John Paul Thompson, the Provincial Grand Master, led his mini team to the Durham Lodge of Installed Masters 100 th Birthday celebration on Monday 22 nd May 2023. Following the formal salutations, the past Provincial Grand Master, Norman Eric Heaviside gave a presentation on the history of the lodge and took those present back to the beginning of the 20 th Century, more specifically to the Great War of 1914 /1918 with a few anecdotes of one hundred years of the DLIM.
At the end of the Great War soldiers returning home were left searching for the lost comradeship they had developed whilst fighting together. Fortunately, many men found the answer to this loss in freemasonry.
After the war, the demand for membership placed a huge strain on the eighty-eight existing lodges in the province and within the short space of only five years, twenty-three new lodges were consecrated to meet the sudden influx of candidates. During this five-year period, the membership of approximately 9000 at the end of the Great War, increased by 3500, a rise of almost 40%
A group of forward-looking installed masters proposed the forming of a lodge, solely devoted to lectures and improving Masonic knowledge and understanding.
The first Minutes of the DLIM Lodge Committee was dated 9 th December 1920 when fourteen past Masters attended to discuss the formation of this Lodge. There is a Minute Book of every Committee Meeting held from 1920 up until 1988, all handwritten.
With the incredible support from its 95 founder members, the Lodge was consecrated 100 years ago, taking place in Old Elvet.
Other members of the Lodge however, who were appointed Provincial Grand Master’s much later, were Col F Walton, the Rt Hon the Lord Barnard, Dr Alan Martin Davison and Norman Eric Heaviside. Our present Provincial Grand Master, John Paul Thompson, is to be installed as Master of this Lodge next year.
In 1939, the Lodge was suddenly asked to hand their warrant in. Thankfully, it was only to keep it safe during the war, along with all the other Lodge warrants, held in the Strongroom at Provincial Office. The Lodge was given a small, printed copy of the warrant allowing the Lodge to meet in compliance with the Book of Constitutions. It was certainly put to full use, as the Lodge continued to meet quite regularly during the war.
In 1998, the Lodge celebrated its 75 th Anniversary at Hedworth Masonic Hall, South Shields. To mark the anniversary a new Banner, designed and produced by Tom Coulson and Max Gaskin, was paraded around the Lodge Room and Dedicated by the Provincial Grand Chaplain, the Revd Jack Marsden.
The Banner, which is proudly displayed at every Meeting, was provided by the generosity of Charles Marshall and Harold Easton.
In the year 2000, to mark the Millennium, the brethren of Durham Province raised £500,000 to build a masonic hall in a partnership with Beamish Open Museum.
Nowhere, in the British Isles, has a Masonic Hall been seen and visited by over ½ million visitors in the past 17 years.
The Grand Master, the Duke of Kent unlocked the door of the Museum on the opening day, the special key incorporated a Founders jewel from this lodge, now kept on display in our Provincial Museum.
The Centenary Warrant was read out in open lodge by the Provincial Secretary before being formally presented to the Master of the Lodge.
A cheque for £4,441 was presented by the master on behalf of the lodge towards Durham Benevolence before retiring to the festive board where 89 masons continued to enjoy their masonry.
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