Gateshead Fell Lodge No. 4349.
Gateshead Fell Lodge No. 4349
1922-1997 A Brief History
Date of Warrant - 7th September 1921
There were twenty founder members of the Lodge in all, eight from Shipcote Lodge No. 3626, six from Saltwell Lodge No. 3000, three from Borough Lodge No. 424 and three from St. Peters Lodge No. 481. The latter in the Province of Northumberland. Their names are recorded at the foot of this page.
Gateshead Fell Lodge was consecrated on Saturday 3rd June 1922 at 2.00 p.m. at the Industry Masonic Hall, Jackson Street, Gateshead by the Right Hon. The Lord Ravensworth, D.L., P.G.W. (Eng), The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master assisted by W. Bro. W. R. H. Gray, Prov. Senior Grand Warden, W. Bro. H. D. Parsons, Prov. Junior Grand Warden and Bro. The Rev. Denis W. Marsh, Prov. Grand Chaplain supported by many other eminent Brethren.
The Consecration minutes record that the work was carried out in a very able manner by the Provincial Grand Master and an excellent oration on the nature and principles of the Institution was delivered by Bro. The Rev. Denis W. Marsh, Prov. Grand Chaplain.
The Worshipful Master designate W. Bro. James Scott, P.M. 3626, P.P.A.G.D.C. was installed as the first Worshipful Master by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Ravensworth, Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master. The Worshipful Master then appointed and invested the first officers of the Lodge, their names are recorded at the foot of this page. The consecrating officers were elected Honorary Members of the Lodge and a beautiful founders jewel was presented by The Worshipful Master to The Rt. Worshipful Provincial Grand Master.
At the first working meeting of the Lodge on the 26th September 1922, the first candidate for initiation Mr. James Davison Collings, aged 27 years, Masters Clerk at The Poor Law Institution, Teams, Gateshead was balloted for and elected. Being present he was duly initiated into Freemasonry by The Worshipful Master.
W. Bro. Harry Jackson, P.M., Director of Ceremonies had previously formally presented to the Worshipful Master several items of masonic furniture donated by certain founder members including a set of Working Tools in 9ct gold and ivory in a solid oak box, and the Lodge Banner, the names of the donors being recorded on the various items.
At the following meeting, Bro. J. H. Burden a Master Mason of Shipcote Lodge No. 3626 was elected as the first joining member of the Lodge and on the 25th March 1924 he presented to the Lodge a Ballot Box specially made of Black Oak reputed to be not less than 1,600 years old. The Black Oak was found in the River Tyne at a depth of 20 feet below low water mark during dredging operations where no doubt a forest once existed. This was proved by the fact that in sinking cylinders for the then new Cooperative Society Flour Mill, other oak items were found at about the same depth and in a semi upright position. One of the trees in question measured 5 feet 6 inches in diameter and was 45 feet in length in the trunk. The rings which could be counted upon it number 380, thus testifying to at least 380 years of age. Unfortunately the Ballot Box is in a poor state of repair and is now in the reception area of the Alexandra Road Temple. Over the next three years the Lodge acquired other items of masonic regalia culminating in The Hailstone Jewel being presented in December 1926, the Lodge having contributed at least £350 to the Masonic Memorial Fund. Contributions had been called for from members to meet the target and largely due to the zeal and generosity of W. Bro. George Laxton Collins, Senior, the required amount was realised. When the Lodge became a Hall Stone Lodge it was only fitting that W. Bro. George Laxton Collins, Senior should be the first Master of the Lodge to wear this honourable decoration. During his term as Master of Gateshead Fell Lodge, and just before his year ended he became Master of Moseley Lodge No. 3105 by special dispensation. He was thus Master of two Lodges at the same time but only for a matter of a few weeks. He was also a member of the Mark Degree and was Deputy Provincial Grand Mark Master from 1932 to 1936. He was a generous man and a great benefactor to the Lodge and to the town of Gateshead, having presented to the Shipley Art Gallery a superb tiger sculpture "Dionysus" by the Victorian artist George Simonds, which is still on display and is the first exhibit seen on entering the Gallery.
Originally the membership of the Lodge was restricted to 80 and applications from individuals for initiation and for joining were such that a waiting list was established and eventually the Bye-Laws were amended to raise the limit to 120 although this number was never reached. Until 1980 candidates for initiation had 2 years to wait from the date of application. Sadly since then membership has gradually fallen and is now around 40.
Over the years the Lodge membership has comprised various professions, tradesmen and occupations such as Commission Agents, Estate Agents, School Masters, Clergymen, Butchers, Publicans, Watchmakers, Drapers, Tobacconists, Professional Footballers and many others. The Lodge owes a great deal to the Founders and to the subsequent members who have contributed so much in many ways to the well running and prosperity of the Lodge and it is trusted the present members will be able to continue their good works and bring further credit to this Lodge now and in the future.
At our 75th Anniversary Celebration it was pleasing to recall that at the Installation of W. Bro. John James Walker, P.Prov.G.Swd.B. on Tuesday 17th September 1996 as the 75th Worshipful Master of the Lodge the Representative of The Rt. Worshipful Provincial Grand Master on that occasion was W. Bro. P. P. Paterson, Prov. Junior Grand Warden. The grandson of W. Bro. E. Paterson P.Prov.G.D. who was Worshipful Master of this Lodge in 1940. We are delighted to note that W. Bro. P. P. Paterson is with us this evening to share our celebrations. In addition and co-incidently, the Junior Warden of the Lodge on the occasion of our 50th Anniversary on Tuesday 24th October 1952 was Bro. Trevor F. Baker now W. Bro. Trevor F. Baker, P.Prov.J.G.D. who is again occupying the chair of Junior Warden for the third time.
At the Annual Investiture on 26th April 2006 The Most Worshipful Grand Master was pleased to appoint and invest W. Bro. Neil Walker with the Rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. Our first Grand Lodge Officer.