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                                                    PAGE 3


In 1902, and still under Bro Wood's guidance, 374 became sponsor lodge to Lodge Polkemmet No 927. There were now literally two lodges in Whitburn. This was to change however on 7th April 1904 Bro J Mcleod, Secretary, intimated to the brethren that 'Grand Committee had sanctioned the prayer of our petition and that in future the name of our lodge would be St John Crofthead Fauldhouse'.


Brother Mcleod also read to the brethren at a meeting in September of the same year a letter from a Penicuik Lodge on behalf of a Bro John Sinclair, 'a member of this lodge (374) now residing in that district and who had been removed to a Lunatic Asylum and required assistance.' The lodge subsequently forwarded 10 shillings from our benevolent fund.


Having no documented mention of a 25 year celebration of our lodge in 1881, 374's fiftieth anniversary took place on 4th May 1906 with RWM Bro Robert Gould presiding. The lodge having been opened in the EA Degree it was duly called from labour to refreshment. Thereupon, the company of many brethren representing several visiting lodges (No’s 380, 471, 166, 427, 927, 236, 13, 177, 270, 590, 305, 10 and 51) partook in an excellent supper of fish pie, roast beef, potatoes and vegetables. On a personal note I was delighted to find that my own great grandfather, Bro David Cairns, was present along with his own RWM Bro C Miller and other brethren of Lodge St John Shotts No 471. Bro Cairns contributed to a programme following the dinner which helped, as the minute book describes 'to make merry'.


On 22nd December 1910, the minute book shows that a reference was made to the Lancashire pit disaster the previous day and 'meanwhile wished to express our heartfelt sympathy of the brethren of this lodge to the bereaved families of those who were entombed' 344 men and boys lost their lives while many were preparing to celebrate Christmas.


The impact of this tragic accident would be severely felt among not only the brethren of the lodge, but the entire surrounding area and ultimately a nation. It is important to remember that the majority of our lodge's history is set against the backdrop of a close knit mining community. This is reflected in our first petition book whose pages almost repeatedly use the word 'miner' when describing our new candidates' occupation. Almost that is until 5th September 1871, John Cowan Stewart age 36 years was initiated into freemasonry, his occupation was none other than a... PROFESSIONAL COMEDIAN! - a small journey from darkness to light.


The doomed maiden voyage of the 'RMS Titanic' would also feature in our history. At a regular meeting on 25th April1912 RWM Bro William Robertson asked the brethren to be upstanding and observe a short silence to the missing souls who perished in the icy waters of the Atlantic some two weeks previous.


It was described as the 'war to end all wars' and from 1914 to 1918 the Great War (WW1) would bring a generation of many who gave the ultimate sacrifice. With every passing meeting of the lodge would bring without doubt news of sorrow. An early mention would be on 7th October 1915, PM John Hardie intimated with regret he was called upon to take the chair as the present RWM Bro Alex Chalmers was too upset having not heard from his son since he engaged in the conflict on 25th September. His son sadly died soon after on the 'front line' in Germany. Just over a month later the Brother Tyler's absence from the meeting was due to the fact that his son was killed at the 'Front'. The lodge Tyler in question was arguably one of our most distinguished ·brethren in the persons of Bro Ronald McKinnon PM who had twice served the lodge as RWM. In 1931, at the age of 91, and having served as Tyler for over 20 years, Bro McKinnon was no longer able to attend meetings, the brethren of the lodge thought it would be fitting to have a framed photograph of Bro McKinnon hung in the premises. His picture adorns our temple to this day. He sadly passed on to the Grand Lodge above in 1941 aged 100 years.

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