AT LAST OUR NEW HOME --AGAIN ( 3rd Masonic Hall )
1935 -- 1946
At the beginning of March 1935, our Bank balance now showed as £6-0-4 + £220. We may have been homeless but we were certainly better off financially. Also in March 1935, attention was drawn to the fact that the old school cookery rooms were being advertised for sale. The Lodge Secretary was instructed to make enquiries and to offer £50. This was at a time when the Miners Institute was also struggling financially according to the local newspaper.
In May, the Lodge finalised the sale of our Hall to Mr. Yates (the real Buyer of the Hall ) and agreed to pay £75 for the old school kitchen/dining rooms which by October had increased thanks to 'incidentals', to £83-13/-.
Although Bro. Beveridge had submitted his plans in June, it would be 7th October 1936 before the Lodge met in our new Hall for the first time, with an attendance of 19, although the annual Nomination Meeting was held on the 4th December 1935.
There was still much work to be done on the Hall. Earlier, in June an estimate for the planned alterations was received from Br. Reid, of £261-19-6, and asking for only £100 to be paid up front, with the rest to be paid at not less than £20 per Annum. There was also a proposal to install electric lighting for the sum of £12.
After much delay, on the 23rd September the Lodge received a Deputation from P.G.Lodge to inspect the new Hall and they recommended that we install shutters for the three large windows and to install sound proofing.
On the 7th October 1936, the Lodge met in our New Home for the first time and although no degree was worked the first petition was read out. The following week on the 21st, the first Enquiry Committee meeting took place and proving favourable a ballot took place and also proved clear so that Rev. John Terris of Mossgreen became the fist initiate in our present Home.
At the end of the year discussion took place with regards to amalgamation with Lodge Hill of Beath but in the discussions it was decided -- possibly the problems of our sojourn to Cowdenbeath may have been in the minds of some of the older Brethren -- we must retain our own name of St John 540.
17th November 1937 saw P.G.Lodge, headed by Lord Elgin at the Consecration of Lodge St.John.
Although the Lodge enjoyed their time in the new Hall, storm clouds were once again gathering over Europe and with the Lodge closed for the summer break in May of 1939 -- in September, the Lodge was informed that the Hall had now been taken over by the A.R.P., although this at least brought in some finance as a sum of £25 per Annum was agreed. The following month saw the Lodge moving into yet another temporary 'Home' when our meetings now took place next door in the Miners Welfare and Memorial Institute, The first meeting took place on a Sunday, then from 1940 on Thursday's before returning to Wednesdays by the end of December. The rent for the Institute was £5 - 10 /- per Annum.
As the War proceeded the Lodge once again donated to various funds which included £10 to the War Distress Fund, £1 -1/- to the war Blinded fund and also £2 to several war related appeals.
By th end of 1944, there must have been some difficulty in acquiring Office Bearers when in December of 1944 Bro. John Elder (initiated in April and Bro. John Blyth ( initiated in May ) were proposed as W.S.W. and S.D respectively, after fulfilling the duties of S.D. and J.D. earlier in September
In January of 1945 with the War now coming to an end candidates were still forthcoming and the Annual Dance was limited to 200. The A.R.P. were to vacate our Hall from the 31st March 1945. It was decided to meet in the Hall to see what was necessary in way of restoration work was required. We now begin to have some idea of what the Hall was like as various recommendations were proposed.From our Minutes of March, November and October 1945, some alterations as follows were discussed }-
1. We should endeavour to retain the use of the additions built by the A.R.P.
2. That the present range be removed and the fireplace built up. that the future heating be by the installation of small boiler and steam pipes.
3. That the protrusion and press accommodation on the South wall be removed in order to provide a larger floor space.
4. That the present entrance to the Hall from the passage be built up and an entrance made from each of two anterooms.
5. It was felt that an improvement in the lighting of the Hall could be brought about by additional lighting points.
In November the Lodge was forced to agree to only £50-13-4d in damages from Fife Council, although the money came in handy as the Council accepted the £30 offered by the Lodge for the purchase of the air raid shelter and communication room. It was decided to install a raised platform on the south wall.
Communication was received in September of 1945 to begin restoration of the Hall, and in November the Committee met and after examination and discussion they agreed -- to install a central heating system, -- to remove old entrance porch and presses to increase available floor space, -- to remove fireplace and restore the wall, -- to build a single brick wall in the entrance hall and use the space as press accommodation, -- a new door to be placed providing entrance from each ante-room to large hall -- to restore rail for hat and coat hangers -- and to inform the County Clerk of same.
As restoration work was carried out, finally after 7 years -- on 4th September 1946, R.W.M. Andrew Brown expressed great pleasure at being able to meet in our own Home. The attendance for that evening numbered 37 and four Brethren were Passed.
By October 1946, restoration work was still on going and this was to include replacing lower half of windows in the south wall with obscure glass. From then of course, many more alterations have been carried out within our Hall to bring it to todays beautiful Hall.
Some of this work was to incorporate a Social Club and ironically at the time of returning to our Home, the Committee were having discussions as to whether to apply for a Certificate of Licence to sell intoxicating Liquor. After initially agreeing to do so, then voting against it, then agreeing to wait for 6 Months before visiting this proposal again they eventually must have found out -- just as the Committee many years later, when proposing to open a Social Club within the Lodge found out }-- that Back in 1935, the Trustees of the original owners of the land on which our Lodge is built had inserted a clause in the title deeds banning the future sale of alcohol in the building.
It cost the Lodge a considerable sum of money in legal fees to eventually overcome this problem.
The Plans which were submitted to the Lodge in 1935/6 show the original fireplace and chimney on the West wall which was removed and bricked up and which is where, many years later the current Bar was installed. The original entrance from the South wall which was where a Press was built then later dismantled to provide extra floor space. The three original long windows on the South and West walls can be seen along with the smaller four windows in the East wall, which can still be seen from the outside.
The new ante-rooms built in 1935/6 are also shown and the alterations discussed after returning to our Home in 1945 can be under stood by the Brethren who were members before the Social Club alterations took place.
The plans of 1971 show the Air raid shelter built during W.W.11 and also the addition of the store rooms which were built around 1964 by P.M. Jack Hotchkiss with help from the Brethren, part of which is now today's Bar.
Thankfully the Lodge has managed to continuously remain at " Home " although over the years we have occasionally moved next door to the Community centre to enjoy a little extra room for Ladies Nights and Installations. Notes on the temporary "homes " for dances , festivals of St John - Summer and Winter and Presentations etc., through the years are included within the file - temporary Homes.
The continuing History of our existing Home -- well, that's for another day and probably for someone else to compile.
The Drawings below which were done in 1935 show the Original Hall, the Entrance in the South wall, and also the original windows and new ante-rooms built in 1935.
plan of original Hall and ante-rooms showing fireplace, and orginal entrance on south wall.
original entrance on south facing wall and the new ante-rooms
South wall as it is today ( 2017 ) showing the air raid shelter built during W.W. 11 -now today's kitchen.
back or west wall