The Lodge continued to meet in 87 George Street until 1888, when the lease of these premises expired. The financial state of the Lodge was insecure, and this appears to have placed the Lodge’s future in jeopardy. During 1888, there was only one entrant. However, the new Master, John MacPherson, along with Secretary Alexander Robertson and Treasurer George Harvey were able to stem this state of affairs. The important role played by Brother MacPherson in ensuring St. John’s existence earned him the affectionate description, ‘Father of the Lodge’. The Lodge now moved to Allan’s Hall, Smith Street where it met from 1888 to 1894.
By 1894, the Lodge was once again looking for a new meeting place. It must have been felt that better premises would have a beneficial effect on attendances. In March 1894, the Secretary was instructed to approach the Commissioners of Partick for a let of the Lesser Hall, Burgh Building. A favourable reply was received from the Town Clerk of Partick, indicating that the rental would be £12 per annum. Without hesitation, the Lodge decided to move.
The proceedings of the first meeting held in the new hall on Thursday 20th December, 1894 are worth describing. The Brethren assembled at the old Lodge room, and after being marshalled, proceeded to the new hall, headed by the Whiteinch Brass Band and accompanied by torchbearers. After collecting the Master, they passed the first Lodge room. A halt was called and the Band played ‘Auld Lang Syne’. The procession then moved on to the new hall where the Ceremony of Installation was carried out. Deputations were received from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow and a number of the Sister Lodges. (117,178,437,441,510,553,581,609) At the Harmony, the usual toasts were proposed. The Toast to the Burgh of Partick was replied to by Baillie Tyre, in the absence of Provost Caird. He remarked that the influence of such a society i.e. Freemasonry must be potent for good in the district and he wished them every happiness and success in the occupancy of their new Lodge Room. The Rev. David Ness M.A., Honorary Chaplain, in proposing the Toast to the Visiting Brethren said “he understood Lodge St. John was given much to hospitality. Although he neither smoked, drank, or ‘gae’d with the lasses’, he had enjoyed the evenings harmony, and although some might think it inconsistent for a clergyman, he meant to sit the meeting out.”
The new premises were consecrated on 14th February, 1895 by the Provincial Grand Master Bro. John Graham of Broadstone. Thus was the Lodge settled into premises which were more suitable for Masonic purposes than any previously occupied.
By the beginning of the new century, Freemasonry had been firmly established in the district. In 1900, a total of 1,268 Brethren attended 21 Regular and 8 Special Meetings. There were 28 Initiates and 1 Affiliate. Within less than twenty years, the Lodge’s achievements had been considerable. Very fine premises had been obtained, candidates were in good supply, attendance at meetings was high and Past Masters had occupied important positions in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow.
In 1908, perhaps the most significant event in the Lodge’s history took place. On 20th February of that year, the new Burgh Hall was consecrated. This event was very fully covered by the Whiteinch Weekly Gazette. Traffic in and around the Hall was totally congested and the commencement of the meeting was delayed. The largest number of Brethren at a Masonic meeting in the West of Scotland of this period attended – around 800.
Invited guests, including the P.G.M., A. A. Haggart Spiers, and Office-Bearers were entertained to dinner beforehand in the Grand Hotel. Tickets were on sale to the brethren for 4 shillings. The Consecration Ceremony was carried out by a very substantial deputation of Provincial Grand Lodge Office-Bearers. Provincial Grand Lodge was closed and St. John opened. The Master Bro. R. Miller McLaren expressed the Lodge’s appreciation for the very fine ceremony and conferred Honorary Membership upon the P.G.M. James D. McEwan, P.M. of 683 was Provincial Grand Junior Warden in the P.G.L. Deputation. Appropriate presentations were made to the P.G.L. Office-Bearers to commemorate the occasion.
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