Public Occasions

In the early years of the Lodge’s history, the Brethren appeared in public in their regalia regularly. The Lodge marched from its meeting place to a local church for an annual Divine Service. Usually a band headed the procession. It was not unusual for Brethren to request a Masonic Funeral. This also required the Lodge to appear in public. Freemasons were invited to perform the laying of foundation stones of important public buildings. Two events are detailed below.

On St. John’s Day, 25th December, 1884 the Lodge held a torchlight procession to celebrate the anniversary. The Brethren assembled in the Lodge Room, 87 George Street, at 7 p.m. on that date. They marched in procession with lighted torches, headed by the Whiteinch Brass Band, along George Street to Dumbarton Road at the Beehive, proceeding along Dumbarton Road to Partick. The procession then by way of Clarendon Street to Church Street where they were joined by the Master, Andrew M. Smith. The procession numbered in all about forty Brethren. The Lodge was opened and passed into harmony. It seems the harmony continued “until an advanced hour”.

Within a few months of the Lodge’s erection, it participated in the laying of the foundation stone of the new Municipal Buildings in George Square. A very detailed account of what must have been an historic occasion in the life of our city may be found in a volume entitled New Municipal Buildings reference 725.13. It is contained in the Glasgow Collection in the Mitchell Library.

 

On 6th October 1883, this magnificent ceremonial was carried out. Although it was autumn, the Great Architect must have looked favourably upon the event, for the author of the book stated that, “The day might be said to have been borrowed from summer.” Such was the significance attached to the proceedings that, in all public works, labour was suspended for the day; warehouses and shops were closed. By mid-day, it was estimated that there half a million onlookers in the streets of the city.

The procession itself consisted of 35,000 participants. The length of the procession was 4 miles and it took 3 hours to pass any point along the route.

The civic and masonic procession gathered in the square of the Royal Infirmary, whilst the trades processions left from elsewhere. At 1 p.m., the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow was opened in solemn form by the Provincial Grand Master, Bro. William Pearce, in the Chapter House of Glasgow Cathedral. Among the distinguished Brethren attending were the Provincial Grand Masters of Renfrewshire East, Ayrshire, Argyll and the Isles, Dunbartonshire, the Middle and Upper Wards of Lanarkshire, Dumfriesshire, the Senior Grand Warden and the Provincial Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada. The Lord Provost Bro. John Ure having been found worthy was admitted to Provincial Grand Lodge. The Brethren of the Lodge of Glasgow St. John 3bis were according to ancient custom presented with the working tools. Provincial Grand Lodge was adjourned and its members joined the civic leaders to worship in the Cathedral. The procession was formed by the Provincial Grand Marshall. Lodge St. John Whiteinch as the most junior Lodge was placed at the head of the procession. The civic leaders and Freemasons thereafter proceeded to George Square. On reaching St. Vincent Place, it took open order to allow the Provoncial Grand Lodge to pass through the ranks. 5,000 brethren were present.

The ceremonial laying of the foundation stone then commenced. George Square was packed with 60,000 people in addition to those in the processions. After silence had been established, the National Anthem was sung. The Senior Magistrate asked the Provincial Grand Master to carry out the ceremony. Bro. Pearce delegated this duty to the Lord Provost. Prayer was offered.

A number of coins, civic statutes, newspapers and a copy of the Constitutions and Bye-Laws of the Grand Lodge of Scotland were deposited in the stone. The Lord Provost applied the plumb-rule, the level and the square to the foundation stone. Cornucopias of wine and oil were appropriately used. As a memento of the occasion, the Lord Provost presented the Provincial Grand Master with a silver trowel.

The Provincial Grand Lodge proceeded to the Council Chambers in Ingram Street where it was closed in due and ancient form at 4:30 p.m. Thus from early morning to late afternoon, the city was occupied by this most wonderful event. For all of us who are currently familiar with George Square, it is difficult to imagine it in a different state. Great stands were erected on the site of the City Chambers for civic leaders, guests and processions. On either side of the Square, impressive archways had been constructed.

The day’s proceedings did not however end at 4:30. A dinner for 500 gentlemen was held in the evening. A record of the speeches made at the dinner are contained in the aforementioned book. The role played by the Freemasons of Glasgow on 6th October, 1883 was very ably and sincerely mentioned in Lord Provost Ure’s toast to the Grand Lodge of Scotland. He said that “without doubt the proceedings of today would have lost much of their interest if the Freemasons had been absent.” Thus was our great city provided with an edifice in which to conduct its business and one whose foundation was well and truly laid.

In the early years of the Lodge’s history, the Brethren appeared in public in their regalia regularly. The Lodge marched from its meeting place to a local church for an annual Divine Service. Usually a band headed the procession. It was not unusual for Brethren to request a Masonic Funeral. This also required the Lodge to appear in public. Freemasons were invited to perform the laying of foundation stones of important public buildings. Two events are detailed below.

On St. John’s Day, 25th December, 1884 the Lodge held a torchlight procession to celebrate the anniversary. The Brethren assembled in the Lodge Room, 87 George Street, at 7 p.m. on that date. They marched in procession with lighted torches, headed by the Whiteinch Brass Band, along George Street to Dumbarton Road at the Beehive, proceeding along Dumbarton Road to Partick. The procession then by way of Clarendon Street to Church Street where they were joined by the Master, Andrew M. Smith. The procession numbered in all about forty Brethren. The Lodge was opened and passed into harmony. It seems the harmony continued “until an advanced hour”.

Within a few months of the Lodge’s erection, it participated in the laying of the foundation stone of the new Municipal Buildings in George Square. A very detailed account of what must have been an historic occasion in the life of our city may be found in a volume entitled New Municipal Buildings reference 725.13. It is contained in the Glasgow Collection in the Mitchell Library.

On 6th October 1883, this magnificent ceremonial was carried out. Although it was autumn, the Great Architect must have looked favourably upon the event, for the author of the book stated that, “The day might be said to have been borrowed from summer.” Such was the significance attached to the proceedings that, in all public works, labour was suspended for the day; warehouses and shops were closed. By mid-day, it was estimated that there half a million onlookers in the streets of the city.

The procession itself consisted of 35,000 participants. The length of the procession was 4 miles and it took 3 hours to pass any point along the route.

The civic and masonic procession gathered in the square of the Royal Infirmary, whilst the trades processions left from elsewhere. At 1 p.m., the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow was opened in solemn form by the Provincial Grand Master, Bro. William Pearce, in the Chapter House of Glasgow Cathedral. Among the distinguished Brethren attending were the Provincial Grand Masters of Renfrewshire East, Ayrshire, Argyll and the Isles, Dunbartonshire, the Middle and Upper Wards of Lanarkshire, Dumfriesshire, the Senior Grand Warden and the Provincial Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada. The Lord Provost Bro. John Ure having been found worthy was admitted to Provincial Grand Lodge. The Brethren of the Lodge of Glasgow St. John 3bis were according to ancient custom presented with the working tools. Provincial Grand Lodge was adjourned and its members joined the civic leaders to worship in the Cathedral. The procession was formed by the Provincial Grand Marshall. Lodge St. John Whiteinch as the most junior Lodge was placed at the head of the procession. The civic leaders and Freemasons thereafter proceeded to George Square. On reaching St. Vincent Place, it took open order to allow the Provincial Grand Lodge to pass through the ranks. 5,000 brethren were present.

The ceremonial laying of the foundation stone then commenced. George Square was packed with 60,000 people in addition to those in the processions. After silence had been established, the National Anthem was sung. The Senior Magistrate asked the Provincial Grand Master to carry out the ceremony. Bro. Pearce delegated this duty to the Lord Provost. Prayer was offered.

A number of coins, civic statutes, newspapers and a copy of the Constitutions and Bye-Laws of the Grand Lodge of Scotland were deposited in the stone. The Lord Provost applied the plumb-rule, the level and the square to the foundation stone. Cornucopias of wine and oil were appropriately used. As a memento of the occasion, the Lord Provost presented the Provincial Grand Master with a silver trowel.

The Provincial Grand Lodge proceeded to the Council Chambers in Ingram Street where it was closed in due and ancient form at 4:30 p.m. Thus from early morning to late afternoon, the city was occupied by this most wonderful event. For all of us who are currently familiar with George Square, it is difficult to imagine it in a different state. Great stands were erected on the site of the City Chambers for civic leaders, guests and processions. On either side of the Square, impressive archways had been constructed.

The day’s proceedings did not however end at 4:30. A dinner for 500 gentlemen was held in the evening. A record of the speeches made at the dinner are contained in the aforementioned book. The role played by the Freemasons of Glasgow on 6th October, 1883 was very ably and sincerely mentioned in Lord Provost Ure’s toast to the Grand Lodge of Scotland. He said that “without doubt the proceedings of today would have lost much of their interest if the Freemasons had been absent.” Thus was our great city provided with an edifice in which to conduct its business and one whose foundation was well and truly laid.

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