With thanks to Gordon Cook for providing this article about the Masonic Halls of Glasgow Road.
Back to the early 1900s, a great bazaar was held to raise funding (for the new hall), and along with donations and subscriptions, the Lodge hierarchy were soon able to engage architects to draw up plans for new chambers on Glasgow Road, between Logan Street and Church Street.
The design being selected and all the trades lined up, work began early in 1904. By Saturday 21st May, they were at that point in the building when the foundation stone should be ceremonially placed in position. This was by far the biggest ever Masonic occasion in Blantyre. Amid great pomp and ceremony the stone was laid in the traditional manner by Bro. Colonel R. King Stewart, Provincial Grand Master of the Middle Ward. The public and visitors assembled at Low Blantyre Public School, Glasgow Road, almost every town in the area was represented, Coatbridge, Holytown, Carluke Larkhall, 3 Lodges from Hamilton, the Major Ness Lodge from Burnbank, there were Lodges from Glasgow, Bathgate, Strathaven and others.
There were between 300 and 400 assembled in marching formation, and encouraged along by the Cameronian Pipe Band, the Blantyre Silver Band, and the Palace Colliery Band, they made their way to the old Masonic Hall at Forrest Street where a meeting had been going on, the office bearers from this meeting then joined the procession and they wended their way up Herbertson Street, right into Auchinraith Road, up to High Blantyre Main Street and down Broompark Road into Stonefield Road, where they halted at the bottom, at a point known as Priory Place. This was to allow the Provincial Grand Lodge Brethren to take the point in the march and lead them the rest of the way to the New Hall in Glasgow Road. With these members all wearing full regalia and the stirring music of the bands, the thousands of spectators were not disappointed, it was great spectacle.
On arrival at the new premises the dignitaries took to the platform erected for the day’s proceedings. Already on the platform was the Stonefield Musical Association led by Brother W. Steven, and when silence was called for, the choir led in singing “God Save the King.”
R.W.M. Nimmo then called on Bro. King Stewart to lay the foundation stone. For this endeavour he was presented with a silver trowel by Bro. W. Kerr, and a mallet by Bro. William Adam. What follow was a very intricate Masonic ritual, but before the stone was finally lowered into place, a sort of time capsule was put in place by Major Ness, this “bottle” as it was called, contained newspapers, coins, Masonic rules etc.,
The rest of the day witnessed many speeches, anthems, prayers and Masonic ceremony. Because of all the symbolism connected with craft, this was a much more important day in the calendar of Lodge Livingstone 599 than the day when they entered their new premises for their first meeting almost a year after building began.
Costing about £2,400, it was consecrated by the P.G.M. Colonel King Stewart on Friday 3rd February 1905, he was assisted that day by Brothers W. T. Hay, Master-Depute and Colonel Peter Spence, Substitute-Master, as well as other office-bearers of the Provincial Grand Lodge. One of the prominent features of this new chamber was a window portrait of Dr David Livingstone, who’s virtuous life was extolled by Colonel King Stewart at the laying of the foundation stone, that day the Colonel had said, “I don’t know if Dr Livingstone was a Mason, but this I do know, he followed out in his life what every Mason ought to do. His life was a noble example for us to follow, and we ought all to endeavour act up to his principal of doing good to our fellow men.”
Paul Veverka adds, “This hall was also used by the women’s guild throughout the 1910s and 1920s. Mrs Lamond was the patron of the guild, the hall being used for the meetings and parties.”