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History of the Lodge of Connaught & Truth No. 521


Chapter IV
Freemasons Hall, Fitzwilliam Street

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FREEMAS ONS' HAL L, FI TZ WIL LIAM S TREE T,
1855 onwards.
Plans — Foundation Stone — First Meeting — Supper Room as Lodge Room —
Resident Tylers — Lodge of Harmony accommodated — Gift of Snuff Box — Leases
— Trust Deeds — Trustees — Tenant Lodges and Side Degrees — Annexe and
Communicating Door Alterations.
APERUSAL of the foregoing pages of this History will have revealed what
an eventful period of 10-11 years it had been for.
The Lodge, before settling down in The Freemasons' Hall at
Fitzwilliam Street, where The Lodge has now continued its career for 90 years.
Towards the end of the previous Chapter reference was made to the Report of
the Officers of the Lodge, who formed the Committee, to carry out the
arrangements for the laying .of the Foundation Stone. A copy of that Report, as
contained in the Minutes of The Lodge Meeting of 5th January, 1855, is
reproduced here :--
"That the newly elected officers of the Lodge beg to report that they did in
accordance with a minute of the last regular lodge night make arrangements to carry
out the ceremony of laying the corner stone of the New Freemasons Hall in Fitzwilliam
Street and they take this opportunity of congratulating the Brethren on the
numerous attendance at the Ceremony, and the able manner in which the stone was
placed in its position by our respected Brother P.M. Wright.
A Lead Case containing the Times and our two Local papers the Huddersfield
Chronicle and the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner, was deposited in a cavity
in the stone and a copper plate was affixed to the stone with the following inscription
engraved thereon.
By the blessing of the great Architect of the Universe, in the 17th year of the
reign of our beloved Sovereign Queen Victoria the corner stone of this Freemasons
Hall for the Lodge of Truth No. 763, was laid by Bro. G. T. Wright, P.M. on Wednesday
December 27th 1854 and in the year of Masonry 5854 in the presence of a
Number of Past Masters, Officers and Brethren of the above Lodge.
Brother W. H. Brooke, Architect.
„ J . K i r k , C o n t r a c t o r .
„ J. Radcliffe, Superintendent of Works.
The foundation stone was apparentl y well and trul y laid. The
C om mi tt ee had done t hei r work well . W e i m agi ne t hat t he familiar words
would ring in their minds, with a wish of the heart going with them— that from
"the foundation laid may a superstructure be raised honourable to the builders."
At the Ceremony W. Bro. G. T. Wright, P.M., was presented by the
Brethren with a handsome silver trowel bearing the following inscription :--
"Presented to Brother G. T. Wright, P.M., by Brethren of The
Lodge of Truth, No. 763, on the occasion of his laving the Corner
Stone of The Freemasons Hall, Huddersfield, as a mark of their
esteem and an acknowledgment of valuable services rendered by him
to the Craft. December 27th, 1854."
Three of the Brethren were appointed conjointly as Treasurers to
open a Banking Account at The West Riding Union Bank, to apply the
Funds of the Lodge towards defraying the Expenses of the Lodge and the
erection of the New Hall, any deficiency to be provided by them, they
holding the Building as Security.
A Committee of six Brethren was formed in May, 1855, to solicit
subscriptions towards furnishing the new Lodge Room. There followed a
notice of int ention to propos e that "t he Brethren of The Lodge of
Truth shall not receive their Copper nightly as at present, but that the same
shall go towards the Funds of the Lodge." This motion "respecting the
allowance of Tins" was withdrawn as "a better scheme was now going
round."
It is obvious that there was accommodation for a resident
caretaker from the inception, as a Committee was appointed in July, 1855
"to recommend a good and proper party to live in New Masonic Hall."
That Committee met on the 18th July, 1855, "at the shop of Bro. P.
M. Smith" (our Honorary Member and stalwart from The Huddersfield
Lodge), and it was he who made the proposition, which was carried
unanimously, that "Bro. J. Lee of the Huddersfield Lodge is a fit and
proper person to recommend to The Lodge of Truth, No. 763, to reside in
the new premises and to act as Tyler for that Lodge." His appointment was
duly confirmed
"on the usual terms, viz., Rent free, Coals, Gas, Water and Rates
free."
The Minutes of 3rd April, 1857, show the first application for a
tenancy, when the Knight Templars, who had moved from Halifax to
Huddersfield, were accepted at a Rent of 1 per annum.
Meetings continued for the regular recurring work of the
Lodge. In November, 1860, the Minutes will be found to contain an
announcement of the "satisfactory settlement of the long vexed lease
question."
It will be of interest to learn that the idea of a cupboard with
drawers (for aprons) was mooted in 1861, when one was ordered "to be
erected in the Chamber Lobby, for holding the masonic clothing of such
of our Brethren as wish to purchase a drawer." Apparently The Lodge of
Harmony had similar ideas, as some of the apron drawers now in the
lobby came from South Parade when The Lodge of Harmony moved here
in 1929.
It was about this time, 1861-1862, that The Lodge of Harmony were
having some alterations carried out at South Parade, and on 4th April,
1862, the use of the Fitzwilliam Street rooms was offered to The Lodge
of Harmony; and it gives the writer of this History much pleasure to
include herein the following letter from his Mother Lodge :-
Huddersfield, 2nd May, 1862.
W. Sir and Bro.,
On behalf of the Members of the Lodge of Harmony and myself allow me
to remind you to thank the Brethren of the Lodge of Truth, at your meeting this
evening, for their kindness and consideration in offering to us the use of their Hall
and Premises in Fitzwilliam St. during the alterations in South Parade, and I wish to
assure the Brethren through you that we esteem their favor all the more since it has
come spontaneously.
41
From present appearances I believe we shall soon have to avail ourselves of your
offer and I trust that the cordiality existing amongst the Huddersfield Lodges may
long continue to flourish and bear such goodly fruit.
I am, W. Sir and Bro.,
Yours v. fraternally,
GEO. W. RHODES,
W.M. 342.
According to the Minutes of The Lodge of Harmony in July,
1862, they moved to Fitzwilliam Street and held Meetings there for a
period of four months. The following is an extract from the History of
The Lodge of Harmony, by W. Bro. A. J. H. Fletcher, which is written up
in their Minute Book (in 1889—after 100 years) but of which there is
no printed copy :---
"This is one of those instances of the interchange of fraternal
courtesies which show how real is the indissoluble chain of
sincere affection which binds all masons together."
And on 5th December, 1862, the then Worshipful Master of
The Lodge of Harmony with several of his Brethren attended here
and presented to The Lodge of Truth
"an elegant and beautiful silver snuff box, with an explanatory
inscription engraved thereon, expressive of the comfort and
pleasure they had experienced in using our Hall during the
time theirs had been undergoing alterations and repairs."
That snuff box is still here, and was handled recently by the writer to
copy the inscription, which reads thus :--
"Presented to the Lodge of Truth, No. 763, by the Lodge of
Harmony, No. 3-12, in acknowledgment of the hospitable
accommodation afforded to them during the alterations to
their Lodge Buildings, South Parade, Huddersfield. 1862."
Then in 1865 the other member of this tripartite friendship,
The Huddersfield Lodge, started enquiring about rooms at Fitzwilliam
Street either as Joint Owners or as Tenants, but apparently these
discussions did not reach an advanced stage, and no development
ensued.
From time to time throughout the Minutes it is stated that
various Brethren acted as Trustees, and from 1864 to 1866 there were
serious attempts made to draw up a proper Trust Deed. The Committee
appointed in 1864 had not acted very quickly, and in January, 1866, steps
were taken to obtain from a Bro. Batley, of Philanthropic Lodge, Leeds, a
copy of the Trust Deed which he had prepared for that Lodge, which
evidently was intended to be used as a pattern for other Lodges. Some
discussion ensued at the next Meeting as to the number of Trustees,
whether it should be 15, to be made up again to 15 when it falls to 6, or
whether it should be 11 and when reduced to 5, 6 more be appointed:
and the latter idea was decided upon in February, 1866, and
instructions given for a Deed to be prepared. The first 11 Trustees
were :-
D. 1893. Bro. T. S. Higgins, W.M. -- W.M. in 1866.
D. 1892. Thos. Robinson, P.M. W.M. in 1833.
D. 1886. „ John Kirk, P.M. W.M. in 1858.
D. 1886. „ W. G. Dyson, P.M. W.M. in 1859.
D. 1870. „ Samuel Hardy, P.M. W.M. in 1861.
S-O 1885. „ J. W. Tempest, P.M. W.M. in 1862,
4),
D. 1907. Allen Jackson, P.M. —W.M. in 1863.
D. 1891. John Burgess, S.W. —became W.M. in 1867.
D. 1899. George Marshall, J.W. --became W.M. in 1870.
D. 1881. Joseph Hirst, --became W.M. in 1873.
R. 1867. Charles Hare, --resigned in 1867.
D. Died. R. Resigned. 5-0 Struck off.
and on the 4th January, 1867, the Trust Deed and the Lease of the
Lodge were deposited with The West Riding Union Banking Company.
It is interesting to note that Bro. Joe Lee (of Huddersfield
Lodge), who was the original Tyler at Fitzwilliam Street appointed in
1855, was still doing yeoman service in 1866, and was being appreciated,
as he was voted a gratuity of 2 in June, 1866, together with an
increase in Salary from 8 to 10 p.a. But soon afterwards, in
December, 1866, he tendered his resignation. A special meeting of the
Trustees and a Committee of the Lodge considered the question of
finding a suitable successor, and Bro. Henry Shaw was duly elected. Care
had been taken, however, to pass an amendment of the By-Laws before
making this decision, deleting the words "that the Tyler shall not be a
Member of the Lodge," as Bro. Henry Shaw had been a Member
since 1853. He held the office as Hallkeeper until October 1s t , 1880.
He was an ardent m as on, and was al s o W.M . of The Prince
Frederick Lodge, No. 307 (Loyal Halifax Lodge), in 1881, and as a
matter of fact, he became W.M. of The Lodge of Truth in December,
1881; a special Dispensation had to he obtained to install him as W.M. of
this Lodge when he was W.M. of another Lodge.
Returning to the correct chronological course, in 1866 it
became necessary to legislate for some "early" closing hours, which
suggests that the Brethren were lingering somewhat after the Lodge
Meetings. A. new By-Law was introduced on 2nd November, 1866, that
"No refreshments shall be served after half past 11 o'clock
and the Brethren shall disperse and the Lodge premises be
closed not later than 12 o'clock."
but this was not to apply to the occasion of Balls or Festivals.
Towards the end of 1868 the Hallkeeper Brother, Bro. Henry
Shaw, had illness in his family. The exact nature thereof is not stated, but
it was such as to make it inconvenient for the Brethren to meet, and
vet once again we find both The Lodge of Harmony and The
Huddersfield Lodge coming to the assistance of their friends. The
Lodge of Harmony placed their premises at the service of The Lodge of
Truth, and The Huddersfield Lodge dispensed with their Instruction
Meeting, resolutions of thanks to both Lodges for their kindness being
recorded on 6th November, 1868,
From the commencement of the occupation of the Fitzwilliam
Street premises, it is understood that the Lodge Meetings were held
in what is now known as the Supper Room; in 1868 discussions commenced
regarding a project to erect a Building or Extension on the
vacant ground behind, but little progress was made for a year or two:
the Minutes of August, 1872, refer to "animated discussion thereon,"
but by March, 1873, plans and specifications had been prepared and
submitted, and Sub-Building-Committee appointed, who received
powers t o a cc ept t enders for bui l di ng a n ew H al l , a m ount i ng t o
1,174; they were also empowered to borrow 1,200 from "some
43
Equitable Building Society in the town." In July of the same year, 1873, the original
lease, which was for 60 years, was converted to a 999 years lease from 25th March, 1873,
at an Annual Ground Rent of 11 6s. Building operations proceeded according to plan,
and the New Hall was opened on the last Friday in January, 1871, with "a masonic
assembly."
The next Minute of interest, affecting the Premises, was in March, 1874,
when it was decided to advertise the cellar under the Masonic Hall to let, and the
advertisement was to appear in the three Huddersfield Weekly Papers, so apparently the
local Press Publications were different then from now.
In 1876 there is reference in the Minutes to a nice gesture, when a
unanimous and cordial vote of thanks was given to a Mr. Franklin, together with a
cheque as a token of esteem and appreciation of his artistic talents in the monuments to his
genius of the various artistic designs introduced by him into the new Lodge Room.
In 1878 The Lodge of Truth offered the use of its premises to the newlyformed
Albert Edward Lodge, at a Rental of 30 per annum, and at the same time
the Rentals of other Tenants were revised
Mark Lodge, 6 p.a.
Rose Croix, 5 p.a.
Knight Templars, 5 p.a.
but these three were soon altered, in 1879, to 1 a Meeting, and there were many
subsequent alterations and amendments in the Rents.
It would appear that, until 1881, there was a Standing Order that the Lodge
Room should not he used for other than masonic purposes; after various propositions,
amendments and suggestions at the Lodge Meeting on 1st April, 1881, a resolution
was passed, by a small majority, that the Standing Order for exclusive use be rescinded, and
that it be left to the Lodge Committee to decide any lettings.
In 1882 a fresh body of 11 Trustees was appointed. It is not clear why this
happened. If the reader will turn to Page 42 he will find 11 Trustees appointed in
1866, with power to appoint 6 more when the number fell to 5. A perusal of that list
will show that in 1882 seven of the 11 were still living: perhaps some were not attending:
at any rate, not one of the first 11 is included in the second 11 appointed on 2nd June, 1882,
who were :-
Joseph Varley, P.M. W.M. in 1874 Died 1913.
J. W. Turner, P.M. W.M. in 1885 Honorary Member
1894.
H. W. Wrigley, P.M. query P.M. of some other Lodge.
J. Graham, W.M. W.M. in 1882 Resigned 1891.
W. H. Jessop, S.W. W.M. in 1883
and 1894 Died 1921.
J. E. Cooper, J.W. struck off 1895.
W. E. Jowett, S.D. W.M. in 1886 Died 1913.
J. B. Matthewman, W.M. in 1884 Struck off 1900.
J. Dews, Resigned 1893.
Ed. Dyson, Died 1892.
John Varley, Died 1890.
J. Littlewood, Resigned 1888.
The Bro. H. W. Wrigley, as above, described as a Past Master, had not
been through t he C hai r of The Lodge of Trut h, At the Installation in
1881 he was appointed Purveyor, but he was called to appear before a Special
Committee on Purveyor's Business in July, 1882, which makes his appointment as a
Trustee the previous month a little surprising. His accounts were in an
unsatisfactory state, and he was ordered to send in his key and his cash, and a
Balance Sheet. There is a sequence of Minutes. Bro. Wrigley said he had
nothing to see the Committee about, and if they desired to see him they
must go to his place. A further order was made, with a threat to report him
to be excluded. His account was eventually forthcoming, as it received a
position of importance, having a page to itself at the end of the Minute
Book, together with his resignation from Office.
It is doubtful whether the foregoing body of Trustees really
functioned, or, if so, for long, as fresh Trustees were appointed in 1883,
comprising 3 names from the first eleven, viz.:
John Kirk, P.M. W.M. in 1858—Died in 1886.
Allen Jackson, P.M. W.M. in 1863—Died in 1907.
George Marshall, P.M. W.M. in 1870—Died in 1899.
and 6 from the second eleven, viz.:—
J. W. Turner, P.M. W.M. in 1885
J. Graham, P.M. W.M. in 1882— Resigned 1891.
W. H. Jessop, P.M. W.M. in 1883
and 1894— Died 1921.
W. E. Jowett, S.W. W.M. in 1886— Died 1913.
J. B. Matthewman, J.W. W.M. in 1881— Struck off 1900.
John Varley, I. G. Died 1890.
with the addition of :
Henry Shaw, P.M. W . M . i n 18 81 D i ed 1 91 1.
James A. Woolven, initiated 1879 Died 1941.
The above body of Trustees managed the affairs until 1895, in
which year all questions of Deeds, Titles, Trusts, Mortgages etc., etc.,
were overhauled, examined, and put on to an improved footing, thanks to
the efforts of some of the Officers and Past Masters, and mainly to the legal
ability of Bro. John Lewis Sykes, who had been initiated into the Lodge in
1890.
In 1890, the then Mortgage period expired: in 1891 arrangements
were made for a fresh mortgage of 1,600 at 4% through La ycock,
D yson and La ycock, and some further Trustees were suggested: they
were not, however, formally appointed, and during 1895 the new
arrangement took shape. It was decided in the August to pay off the existing
mortgage, raise a new one, re-assign the Lodge Premises to surviving and new
Trustees, and start a "Lodge Liquidat ion of Mortgage Account." Meetings
of the Surviving Trustees (from the 1883 list) and Proposed New
Trustees took place, who approved the new Draft Deed and a Loan from The
Halifax Building Society of 1,500 at 3%; all this was duly confirmed at an
Emergency Lodge held on 30th December, 1895, at which Meeting a
special vote of thanks was passed to Bro. J. Lewis Sykes for his work in
connection with these arrangements.
4.5
The following who were members of the 1883 List of Trustees retired
:-
W. Bros. Allen Jackson
Geo. Marshall Henry Shaw
J. B. Matthewman
J. W. Turner
and Josh. Graham.
Three members of the 1883 list continued as Trustees, viz.:—
W. Bros W . H. J ess op,
W . E . J o w e t t ,
Bro. J. A. Woolven,
together with 15 additional or new members :—
W. Bros. Jimmy Firth, P.M.
Abram Graham, P.M.
John Dawson P.M.
George Jackson P.M.
Samuel Crossley P.M.
John Guest Thompson P.M.
Bro. John Freeman Dyson WM
Bros . John Davis
John Pyrah
John Lewis Sykes
John Frederick Cooke
John Holrovd
Torn Brook Tunnacliffe
William Henry Jones
Fred Marsland
The "Lodge Liquidation of Mortgage Account" was by no
means dormant, as periodically one finds references in the Minutes of
reductions taking place, e.g., in 1897 the Minutes give a List of
Subscribers, sums of 2 2s., 1 1s., 10/6, etc., amounting in all on that
occasion to 35 5s., "paid to the Bank."
In 1899 the Minutes include as a special feature, Accounts,
Subscription Lists and other details, showing Collections of 143 15s. towards
a Fund promoted to defray the cost of The Banner (renovations), new
Piano, installation of Electric Light (65 10s.) and Share of Expenses for
Provincial Grand Lodge at the Town Hall.
By 31st January, 1902, the Mortgage of 1,500 had been
reduced to 1,200, and during that year also alterations and renovations were
carried out, which pleased the Brethren, for a spirit of rejoicing and
thankfulness pervaded the Minutes in October, 1902, on the occasion of
the re-opening after the alterations, and allusions were made to "the
possession of such a beautiful building."
A further alteration, which will surely interest the present-day
reader, took place in 1906, sanctioned by the Minutes on 3rd August, 1906,
"That part of the wall behind the W.M.'s chair be removed, and
substituted by sliding doors, in order that the Billiard Room
may be opened into the Lodge Room."
Apparently what is now known as "the Annexe" was at one time the
billard room,
46
In 1906 there was an alteration of another kind, but not the first
of its kind: the time had arrived for "renewals." On 7th September,
1906, it was decided to prepare a Supplemental Trust Deed, because the
number of Trustees had been considerably depleted, and the following
names were added :
Bros. C. F. Arnold
J. W. Mallinson
J. Mosley
F. E. Beckwith
J. Russell
T. Bean
F. Milan
T. McCulloch
plus the Master and 2 Wardens for the time being.
And on the 4th February, 1907, W. Bro. John Lewis Sykes, who had
generously prepared the Supplemental Deed, was presented by the
Brethren with a Past Master's Jewel in recognition of this and other past
services rendered to the Trust.
By the end of 1906 the Mortgage had been reduced to 950.
The roofing of the Corridor was carried out in 1907.
The telephone was installed into the premises in 1908, and
the Lead Light Windows were given in 1908.
In March, 1912, the Lodge decided that, in addition to the
Trustees in the Deed of 11th December, 1906, all Members of the Lodge
Committee for the time being be admitted to all Meetings of the
Trustees, and be invested with the same power, other than the power of
assignment or dealing with the legal estate of the Premises.
From 1906 onwards, the Mortgage on the Premises was being
steadily reduced, and in 1919 the goal was achieved, and at the Lodge on
6th June, 1919, "grateful thanks were expressed to the Chairman and
Secretary of the Trustees for bringing about the extinction of the debt on
the building," so that after 64 years from 1855 the building became literally
the "Free-masons Hall,"- "free to good fellowship" and "free from
mortgage."
In the ye ar 1925 the Trustees carried out some decorations and
renovations of the Premises, the Lodge contributing 150 towards this from
the Lodge Funds on 6th February, 1925, and later a much larger scheme of
alterations and improvements, costing over 1,000 in 1928-1929; this was
about the time The Lodge of Harmony came to these Premises as a
Tenant Lodge, in addition to The Connaught and Concord Lodges. There
were various removals and changes in the Town at this time (see page
71) and The Lodge of Harmony held its first Meeting, after removal here,
on 6th February, 1930.
In the years 1934-1935 the Trustees carefully overhauled their position
in regard to Rents, Upkeep, etc., of the Premises, and arranged conferences
with the Tenant Lodges to put the Rental Agreements on to a revised
footing, and, at the same time, The Lodge of Truth raised the
Subscription for its Members to 3 3s. per annum, to meet the increased
Rent due from their Lodge as a Tenant to the Trustees as Landlords.
Once again, in 1937, it became necessary to supplement the List
of Trustees, because of the many deaths in their ranks in recent
47
years. Of the previous list only W. Bro. T. Bean and Bro. J. A. Woolven were
living or still resident in Huddersfield, and the following were appointed by
Resolution dated 14th June, 1937 :—
John William Shaw, James Wilkinson, Sidney Hampshire,
Thomas Boardman Bolton. Thomas Gladstone Westmoreland, Percy
Ainley, James Naylor, George Graham, Arthur Hudson, James
Hollingworth, Lewis Schofield.
But even this List did not obtain for long owing to further deaths and
removals, and in 19.43 the following names were added :-
Joe Stanley Ward, James Frederick Collard Cole, Norman
Sykes, John Sugden, Charles Arthur Waddington, Fred Suthill, Percy
Clarke Hayes, Geoffrey Gledhill, Arthur Thornton Green, David Eli
Dyson.
It is to be hoped that many years will elapse before it becomes again
necessary to augment the List.
Reference is made in other parts of this History to the use of the
Premises during the recent World War by The Beaumont Lodge, No. 2035,
as Temporary Tenants, while their premises at Kirkburton have been in use
by the Military Authorities.
The close of this Chapter of our History--in 1945— brings us also
to the termination of the tenancy of the tenancy agreements of the Tenant
Lodges, and, as we go to print, the Trustees and the Tenant Lodges are on
the point of fixing up renewal terms for another 10 year period, which, it
is earnestly hoped, will be a happy and successful one for all concerned.
48