrity and square dealing. Today we live under another George one who embodies those qualities most typical of an English gentleman. One whose name will appear on the roll of Kings who have ruled wisely and well; one who because of his temperance, his self-denial, his hard and unceasing labour during a time of unexampled difficulty, will be acclaimed by posterity a hero as well as a king.  This lodge met in the days of George the 1st wearing substantially the same Masonic Clothing, engaged in the same ceremonies, using with but slight verbal alteration the same ritual that we use today. Outside the lodge, we are struck with the multitude and magnitude of changes that have taken place. Today, in attending the lodge some brethren walk, some cycle, others use the electric tramcar, the motor car, the train, and doubtless will shortly be flying.  The walkers are the only ones who copy the methods of our early members. In other respects, the differences are just as marked. Long before Cartwright invented the power loom, long before Crompton invented the spinning mule, long before Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny, long before Watt took out his first patent for a Steam engine, before Captain Cook first sailed around the world, before New South Wales was discovered, before the “Times” was first published,  before John Wesley and Whitfield started the great religious revival,  while Sir Isaac Newton perhaps the greatest investigator of natural philosophy who ever lived, saw the apple fall and first involved the law of gravitation, this lodge was initiating, raising and passing in the three degrees of Freemasonry as it does today. Taking a wider outlook, Scotland had been recently united, but the union with Ireland had not taken place. The great empire of India was not a British possession, The United States of America did not exist but England had thirteen flourishing colonies in  America expanding from New Brunswick to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Alleghany mountains.  As you know, the colonists broke into rebellion, France smarting under the reverses of the seven-year war, acknowledged the United States, and entered into a treaty with them, and a state of war with England, Spain followed the lead of France; Russia, Sweden, and Denmark formed an alliance antagonistic to England, joined later by Prussia, and Holland and Britain were without a friend among the nations of the world. The Royal Lancashire Lodge during these troublous times quietly “carried on” attending Church, and,  it is recorded on one occasion heard a very bad sermon and took of a very substantial and satisfying dinner. When Napoleon went like a firebrand through Europe upsetting thrones and powers, sowing war and pestilence and famine, the work of the lodge was contained, and indigent brothers were assisted. Travelling brethren in need were provided with means to continue, and it is interesting to note how small a sum seemed quite adequate to provide necessities; while the lodge paid 1s. For the postage of a letter from London and 6d from Manchester, The accounts of the lodge were kept with care but not apparently, with exactitude, for after one audit is written;” Audited and made correct “  these brethren are a few of the “dry bones “ of the history of the lodge. For many years we have sought a suitable habitation to enclose these” dry bones” During its existence, this lodge has been accommodated in various houses, but an English man would rather be king of his own house, be it mere a hovel than a mere lodger in a palace.  After many suggestions and tentative agreements, afterwards discarded for various reasons, our worthy Secretary W. Bro. S. Thornton secured an option on this building, and after due deliberations, we decided to purchase these premises and alter them to suit our purpose. We have a habitation of which we are exceedingly proud. Having mentioned the “Dry Bones” and the covering may I take the parable a step further, and say that without the breath of life these “ Dry Bones” cannot live to perform any elevating purpose. I assure you that the members of Royal Lancashire Lodge are not insensible of the moral and spiritual side of Freemasonry, and although this house will minister to the material and social needs of the brethren, they will pray that the Great  Architect of the Universe will accept it, A temple to the great honour and glory of God.

The Deputy Grand Master, after an apt quotation ( dealing with the purpose for which masons were convened to assemble)  from one of the ancient rolls of the lodge, congratulating the brethren of Royal Lancashire Lodge upon there zeal and enterprise in securing these admirable and commodious premises. It was in his opinion desirable that where possible, premises should be acquired to be used exclusively for Masonic purposes and activities. He also congratulated W.Bro.W.E. Halliwell upon his interesting resume of the history of the lodge., and expressed his ( sir Alan Sykes)  deep regret at the unavoidable absence that afternoon of the Grand Master of the Province of East Lancashire, Lord Derby, who would shortly relinquish his post as British Ambassador to Paris where he had discharged the ambassadorial duties in a manner which had met with the admiration of the French and of his own countrymen. And would then be in a position to resume his Masonic duties, in which he took such a deep interest.   On behalf of Lord Derby. He(sir Alan Sykes)  Then declared that Masonic Hall and Temple duly opened for the purpose of Freemasonry.

On the proposition of W. Bro .H.Elliott P.M. seconded by W. Bro. J. T. Harrison P.M a hearty vote of thanks was accorded the Deputy Provincial Grand Master by the brethren of Royal Lancashire Lodge. After this had been appropriately acknowledged by Sir Alan Sykes a similar compliment was paid to the Grand and Provincial Grand Officers on the motion of W. Bro .Hy. Holden P.M. seconded by W. Bro. W .H. Chapman I.P.M. This was acknowledged by  W. Bro. B. Verney Clayton, Provincial Grand Secretary, and W.Bro. J.Mills having resumed the direction of the proceedings, the Grand and Provincial Grand officers retired from the Lodge Room.  The lodge was then closed in the usual manner, and subsequently, the brethren partook of a dinner in the banqueting hall, the whole of the dinner arrangements ( which were thus subjected to a severe test for the first occasion upon which they were required). Proving most satisfactory. Subsequently under the presidency of W. Bro. James Mills a social evening was spent. W. Bro A .B. Kenyon again officiating as director of ceremonies. The several Loyal and Masonic toasts were honoured, and songs and recitations were contributed by various brethren, the interesting and enjoyable proceedings being brought to a close by the singing of the National Anthem.

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