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The Operative Mason Lodge of Dundee No. 47

                Chartered 6th February 1745

                "...Ancient and Honourable it is, having subsisted from time immemorial..”


The first minute, at the inaugural meeting of the Grand Lodge of Scotland on the 30th November 1736, states that,

           "the Dundee Lodge which is supposed to be the Ancient Operative Lodge which asserts a traditional antiquity of   more than a thousand years and also claimed David, Earl of Huntingdon, as one of its Ancient Masters”- "was represented by the Deputy Master of Lodge Kilwinning Scots Arms and his Wardens “.

Having claimed such antiquity, the Lodge celebrated its Octo-Centenary during 1990, which included a Divine Service within St Mary's Parish Church, which Earl of Huntingdon had commenced building in 1190, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Church was destroyed by fire in 1841 and the Lodge laid the Foundation Stone at the re-building in 1842.

The earliest known reference to the Lodge is 1536 when an agreement was made to carry out work from the Town Council in accordance with ‘the old uses and customs of Our Lady Luge of Dundee’.

In 1628, Robert Strathoune of the Operative Lodge of Dundee signed a letter of jurisdiction in favour of Sir William St Clair of Rosslyn as hereditary ruler of the Operative Craft of Masons in Scotland. His descendant William St Clair became the First Grand Master of Scotland in 1736.

The Lodge has been referred to as the Lady Luge of Dundee - The Lodge of the Church Builders - The Lodge of Dundee - Ancient Operative Lodge. The Lodge when chartered in 1745 was given the number 52 on the Roll of the Grand Lodge, but later when Lodges were re-numbered in accordance with their antiquity our number was changed to 47.

In 1745 the Lodge built a Masonic Temple at a cost of £300 on land north of the dwelling houses in the Overgate, opposite Thorter Row. The Temple was reached through a whitewashed close and the entrance to the building was on ground level with an inside stair leading up to the Temple and Ante-Room. Another inside stair led to the Fiddlers Gallery.

In 1837 an outside winding stair was added which led directly to the Temple. The Lodge room had a domed roof decorated with the celestial sphere, a raised East with a domed canopy decorated with the Terrestrial sphere and supported by two pillars.

The illuminated panels depicting St John and St Andrew were also in the East. On the walls were hung portraits of Past Masters dating from the 18th Century.

When the building was demolished in 1964 to make way for a very questionable improvement scheme it had been our home for 219 years and if not the second it was certainly amongst the oldest Masonic Temple in the whole world. (The oldest Lodge Cannongate Kilwinning No. 2 consecrated 18th December 1736).

The Lodge moved to new premises at 161 Princes Street, which was consecrated on Tuesday 8th September 1964. The interior, through the willing help of the brethren, was completely revamped and had the usual ancillary facilities.

In January 2004, the Lodge, due to the ever increasing burden of costs in owning and maintaining the building at Princes Street, moved to rented  accommodation at1A Wellington Street, Dundee, where it now meets  on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from September through to May.

 In 1793 an act of Parliament for the encouragement and relief of Friendly Societies was passed and the Lodge decided to take advantage of this Act in 1796. The Lodge acted, in addition to being a Masonic Lodge, as a Friendly Society which was wound up and the Lodge reverted to purely Masonic activities in 1840.

With the return of the men from World War 1 the Lodge had a great influx of members. For the financial year ending in 1919 there were two hundred and seventy-two Initiates and affiliates. The large number of new members prompted the Lodge to institute 0n 19th December 1919 a Royal Arch Chapter for the benefit of its members and there has been close fraternal co-operation since.

During its time the Lodge has been present at and actively involved with the laying of Foundation Stones for many important buildings including during 1776 the new Trades Hall. This building was demolished in 1875,Dundee Lunatic Asylum in 1812, Dundee Royal Infirmary in 1852 to which the Lodge made regular contributions to the funds and the R.W.M. had a seat on the board Grand Lodge in 1859. Wallace Monument, Stirling, in 1861. In 1863, the Foundation Stone was laid for an Educational Institution to be known as Morgan Hospital, now Morgan Academy

The Lodge also played a part in the building of the pier at Newport, Fife for the ferry. The minutes reports on “ Man’s new dimensions over the sea, as the steam engine supersedes the use of sail and oar and looked upon the advent of a regular ferry service between Fife and Angus as a bridge connecting the North and South shores of the river.”

The Lodge was actively involved in the Prince of Wales Marriage Procession on the 10th March 1863 and in the same year joined in the celebration to mark the opening of the Baxter or Peoples park in September.


History originally researched by Bro. Alex Laing PM in 1995 and updated by Bro. Ronald Knowles PM in 2004




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