On Tuesday 15th November the members of Gateshead Fell Lodge gathered at the Masonic Centre, Alexandra Rd, Gateshead to celebrate their 100th Anniversary. An event of such importance was recognized with a full Provincial Team visit led by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Michael Graham. Over 70 brethren were in attendance.
Neil Walker delivered a concise history of the lodge, explaining how the years immediately after the First World War saw enormous social change in the United Kingdom as communities in towns such as Gateshead on Tyne tried to recover from the upheaval and loss caused by 4 years of war and destruction.
Freemasonry experienced a surge of interest in the post-war years as men looked to re-create that sense of camaraderie and brotherhood they had found in the armed forces. In the years 1919 to 1921 18 new lodges were consecrated in the Province of Durham. By 1st January 1922 4 more Lodges had been granted Warrants awaiting their consecration. One of the 4 was Gateshead Fell Lodge No.4349, whose Warrant was granted on 7th September 1921. Gateshead Fell was one of six Lodges whose Warrants were granted on the same day, whose numbers were 4345 to 4360 inclusive and all in the Province of Durham.
The Lodge was consecrated on Saturday, 3rd June 1922 at 2:00pm at the Industry Masonic Hall, Jackson Street, by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master the Right Hon., The Lord Ravensworth. There was twenty founder members of the Lodge, 8 from Shipcote Lodge, 6 from Saltwell Lodge, 3 from Borough Lodge and 3 from St. Peter’s Lodge in the Province of Northumberland. The first Master of the Lodge was James Scott a Past Master of Shipcote Lodge. The initial fees were a Founders’ Fee of 2 guineas (£350) and an Annual Subscription of 3 guineas (£525). In 1922 a decent weekly wage was around 40 shillings (£2) per week, so founding a new Lodge was not an inexpensive undertaking.
Throughout its 100 years the lodge had the pleasure of admitting an average of just over 3 new members every year, many of them progressed and honoured in various capacities and offices including 2 current members having received Grand Rank and 5 brethren with Acting Provincial Ranks. A further 2 brethren received certificates in recognition of 50 years of continuous membership.
At its peak in the 1950’s Gateshead Fell Lodge had 100 members. Today the membership is a strong 36, under the supervision of the current and most experienced Past Master Trevor Forster Baker. Trevor first took the chair of Gateshead Fell in 1974 serving further terms in ’85, ’99, 09. Trevor was Junior Warden for the 50th and 75th celebrations and had the distinction of being Worshipful Master in the Centenary year, achievements few other brethren can emulate.
To read full history click here:
Lodge proceedings were brought to a close, before which, Mike Davis the Provincial Deputy Secretary read out the Centenary Warrant, which was then presented to the lodge by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, who also presented the brethren of the lodge with their Centenary jewels.
The evenings celebrations concluded at the Festive Board, where the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Michael Graham responding to his toast, expressed his gratitude to the lodge for their planning of this momentous occasion in the lodge’s history. He went on to thank the brethren for the generous donations given in the lodge room earlier of £1,500 to the Freemasons Grand Charity.
The Master Trevor Baker, in the reply to the lodge toast went on to thank the members of Gateshead Fell Lodge for their unequivocal support and the privilege of electing him to serve the lodge as their Master on this, their Centenary celebration year.
The response to the provincial toast was given by Jamie Matthew Rielly, the Provincial Junior Warden who proposed a toast to Gateshead Fell Lodge in recognition of the Lodges achievement, thanking the members for the warmth of the welcome shown to the team.
The raffle with 20 fabulous prizes raised over £500 and the first number drawn out by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master was claimed by his father, Michael Graham Senior who was part of the Provincial Team in the capacity of Comms Officer. Lighthearted whispers of “it’s a fiddle” echoed around the room.
More photos on Flickr here
A most enjoyable and memorable evening was had by all.