History

Pre-amble 

 Humanity, divinely planted in man, prompts him not only to do good to himself, but inspires him with acts

 of benevolence and charity towards those of his fellow creatures by whom he is surrounded.

It is to humanity that society, in a great degree,owes its origin. From it's regulations and laws have sprung,

and by it, kingdom's have been supported.

When this principle is directed towards the constituting of small societies, for the purpose of supplying the wants

of the needy and giving support to the poor, nothing can be more praiseworthy.

To be persuaded of it's utility, nothing further is requisite than to attend to the grateful returns of those

 who partake of the support.

From such motives as theses, a number of masons in and around Airdrie, upon the eighth day of October,

Seventeen Hundred and Eighty Eight, met with the intention of forming themselves into a Society for the

 purpose of supporting persons who have been, or are now Freemasons in low and needy circumstances,

which Society is to be under the name and title of

''THE OPERATIVE LODGE OF AIRDRIE''.   

LODGE HISTORY

This is an abreviated version of a book written by P.M. William Blair who wrote the history of our first 150 years, this was added to for the occasion of our 200th anniversary thanks to several brethren who went through the minute books and picked out memorable moments in the following 50 years

OPERATIVE LODGE OF AIRDRIE No. 203       1788---1999 

         We the past masters, office-bearers and brethren celebrated our BI-centenary of receiving our charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland but as you may have noticed from the above dates the lodge had been operating without a charter for a number of years previous to the 6th Aug 1799.

There is an unbroken minute of the Operative Lodge of Airdrie 203 [formally No.270] from it's formation on the 8th of October 1788 when a number of mason's met to form a lodge for the purpose of supporting persons who have been, or are now mason's in low and needy circumstances.

Only operative mason's between the ages of 15 and forty years, and had to be free of all bodily disease, of good moral character and by consent of three quarters of the members present were allowed admission into the lodge.

Entrants from other lodges had to pay two shillings and six pence if an E.A., three shillings and sixpence if a F.C. and five shillings if he was a master.  The yearly dues were set at one shilling, this continued till 1808.

The lodge members have argued that 203 was a continuation of lodge Airdry Kilwinning

Which was formed in 1749 and were responsible for granting Old Monkland St. James

No. 177 their charter. It is very pleasing to know that they have preserved this

charter to this present day. Unfortunately there is no knowledge of any surviving minutes

of Airdry Kilwinning but there is very strong proof that at least four members who signed

the charter for 177 in 1783 were in the list of twelve master masons and two entered

apprentices who originated the Operative Lodge in 1788, their names being John Black,

William Pettigrew, John Wilkie and Robert Allan. The other founder members were James

Lang, John Pettigrew sen., John Pettigrew, Matthew Pettigrew, Thomas Morton, Thomas

Black, James Stirling and Alexander Auld. The two entered apprentices were John

Morton and Matthew Gouldie. It should be noted that the two E.A.'s were initiated on the

2nd and 4th of August before the lodge was formed.

The very first master of the lodge was JAMES LANG.

The lodge worked for several years providing charity for its members and family's, also

For travelling mason's who were considered to be in need of assistance.

In 1798 the government passed an act through parliament making it impossible for lodges to work without a charter, this spurred 203 into action as to obtain it's charter from Grand Lodge. This charter was obtained by the help of AIRDRIE ST.JOHN No.166 and NEW MONKLAND MONTROSE No. 88 who provided us with a certificate and a petition which was then forwarded to Grand Lodge along with the sum of 10 Guineas.

 

Our charter was granted on the 6th day of August 1799 by the MOST WORSHIPFUL AND RIGHT HONOURABLE GRAND MASTER SIR JAMES STIRLING and his office-bearers. The master of the lodge on this occasion was WILLIAM MOFFAT.

 

The minutes of the lodge business were quite brief at this time but still offered up enough information as to produce some lodge history.

 

 

During the early years the minutes record that the meetings were being held in various local taverns.

The very first time that it was ever mentioned in the minutes that a candidate was initiated in all three degrees on the same evening was the 19th Nov. 1801 when John Mack was admitted to the degree of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master and the sum of 17 shillings and 9 pence was received.

The earliest mention of diplomas was on the 7th Feb. 1808 when brothers Gavin Millar and James Allan were presented with theirs.

In 1809 the lodge was obviously considering building its own hall as it was minuted that resolutions were entered into by the general committee for the purpose of erecting a common hall to do business in, the subject was put back until December but it never appeared in the minutes again.  This was possibly because a letter was read from Airdrie St. John inviting the lodge to attend the laying of the foundation stone of their lodge in July of 1809.  The hall mentioned was 110-112 High St. and an old lady had once commented that she had cried on many occasions when as a child she had saw a poor man standing in the snow with his bare feet. This man was a painting of St. John standing between the two large pillars.

The lodge continued to meet in various inns about the town including The Black Bull.

During the early eighteen hundreds there was a severe lack of initiates coming into the lodge as a proposal was motioned to allow Wrights, Slaters and Smiths to join the lodge, one speculative to three operatives, it was finally decided to allow any sober, well disposed man to be a member except coal hewers or miners. 

In May of 1825 it was decided a flag for the lodge was to be purchased at a cost of seven pounds seven shillings this flag was to be used in all processions. This flag is on display in our lodge at present.

The wearing of the tiled hat by the master on the night of installation dates back to when the lodge was strictly operative and is recorded in the minutes as far back as 1830.

In 1825 the St. John's day meeting was changed from the 7th Jan to the present day 27th. Dec.also in this year the byelaws were revised.

In Jan 1836 lodge 88 must have ceased working as 203 purchased their clothing [regalia] for the princely sum of one pound ten shillings.

Into the 1840's and we are still meeting in various public houses such as the Caldercruix Tavern and the Airdrie Arms.

Strangely the lodge did not celebrate its jubilee in 1838, but preferred to wait until 1849 to do so.

In 1851 a motion was raised that any member who filled the wardens chair was bound to stand for master, but if they did not do so they would be fined 5 shillings.

Daniel Gray became the first speculative master in the lodge a post he held for two years 1855/56.

THE OPERATIVE LODGE OF AIRDRIE was very much involved in the laying of foundation stones such as Hamilton Kilwinning No.7's temple, Bathgate Acadamy, New Town Hall in Hamilton, Coatbridge Tech, New Grand Lodge, Airdrie Working Mens Club and probably most famous of all the Wallace Monument, when the lodge opened then adjourned their meeting then walked through the night to Stirling to assist in laying the foundation stone, then walked back re-opened the meeting then closed it.

The first time that an installed masters degree is mentioned is on 27th Dec.1885 when Bro.J. Mitchell was given this honour.

On the 27th Jan.1887 Bro. James Woodhead gifted the lodge a pair of ancient wooden candlesticks bearing the date 1680 for which he was thanked. As three were required in the lodge another was made by Bro. James Orr.

In 1888 the Grand Lodge of Scotland took away the right of the lodge to elect and install a Mark Master, but with the assistance of P.G.L. Grand Master Bro. Lieut.-Col. J. Clark this was restored to the lodge. A second attempt was made to take this right away from us in 1923 but after a strong appeal by the lodge this was also resolved in our favour.

The brethren of the lodge at the turn of the century must have been very strong willed as they refused to take part in a procession to mark Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in protest to what they considered an insult to the town of Airdrie by her sanctioning of the disbandment of the local Volunteer Battalion.

In 1898 newly elected R.W.M. Ex-Provost Geo. Arthur died, up until the time of his death he was Provincial Grand Secretary and a large number of lodges and brethren attended his funeral.

1899 was the lodge’s centenary year with Bro. Baillie James Davidson as R.W.M., the celebrations took place in the Albion Hall, Graham St. .The principal toast, that of St. John's Operative No. 203, was proposed by Provost Conner, Lodge 88 and replied to by the R.W.M.

In the year 1904 a set of working tools for the F.C. degree were presented to the lodge by Bro. Councillor Thomas Louden, these tools had been made from a piece of wood from the old lodge room of Mother Kilwinning No. 0, which was presented, to the lodge in 1895.

In 1905 an offer from our sister lodge Airdrie St. John No. 166 was accepted granting the use of their temple in Graham St. for 13 meetings, including a late night for harmony for the sum of £3 10s per annum, and the privilege of holding the St. Johns day meeting on the 27th of Dec. annually.

On the 28th of Mar. 1906 after the 3rd reading of a motion it was decided that life membership would be available at the cost of 21 shillings.

In getting Life Membership cards the lodge was in a dilemma whether to have the Operative Lodge of Airdrie or St. John's Operative Lodge printed on the cards. The secretary was instructed to write to Grand Lodge secretary asking when the name was changed.  In Grand Lodge secretary's reply he stated that St. John's Operative was in their records as far back as 1852, which was as far back as he could go.  After a search of the old minute books of the lodge, three old working letters from Grand Lodge were found in which the lodge was referred to as Airdrie Operative Lodge.  Permission was then obtained from Grand Lodge to revert to its original name, The Operative Lodge of Airdrie and from then on St. John's was left out.

On the 14th. Of Oct. 1908 as far as we know a record was set when four brothers, James, Adam, John and William Sinclair were all initiated on the same night. Grand Lodge secretary was asked if he knew of any similar case, and replied that he had not and considered it to be a record at that time. Unfortunately one of these brothers met a sad end in Coatbridge; a man was charged with his murder but was convicted of culpable homicide. The occasion of four brothers being initiated was to be repeated again in 1918 when John, David W., Robert W and Thomas A. H. Pennie were all admitted on the same evening.

 

 

Brother James Davidson P.M. was elected as Provost of Coatbridge on the 10th of Nov. 1909 and the congratulations of the lodge were conveyed to him.

The Lodge continued to meet throughout the First World War and many brethren were involved in it, and indeed the first brother of the lodge to receive military honours was Bro. Corp. Hugh J. Graham who was given the D.C.M. for bravery in bringing a wounded officer to safety under enemy fire. Unfortunatly along with the many honours that came the lodge’s way there were also many brethren who lost there lives in this war.

1919 was one of the lodges most outstanding years as far as initiates was concerned, there was one hundred and sixty nine candidates were admitted that year with on one occasion thirty nine going through on one evening. Over and above the regular fortnightly meetings a further thirteen special meetings had to be arranged throughout the year.  July the 2nd produced another record for the lodge when forty-nine M.M.'s had the honorary degree of mark master conferred upon them.

The Lodge purchased a memorial alter to honour the war dead of the lodge at a cost of Eighty pounds, this alter is still used in the lodge today. On the 9th. Of Feb. 1923 a dedication ceremony was held for the purpose of unveiling the alter, this was carried out by Bro. Col. J. Maurice Arthur C.M.G., D.S.O., who paid tribute to the fallen, R.W.M. Bro. Wm. Blair presided on that occasion. This P.M. of the lodge went on to be secretary of the lodge for many years and was responsible for publishing the history of The Operative Lodge No. 203 covering 150 years of it's existence and indeed that is where most of the information for this brief history in today's programme comes from.

Wm. Blair R.W.M. also presented to the lodge a wicket for use in the mark lodge and is still used today. As I.P.M. he presented to the lodge two Deacon's rods and also a rough ashler and a perfect ashler for use within the lodgeroom.

It was also in June of this year that the Burgh  war memorial was unveiled at which all the local lodges were in attendance.

This year was the lodge’s 125th anniversary, a meeting was held to mark this occasion and a large deputation from P.G.L. was present, the usual loyal and Masonic toasts were exchanged with an excellent harmony to follow.

Bro. Thomas Armour was congratulated on becoming Provost of Airdrie during this year.

On the sporting front 203 made it's mark in the Province winning the Sir Robert King Stewart bowling trophy two years in succession 1926/27.

In 1929 Bro. Robert Paterson was installed as R.W.M. this was indeed a memorable occasion as he was the fourth generation of Robert Paterson's to occupy the chair in our lodge. As you may notice from the list of P.M.'s the family of Paterson's was one of the most influential in our lodge. 

At the beginning of 1931 the Lodge had to go into mourning for six months owing to the death of The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Bro Sir Robert King Stewart of Murdostoun.

On the 14th of April 1934 the lodge received a gift of a beautiful gong for use in the M.M. degree from Bro. Wm. Henderson.  Engraving of the gong cost 3/6.

 

 

  It was reported in 1935 that Bro. David Martyn had received from the king the O.B.E, a letter of congratulations was sent to him for this honour.

ON the 12th of Feb. 1936 a letter from P.G.L. was read stating that the lodge had to go into mourning for his late Majesty King George V. until 30th April, the lodge not only draped the alter but also draped sashes, aprons and jewels at this time. 

1937 brought about the death of one of the lodges most prominent masters Bro. Cuthbert R. Larkman who was master from 1910 till 1912 and at the time was P.P.G.S.W., Past Z. in the Royal Arch and Past Preceptor in the Knights Templar. He was perceived to be one of the most knowledgeable masons around, and carried out degree work to the very highest standard. He lived his life for freemasonry and was recognised as being an authority on all things Masonic.

It was passed in open lodge on the 23rd of Nov. 1939 that all the old lodge minute books be deposited in Airdrie Savings Bank for safe keeping where they are still kept to this very day.

At the meeting of 14th. Feb. 1940 it was reported that the lodge had again successfully defended the right in our charter to keep the office of mark master, although thanks were due to the R.W.M. and the W.S.W. for moving an amendment, it was considered that the work done by Bro. Sec. Wm. Blair in penning letters to about fifty Grand Officers and Committee members must have had some weight with the decision, and as such the lodges thanks were minuted.

Again the lodge continued to meet throughout the Second World War, and contributed to the war effort in any way it could.

After opening the lodge on the 8th Sept. 1943 the R.W.M. said he felt sure the news on the wireless at six o'clock namely that Italy had unconditionally surrendered would be pleasing to all.

On the 15th June 1946 a Mark lodge was held and 54 M.M.s were advanced to the honorary degree of mark master, and indeed on 10th of May of the following year a further 72 M.M.s were advanced.

The lodges habit! Of initiating four of the one family cropped up again when a father and three sons were initiated on the 24th of Mar. 1948 and were Hugh Kinniburgh sen., Hugh Kinniburgh jun., James Kinniburgh and Robert S. Kinniburgh.

In appreciation for the office-bearers running dances to raise funds for the lodge, the building fund committee arranged a drive as it had the previous year but in 1948 the cars were available but there was no petrol to be had.

Unfortunately for the lodge this year was to be the end of an era for them.  In July of 1948 the lodge was told of the death of the Bro. Sec. Wm. Blair who as was already mentioned penned the history of the Lodge and was secretary for many years; he was indeed a great loss to the brethren.  There was to be another great stalwart of the Lodge prepared to fill this void when at the St. John's day meeting Robert F. Baird P.M. was installed into the secretary's post and also filled this office for many years. 

The year of 1949 was the lodge’s 150th anniversary and was celebrated in the usual manner with a re-dedication ceremony and dinner attended by THE MOST WORSHIPFUL G.M.M. THE EARL OF GALLOWAY L.L., J.P. and Grand Lodge office bearers and PROVINCIAL  GRAND MASTER  CAPT. JOHN C. STEWART D.L., J.P. and his office bearers, with R.W.M. JAMES CLARK presiding. A night of speeches and harmony followed.

 

On the 23rd Jan. 1952 a circular was read from Grand Lodge stating that all lodges were to go into mourning for 3 months owing to the death of King George VI, R.W. Past Grand Master, and that [1] the alter had to be covered in crape, [2] the aprons, gauntlets and jewels of masters and office-bearers be also covered and [3] that no social functions to held until after the Memorial Grand Lodge of Sorrow be held.

It was unanimously agreed on the 28th of May 1952 that a letter be sent, congratulating P.M. James Walker on being appointed Provost of Airdrie.

In the correspondence of a meeting held 10th June 1953 a telegram from Buckingham Palace conveying Her Majesty The Queen's sincere thanks to the Lodge for the Loyal message sent to her on the occasion of her coronation.

In March 1954 the Lodge was presented with a new set of F.C. working tools by Bro. Hugh Baird.

The following meeting in March two very interesting points arose, firstly it was proposed and seconded that the Lodge should seek negotiations with the owner of a suitable piece of land with the view of building our own temple.  And it was also proposed and seconded that we have a Masonic ball on the third Friday of February the following year, which has continued to this day.

On the 23rd of Feb. 1955 it was agreed that when "Passing or Raising" the Lodge the W.J.W. when asked if satisfied if all who remain are F.C's or M.M's will state so and add "if each brother is satisfied with his neighbour”.

On Wed.12th Oct. of this year it was brought to the attention of the Lodge the availability of two pieces of vacant ground in Airdrie by Bro. Jas. Clark jun. S.S., one of them being Clark St. After receiving expert advice it was decided at the following meeting 26th Oct. that an offer of £200.00 be submitted for this piece of land. This bid was accepted by Airdrie Town Council and a Notice of Motion was moved by Bro. Alex Gray S.D. and Bro. David Mc Lean P.M.Mk.M. that the general committee be permitted to withdraw the £200.00 pounds plus any additional funds required to pay any incurred legal expenses.

This notice of motion was carried on the 25th Jan. 1956.

Jan. 11th a letter of thanks was received from P.M. John Sneddon thanking the Lodge for their message of congratulations on being elected Grand Superintendent of the Prov. R.A. Chapter [M.W.]

A special meeting held on Mon. 16th April to discuss the erection of our Masonic Temple in Clark St., after a lengthy discussion it was decided that the temple be built by voluntary labour, an amendment was put forward to wait until the lodge had raised more money.  This was defeated 83 votes to 22.

A circular was sent to every member appealing for donations to build a temple worthy of the dignity of the Lodge.  By June the lodge had received donations of £100.00 and the plans for the Temple were there for the members to view.

In the correspondence of the regular meeting 22nd Aug 1956 a letter was read from Lodge

Thorntree No.1038 asking us to limit the number of our deputation to only 40. 

 

      

Wed. 12th Sept a circular was read from P.G.L. stating that the S.W. and the J.W. could only administer the obligation in their own Lodge.

12th June 1957 R.W.M. Allan Baird gave a special welcome to visitor L.A.F. Van Geel of Lodge Deunie Utrecht, Holland.

At the Annual General meeting on the 11th Dec. 1957 it was decided to request that Bro. John Drysdale act as overseer to the building of the new Temple.

 

A combined committee meeting on Wed. 5th Mar. 1958 decided that 250,000 bricks were to be bought from Drumbathie brickworks and 15 tons of washed gravel from R. Paterson & sons for the concrete foundations. Arrangements were made for the laying of the foundation stone on the 8th March.

At the regular meeting of 14th May 1958 labour organiser Albert Farmer spoke of the poor turnout of volunteer workers at the building of the temple.

A small fire was reported in one of the huts on the building site, which was extinguished by a brother of another Lodge who happened to be passing.

In 1959 R.W.M. Alex Gray wrote to Grand Lodge Sec. Asking that the brethren of the Lodge stand to order as E.a., F.Cs and M.Ms. to which he received a reply from the Prov. Sec. Telling him in no uncertain terms that he would be well advised to uphold the traditions of such a well established Lodge.

Work on the Temple continued at a very slow pace, with a lot of the work being carried out by willing helpers of the other local lodges.  It was decided to ask building companies for quotes to complete the building work.

At the St. John's Day meeting on the 27th Dec. 1961 Bro. George Sneddon P.M. P.G.S.W. was installed and in attendance was two members of Grand Lodge office-bearers Henry Blair Grand Architect and James Stirling Grand Steward.

At the regular meeting 27th March 1963 the Lodge received a magnificent gift of a Masters and two Wardens chairs from Airdrie St. John No. 166 for our new Temple, these were received with grateful thanks.

26th of June 1964 a letter was read out from our sister Lodge, New Monkland Montrose asking if we would accept a gift of Wardens pedestals, mallets and columns for our new Temple. These gifts were presented to the Lodge on the 25th Nov. and our sincere thanks were given to New Monkland Montrose No. 88 for them.

The Temple nearing completion the general and building committee insured the building for £20,000 at a cost of £2 .10 shillings per annum in April 1965.

The first meeting in the new Temple was finally held on the 9th. Nov. 1966 Bro. James Tennant R.W.M. presiding, one of the first items of business was correspondence from Grand Lodge asking all the lodges to consider removing the antient penalties from the obligations as they considered them to be outdated and unnecessarily horrific, it was decided to refer this to a sub-committee to discuss.  The degree on this evening being an E.A. DEG. By the Lodge's Past Master's, the mallet of authority being presented to R.F. Baird P.M., S.W.: -George Sneddon,  J.W.:- David Mc'lean , S.D.:- William Osborne , J.D. :- James Mc'fadyen , I.G. :- Ian Blacklock. 5 candidates were initiated namely Alex T. Beattie, Gordon E. Jones, Kenneth M. Roberts, William P. Miller and Robert Thomson.

                                                                                                                                          The first visiting lodge to confer a degree in the new temple was New Monkland Montrose No. 88 who conferred a Fellowcraft degree followed by Airdrie St. John No. 166 who conferred a Master-Mason degree a few weeks later.

At one of the very first committee meetings a discussion was held on having a dance in the new temple, and it was decided to purchase stiletto heel pads to protect the floor.

At the regular meeting on the 25th Jan. 1967 the minutes of the Gen. Committee were read concerning the antient penalties with a recommendation that the Lodge drop these from the obligation, this was met with great opposition and vote was taken defeating the committee's decision.

Also at this meeting the name of "203 Social Club" was accepted and it was agreed that we would apply for a club licence which was granted on 6th. Sept. 1967.

14th March 1970 a special meeting was held by R.W.M. Walter M.G. Spiers for the purpose of presenting Bro. Robert F. Baird with the Diploma of Honorary Grand Bible -Bearer for his services to the Lodge and freemasonry in general. Bro. Baird had been secretary of the lodge since 1948 and carried on until 1978.

At the regular meeting dated 4th. May 1971 it was intimated that Bro. William G. Ferguson a member of the Lodge, had been appointed as Provost of Airdrie carrying on from the many other members of the Lodge who had filled this position before him.

At the general committee meeting held on 28th Mar. 1972 P.M. W. M. G. Spiers was selected as the Lodge representative on Prov. Grand Lodge Committee.

On the 14th Feb. 1973 a very special event took place in Airdrie, a visit from the Grand Master Mason David Liddell-Grainger of Ayton accompanied by K.O. Byers Deputy Grand Master Mason,  David Straiton P.G.M., R.T. Syme D.P.G.M.,  George Sneddon S.P.G.M. ,  Robert Russell S.P.G.M. and Joseph Parvin S.P.G.M. They were given a tour of all the local lodges and inspected the books and artefacts of these lodges. In the evening 203 had the privilege of having these brethren attend their regular meeting, the Grand Master mason commented on the orb and suggested that the master carry it on all ceremonial occasions and that it be mounted on the masters dais while the lodge is at work as this would add dignity and originality to the work of the Lodge. While examining

The Lodge regalia and jewels, he took a particular interest in the jewel of the Lodge Standard Bearer, it would appear that it dates back to the mid 1700's. So much was his interest in this jewel, that he asked for it to be photographed and a copy sent to him for his private collection. The Lodge since its existence had it's number on the roll of Grand Lodge changed on 3 occasions: - 1799-1809 it was No.270, 1809-1816 it was No.198,  1816- 1822 it was No.202 then finally we received our present No. of 203 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. After witnessing an excellent F.C. degree The Grand Master Mason spent a very informal length of time with the brethren of the four lodges discussing various aspects of freemasonry over a cup of tea.

At the regular meeting dated 23rd Jan 1974, a telegram from our Bro. Sec. James L. Home P.M. who at this time accompanied by I.P.M. James Gilchrist. D.M. P.M. Gary Spiers and Mk. M. John Reid P.M. were on a visit to a Lodge in Turkey advising the brethren that they had arrived safely and had received excellent hospitality.    

 

 

The meeting of Wed. 28th. August 1974 was the 175th. Anniversary of the Lodge, in attendance on behalf of Grand Lodge was Right Worshipful Depute Grand Master Capt. R. Wolridge Gordon of Esslemont also Provincial Grand Master Bro. David Straiton accompanied by their respective deputation's. On this occasion the R.W.M. James F. Stevenson, R.W.D.G. Master and P.G. Master presented 50-Year Membership Diplomas to 11 brethren who were congratulated on reaching this milestone in their Masonic career.  

A celebration dinner followed the meeting with the usual toasts and harmony to follow.

On the 9th April 1975, P.M. James Mc Fadyen Presented to the Lodge from the Lodge of Instruction a carafe and two glasses for use during the meetings also a donation of £100 to the Lodge funds.

14th of April 1976 it was decided that the Lodge should publish P.M. Dennis Greenwood's lecture on Masonic History and Education at the cost of £1.50 each  

In 1976 a meeting was held between Prov. Grand Lodge and the local lodges with the view of raising £25,000 towards a lasting presentation such as a medical library for Monklands Hospital, this was considered to be a very worthwhile cause and many fund-raising events were to be held such as dances, autumn fayre's and in particular a pro-am golf competition at Drumpelier which raised the sum of £2,600.

The name of 203 was being carried far and wide at this time, a presentation of a Masonic bible was to be made to Bro. William Truesdale who was being installed as master in Lodge Renown Park, South Australia.

On the 25th of March 1978 Lodge Fleur- De-Lys No. 1722 had the erection and consecration of that Lodge and the installation of their office-bearers in our temple. 203 being one of it's sponsors and many brethren of our lodge being founder members.

In March of this year the social committee recommended that the Lodge endeavour to rent a colour television for the month of June, I wonder if this had anything to do with the world cup in Argentina.

By 1982 the Lodge was considering extending the building by drawing up proper plans and estimating costs, after extensive discussion on the subject this was agreed to by the brethren.

The original minute book from 8th. Dec. 1982 until 6th July 1983 were unfortunately destroyed by fire, but thanks to the endeavours of past masters, office bearers and brethren and in particular P.M. Tom Mathieson acting Sec. Who collated all the information gathered from the following records: - sederunt book, petition book, roll book, enquiry committee record sheets and other information from the brethren the minutes were rewritten.

In 1984 the Lodge asked for tenders to be submitted for the building of the extension to the lodge, and on the 12th of Sept. the Lodge accepted a recommendation from the building and property committee to accept the tender from Bonnybridge Builders of £39,745 for this work.

 

On Wed. 14th of Nov. of that year 20 candidates were advanced to the honorary degree of M.M.M.

The Lodge entered a team in the Inter-Lodge six a side football tournament organised by Airdrie St. John 166 and came home triumphant.

In January 1989 Bro. Gary Spiers P.M.D.M. was elected to the office of  Provincial Grand Senior Warden, and was installed on 8th. Aug. of that year.

In May 1990 a deputation from our sister Lodge Caldercruix St. John 1314 attended a Gen. Committee meeting to discuss the possibility of them using our Temple.

It was intimated on 27th Feb. 1991 that the Ladies Committee had organised and prepared relief parcels for the servicemen in the Gulf.

In June 1993 the Lodge of Instruction presented to the Lodge a set of plaques depicting the working tools of the 3 degrees which still adorn the lodge at this time.

A letter from Mrs May Gilchrist the R.W.M.'s wife was read at the regular meeting 10th Nov.! 993 stating that the sum of £1069 had been raised by the Ladies Committee, £300 pounds was sent to the Scottish Children's Hospice and the remainder was to purchase a new oven for the kitchen.

During this year many discussions took place with 1314 and R.A. chapter 201 about the possibility of using our premises.

After the installation of R.W.M. John Brown on 27th Dec. the master made a presentation to Bro. Robert F. Baird P.M. who on this occasion was celebrating 50 years of being a P.M. many of these years as secretary of the Lodge.

On the 3rd of May 1994 Lodge Caldercruix St. John 1314 held their first meeting in our Temple.

On the 25th of May a letter from the master's wife, Mrs. Mary Brown was read thanking the lodge for it's assistance in raising £505.00 of this sum £305 was donated to Cancer Care.

In Sept. of this year the 203 golf team won the Prov. Golf Tournament.

Also in this month the death of P.M. Jim Clark was reported, his sons presented back to the lodge his P.M.'s apron, which is on display in the hall cabinet.

At the regular meeting 9th. Nov. the Lodge was presented with 50 working aprons by the Lodge of Instruction. 

In January 1995 P.M. Tom Donald proposed that a second collection be sought for the BI-centenary fund, this was duly passed.

WED. 27th Sept. R.W.M. T. Sorbie presented P.M. David Mc Lean with his jubilee diploma.

Bro. Jim Mc Fadyen P.M. reported that Lodge member Bro. Ian Mc Fadyen had been installed as master of Lodge Fiery Creek No. 157 Victoria Australia.

On the 8th. Nov. a new organ was donated to the Lodge by Bro. Ian Mc Leish for which grateful thanks were sent.

The death of P.M. Robert F. Baird was announced to the Lodge on the 13th. Dec., this was a great loss to the brethren as he was a very faithful servant to the Lodge.

The 27th. Dec. was indeed a strange day for the Lodge, for the first time in many years a master was installed for a consecutive year, this honour fell to Bro. Tom Sorbie who decided he would not have an installing board this year. This was to prove a blessing in disguise as the top lounge where this ceremony is normally held suffered burst pipes and the ceiling collapsed. This did not spoil the evening and the brethren carried on with the harmony after the meeting.

January 1996 it was reported that P.M.D.M. David W. Smillie had been elected to the position of Prov. Grand Inner Guard.

On the 28th. Feb R.W.M. T Sorbie reported on heading a deputation to Royal Alfred Lodge No. 1028 Alfreton Nottinghamshire on the installation of 203 member Bro. Ian S. Johnston as master of that lodge. Another Brother of the Lodge Frank J. Cameron attained the chair of Jubilee Lodge No. 5555 [Preston] in April of this year.

At the regular meeting of 24th April Jim Carmichael P.M. Alm. Reported that the "friends of 203" had decided to help the Lodge out by paying 50% of the cost of the new regalia that the Lodge intended buying for the BI-centenary. This offer was gratefully accepted.

On Saturday the 12th of April brethren of the lodge took part in a sponsored walk from the Lodge to the Wallace Monument in Stirling in commemoration of our ancestors who had walked there to assist in laying the foundation stone of this monument. This was the idea of our S.B. Bro. Ian Mc Comb and raised the sum of £1000.

In August of 1997 the Lodge golf team had a very successful performance in the Prov. Golf Tournament, they lifted every trophy except one and were congratulated in open Lodge for their efforts.

On the 28th Aug. the death of P.M. Archie Reid was reported, P.M. Reid was the Lodges oldest surviving P.M. at this time.

A deputation from The Mark Lodges of Derbyshire headed by Worshipful Bro.Liverly attended the M.M.M. degree held on the 12th Nov. Bro. Liverly presented to the Lodge a beautiful Keystone, which was accepted with pleasure.

Three brothers were initiated into the Lodge on the 11th. Feb. 1998 they were Mark T Sneddon, David R. Sneddon and William Sneddon, this was the first time in many years that this had happened.

On the 24th March 1999 the Lodge had its annual visit from Provincial Grand Lodge, they were headed on this occasion by R.W. Prov. Grand master Bro. George Kelly assisted by S.P.G. Master James Shanks and several office-bearers and committee members. The R.W.M. John Gardner accompanied by these distinguished brethren then presented Bro. Walter M.G. Spiers P.M.S.M. P.P.S.W with the Jewel of Honorary Grand Senior Deacon and a framed diploma, R.W.M. J. Gardner congratulated him and commented on the honour that he brought, not only on himself but to the Lodge as well.

P.G.M. George Kelly and S.P.G.M. James Shanks passed on their congratulations also, to which P.M. Gary Spiers suitably replied.

This brief account of the Lodge's history brings us up to the present day but it is hoped that some time in the near future that a brother will carry on the work of P.M. WM. BLAIR and bring his history book up to date.