AT LAST OUR OWN HOME -- ( Masonic Hall 2nd )1911 -- 1935
The eventual location of our New Hall can be seen on the ordnance Survey Map which was surveyed in 1913 - published in 1920. Built only approximately 100 yards south of our present home on the Inverkeithing road and eventually replaced by today's Muir Court.
Among the offers of help, was that from Bro. David Beveridge who, appropriately enough now holding the office of Lodge Architect immediately offered to draw up the plans for the new building -- free of charge. He produced the first set on 7th November, 1906.
The plans presented by Bro. Beveridge in 1906 were not the only set he presented to the Lodge, as he presented others until, in November of 1910, his plans were accepted. In March 1911, Bro. Beveridge presented estimates which, from all trades amounted to £706-13/- 1/2 p. and by July of that year there was a request for money from Andrew Nesbit - Builder of Lochgelly.
At a committee meeting in September the Secretary was instructed to write to Bro. Penman re-giving up lease of hall presently occupied by the Lodge. One interesting major change to Lodge procedures took place just before the Lodge moved into our new Hall, when a G.Lodge Communication in November informed them that 3 black balls shall exclude a Candidate, while in the Colonies and in foreign parts may enact that 2 black balls shall exclude.
In November, according to our minutes - a social and dance was held to mark the opening of the new hall with 50 Brethren and their wives and sweethearts present.
The Dundee Courier of 17th November 1911, reported that } ' The new Masonic Hall of Lodge St. John (540 ) was formally opened at Crossgates on Friday evening, when an assembly of about 100 Freemasons and friends were present. The new Hall, which is situated near the Public School, will accommodate from 300 to 400, and ranks as one of the best Masonic Halls in Fife. The building cost about £600 '.
The following week on the 29th November, 1911 -- the Lodge met in our own Hall for the first time with Bro. Alex Spence R.W.M., and worked a 1st degree at which four candidates were initiated, three of whom had just been balloted. The attendance at this first meeting was 26, a rough average for the following couple of years.
The Lodge was presented with presents for the new Hall which included a Picture of the late King Edward 3rd. from P.M. Wallace and a Picture of our Natonal Bard from Bro. William Muir.
In January 1914, an attempt was made to alter our bye laws, namely with regards to the age limit. Mr. John Clarke was initially refused admission into the Lodge because of his age. After some discussions with G. Lodge, we won permission to delete this Bye Law and in February, } REV. John Clarke aged, - 64 was initiated. Rev Clarke was one of a long line of Crossgates Clergymen to become members of our Lodge.
By now the world was at War and in Dec. 1914 the Lodge announced that a Roll of Honour should be kept with regards to the Brethren who were serving in H.M.Forces.
In January, 1915 the Lodge was closed for an indefinite period due to the Hall being occupied by the Military but the purpose of this is not made clear in our Minutes nor how long this situation lasted as the Lodge seems to have continued as normal.
Although these were hard times the Lodge continued to let the Hall to various Organisations among whom included Court Edwin Forresters, Lilly of the Vale Free Gardiners, The Temperance Society, The Womens Guild, not to mention the various Football clubs, the Crossgates Brass Band and next door the Public School was by now over crowded, and the Education Authority would be hiring our Halls until the present (2016 ) School was built in Dunfermline Road in 1923
In December of 1915, the Lodge continued to do its bit for the War effort when it granted the use of the Hall for a concert ' in favour of our soldiers at the Front '.
In August of 1918, the Lodge held a Church Service - a fairly common occurrence in these days - which included the march from our Hall to the Church accompanied by some of our Sister Lodges, and on this occasion headed by the Bowhill Brass Band, who gave their services 'gratis '. The attendance at this Service included 41 members of our own Lodge and 64 visitors. Present on this occasion was one of our most illustrious members, Bro. Right Honourable Adamson M.P., a native of Halbeath who was initiatated into Lodge St.John on 12th June 1912. In March of the following year he was presented with Life Membership of the Lodge. Five years later in 1923, Bro. Adamson was again in attendance when the Lodge celebrated its Jubillee with another Service in Mossgreen Church with Bowhill Brass Band also once again in attendance, and on returning to the Lodge Room when tea and cakes were served, in an address to the Lodge He intimated that He had been a member of Lodge St.John all of his Masonic Life, although not an Office Bearer. It was his opinion that one of the greatest influences of the State, was Freemasonry. They wanted to increase and to extend and bring all men within the Glorious Sphere.
In September of 1918 the Lodge received a letter from the School Board declining to assist in erecting a a folding partition, so Bro. Reid was instructed to have the curtain refixed.
In early 1919 mention was made again of our Roll of Honour to be completed but deferred pending further information of numbers of the Brethren who had given service in H.M. Forces. Unfortunately no further mention of this Roll has so far been found. but in February of 1919, two Brethren were nominated to attend a meeting in the Public School in March to consider raising of a public testimonial to the men who had fallen in the War.
An indication of how our Hall was being used came when Mrs. Lindsay was refused permission to rent the Hall for dancing as it was fully occupied otherwise. This was reflected in the Lodge business of this time when our minutes of 28th May 1919 show that 20 Brethren were Passed, there was a Ballot on 3 gentlemen then 5 were Initiated } -- R.W.M. Bro. Alexander opened the meeting then handed over to D.M. Bro. Air to work a F.C. degree. The Lodge was then reduced and P.M. Bro.Parker worked a 1st Degree. At the following meeting 41 Brethren were made M.M.Masons.
The continuing growth of the village was evident in June, when the education Authorities asked for more room in the Hall to include infant pupils after meeting with the Head Master Mr. Lowe. It was later agreed with the Authorities to put extra desks in the hall to accommodate extra Senior pupils instead. The School Board were to pay extra to meet the cost of same - to engage two men to move the desks when necessary. Clearly a nice earner for the Lodge
This was clearly a successful and busy time for Lodge St. John. At our Regular Meeting of 8th Sept. 1919 - 8 Brethren were Raised, 20 men Balloted ( 4 unsuccessfully ) and 9 petitions were read. 0n 15th Oc.- 7 were Passed 12 clear Ballots and 10 Petitions read. On 19th Nov. - 15 were Passed, 21 entered 3 clear Ballots and 35 petitions were read. Also on the 19th Nov., it is not surprising that the Lodge received a letter from Bro. John Caddogan requesting that they look favourably on a petition to open a Lodge in Hill of Beath.
On the 26th of Nov., - 22 Brethren were Passed 23 entered and a letter was also received from G.Lodge asking that no more than 7 to be entered, passed or Raised in any Lodge or on any one day. This was to take effect on or after December 1st, 1919. On the 17th December the Lodge agreed to support and put forward to P.G.L., a petition to form a Lodge in Hill of Beath. Although Lodge St John agreed to grant the sum of £10-10/- towards the Inauguration fund of Lodge Hill of Beath 1214, It would take over a year before this would come into effect, and sadly this Lodge only existed until 1937.
An indication of how busy the Lodge St.John was, came in the number of Brethren taking part in the Ballot for the office of R.W.M. when Bro. A. Bowie received 137 votes to Bro. S.Walker's 90 votes. Bro. Walker would become R.W.M. in 1924.
With the War over, our ' Home' continued to be a focus point in the village, and in early January 1920 the committee agreed to install a stove in the cellar of the Hall which would which would become well used the following year. The following month the Secretary was instructed to write to the Fife Electric Company with a view to having electric lights installed in the Hall.
By April the Lodge had agreed to pay £15 of current for 5 years and £25 towards extension of cable. The decision was made to accept an offer to install fittings in the Hall for electric lights for £58-10/-.
1920 also saw the Lodge receiving a request from the Order of the Eastern Star for the use of our Hall -an association which lasted until quite recently. This year also saw the Lodge decide to pay off the Mortgage on the Hall although it would be November of the following year before we finally received our title deeds.
With the War over the Country must have been looking forward and hoping for better days to come. Unfortunately in March of 1921, the Country now began to suffer hardships once again and the Community of Crossgates certainly began to suffer as the National Miners Strike began to take effect. Given our Lodge's membership history and the occupation of so many of our members it is no surprise that the Lodge helped where it could.
In April of 1921, R.W.M. Bro Alex Bowie appealed to the Lodge to grant the use of the hall room downstairs for use as a soup kitchen and this was granted. Two weeks later the Hall was also granted for a dance in aid of the kitchen fund. In May the Lodge donated the sum of £10 (a not inconsiderable sum in those days ) to the communal Fund and continued use of the Hall for dances for same.
By 1922 the Lodge Hall was still in demand by the various other organisations in the village. these included the Mossgreen Church seeking to use an ante-room, the Dramatic Society who unfortunately were unsuccessful in their appeal as the hall was still in the occupation of the Education Authorities and the the football Club (Crossgates Thistle who were granted the use of the basement for stripping ).
Being used by the many other Organisations within the village shows how much our Lodge was a part of the Community and of course this all helped with the Finances. However a small portent of things to come was when P.G.Lodge visited in December of 1923. A small reprimand for the fact that the door to the ante-room was neither locked nor Tyled, was followed by the comment that although the Funds of the Lodge were in credit, we should exercise care in expenditure and husband our resources.
This timely reminder came after probably the biggest blow to our regular income , when the new School was opened in in Dunfermline Road on 31st March 1923. Two years later, having purchased the existing Public School, the Miners Union, having made the necessary alterations opened the building as a Miners Welfare and Memorial Institute in 1925. This of course now provided another hall for the use of some of the Organisations which had previously used the Lodge.
By May of 1927, the Lodge was looking to have reduced payments with regards to our feu duties, due to reduced hall letting income. A few years earlier we had been informed that if the hall was to contiue being used as a school then a wall would have to be built around the building and in 1928 it is recorded that the football club were asking for the fence around the hall to be repaired with a gate put in to give them access to the park.
Just to show that vandalism existed back then and to give an indication of how big our hall was, came in 1928 when it was reported that thirty panes of glass had been broken. This was duly put in the hands of the Police and the estimate for repairs came to £2-2/-. Some time later the Hall suffered faults leading to leaks in the roof.
All of this of course did not help Lodge Finances, which began to suffer as some of the other Organisations went their own way and by 1933 the P.G.M. remarked on the lack of candidates in the past year. In March of 1934 our Balance showed only £9-15-7.
It would now seem that the Lodge was beginning to struggle so when in December of 1934 a local businessman (a Mr Crawford ) offered to buy the Hall, but the Committee having deemed his offer of £200 to be too small, rejected his offer. The following week however, after meeting again the Committee decided to accept his offer.
9th January 1935, and a " peculiar position ". At a Special Meeting, R.W.M. Bro. Thomas Campbell explained the reason for a Special Meeting having been called. He explained that although " the Committee had decided to accept the offer of £200 on the 27th Dec., but then a peculiar position was created when Bro. Reid offered £220. In view of the fact that the first offer had been interviewed and we had been unsuccessful in persuading him to increase his offer, it was ultimately decided to accept the best offer ( Bro. Reid's ) which was then concluded and a cheque handed over ''.
At the Committee meeting which followed the decision was made to hand over the Title deeds but it was ascertained that we could use the hall until May. It was then decided to open up negotiations with the owners of the rooms in the grounds of the Miners Institute with a view to purchasing. Could this have been the old school house ?. Bro. Reid offered to lend as much assistance as possible, but by the following week he was too ill to do this, so Bro. Beveridge then took on the responsibility. Once again Bro. Beveridge would soon also feature in his occupational capacity.