Early Years

Early in December 1901, Freemasons in and around the Whitburn area felt it might be possible to form a Lodge in the village for the benefit of the local brethren. With this in mind, Bro. George Gillon of Lodge Hope Bridge Castle No. 827 arranged for a meeting to be held in the home of Bro. Watt P.M. of Lodge Kirkliston Maitland No. 482. As several brethren failed to appear as arranged on 28th December the meeting was postponed until the 8th January 1902.

At that meeting held in the Town Hall on 8th January 1902 the following brethren were in attendance:

Bro. Charles Watt P.M. of Lodge Kirkliston Maitland No. 482 

Bro. James Frame M.M. of Lodge St. Andrew Drybridge No. 380 

Bro. Alexander Burton M.M. of Lodge Hope Bridge Castle No. 827 

Bro. James Johnston M.M. of Lodge Dalkeith Kilwinning No. 10 

Bro. George Gillon M.M. of Hope Bridge Castle No. 827 

Bro. Henry Lind M.M. of St. John West Calder No. 272 

Bro. William Paul M.M. of Torphichen Kilwinning No. 13

Bro. Hugh Cowan M.M. of Torphichen Kilwinning No. 13 

Bro. George Watson M.M. of Wilsontown St. John No. 236 

Bro. Robert Runciman M.M. of St. James Harthill No. 590 

Bro. Alexander Carstairs M.M. of Buchan St. John No. 636 

Bro. Robert Lamb M.M. of St. John West Calder No. 272 

Bro. Adam Murdoch M.M. of St. James Harthill No. 590

 

After a lengthy discussion it was unanimously agreed to petition for a Charter. A committee consisting of Bros. Watt, Gillon, Lamb and Cowan were appointed to carry out the arrangements. It was agreed that the Lodge be named Polkemmet, Whitburn. The committee was also given the remit to secure suitable premises.

The following brethren were then unanimously nominated for office:

 

Bro. Charles Watt            RWM 

Bro. James Frame            Substitute Master

Bro. Alexander Burton       Senior Warden       

Bro. James Johnston        Junior Warden

Bro. George Gillon            Secretary

Bro. Henry Linn               Treasurer

Bro. William Paul              Senior Deacon

Bro. Hugh Cowan             Junior Deacon

Bro. George Watson         Steward

Bro. Robert Runciman       Inner Guard

Bro. Alexander Carstairs    Tyler


The next meeting of the Brethren was held on the 7th February 1902 when the R.W.M. produced the Petition for signature of proposed office bearers.

A meeting of the Brethren took place in the Free Gardeners Hall on 7th May 1902 when a letter from the Provincial Grand Secretary was read out stating that a Charter had been granted to Lodge Polkemmet No. 927. The R.W.M. was appointed to lead a small committee to set up the Byelaws of the Lodge which were adopted on the 17th June 1902.
During this meeting the members were informed that Lodge Star of Addiewell No. 635 now dormant, had some articles of clothing and working tools available for purchase. At a later date these articles were purchased (The Gavel is still used as part of the 1st Degree tools). At this meeting six candidates were proposed and seconded as being fit and proper for membership of the Lodge.

On the 23rd May 1902 the six candidates proposed at the previous meeting were balloted and found clear in each case. Four of these candidates were then initiated into the secrets of the EA Degree, Robert Scott, Charles Henry Jones, Alexander Augustus Roberts and Alexander Sinclair.

The Consecration of the Lodge along with the installation of office-bearers was conducted by Bro. Thomas Hope, Provincial Grand Master of Linlithgowshire on 9th December 1902. After the ceremony, the Lodge adjourned to the Public School where refreshments were served. The assembled Brethren then enjoyed an evening of harmony. Thanks were extended to Bro. W. Wood, R.W.M. Crofthead St. John 374 for lending Jewels and Sashes for the investment of office-bearers.

PREMISES

The initial meeting of the Lodge took place in the Town Hall while the first meeting after the charter had been granted on 7th May 1902 was in the Free Gardeners Hall and at the meeting on 23rd May 1902 it was announced that an agreement had been reached to share the Gardeners Hall for a period of five years, paying a share of the rent, which amounted to a total of £5. The minute of November 1909 expressed the need for more suitable premises and about a year later it was agreed to accept the terms of the Institute committee (£4 per year). Provincial Grand Lodge headed by Bro. Robert Kirk PGM consecrated the new lodge room on 17th January 1911.

The present premises were purchased for the princely sum of £350 in 1924 and by 1929 plans had been passed to enlarge the premises by building a second floor, the present Temple, by using the existing roof. The cost of purchasing the ground floor building and extension work was in the region of £3000. The Consecration of the new Temple was by Bro. Robert A. Brown M.A., the P.G.M. and his Office Bearers. The Right Worshipful Master of 927 on this occasion was Sir Adrian Baillie.

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Sir Adrian Baillie & Lady Baillie with
the Duke & Duchess of Kent

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A unique feature of the Temple's dome roof is its echo. 
Be careful where you stand if you want to keep your conversation 'secret'.

 

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Lodge Polkemmet No 927

In 1971, when Bro. Norman Hyam was R.W.M., members of the Lodge, ably supported by members of sister Lodges, set about altering the downstairs as a social club. It was very hard work as the premises had many uses especially during the war years. A new entrance was established at the front but before being completed in 1972, a glass scroll containing the signatures of all who had worked on the renovations was built into the arch of the new entrance. The then reigning Master, Bro. A. McNish built into the bar area, a Three Nuns tobacco tin containing a Mark Token and coins of the Realm. The hard work paid off and the renovated premises were used for the first time for the Annual Burns Supper on the 15th of January 1972 and almost to the day was the 2002 Burns Supper.