The first recorded Lodge premises was in an upper floor of a building at the eastern end of Brook Street, near the Royal Bank of Scotland building, that old building was demolished many years ago and was replaced with a new one which has shops and an archway leading into the car park behind Brook Street and Gray Street the actual room is probably located where the archway is now situated. I have recollections, as a schoolboy in the 1950/60’s of the original building where the Lodge met – in the upper floor there could just be seen a blocked out window which had the fading, but still visible outline of the square & compasses painted on it.
There is recorded in the Provincial Grand Lodge Minute books that the Lodge was consecrated on the 27th day of November 1871 by the then Provincial Grand Master, Brother the Right Honourable Fox Maule, 11th Earl of Dalhousie.
The extract from the Provincial Grand Lodge Minute Book of 1871 records that: -
“The ceremony of Consecration was performed with all due solemnity in the manner and according to the form prescribed in the Laws and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Those present were supplied with programmes of the proceedings wherein were printed at full length the portions of the Ceremony in which the audience joins. Brother Wallace presided at the Harmonium and played the accompaniment to the anthems, chants and responses.
The Provincial Grand Secretary introduced the office bearers of the Lodge Broughty Castle to the P. G. Master and to the Lodge and they were duly approved of.”
The move to acquire a purpose built hall was first mooted in 1894 when a committee was formed to ‘look into the matter and report’. There was a suggestion to lease the ‘Victoria Hotel’ and convert it into Lodge rooms, but due to restrictions on the lease this suggestion was dropped. Another committee was formed in 1896 under the chairmanship of Bro R.D. Lawson Keith an Accountant to look for a suitable site or premises. Their remit was to furnish plans, ascertain probable costs, and the best means of raising funds and to report back to the Lodge.
In Feb 1897 Bro Keith returned with a very concise and exhaustive report regarding vacant ground in ‘King Street’ belonging to Brother ex-Baillie James Scott. Mr D Myles displayed a plan of the proposed new building and explained the project to the brethren. Bro William Lowson the Treasurer detailed a scheme for raising funds mostly done through subscriptions from the brethren, in 3 instalments starting from March 1897 with the two other instalments at three monthly intervals. It was mentioned that the vendor of the ground Bro Scott had agreed to wait some time for the money.
Bro Keith moved and another brother seconded that the Lodge purchase the ground in King Street. However another member Brother McLaren moved that the members should wait as he knew of another piece of ground that could be had at a cheaper price, this was seconded and Bro Keith withdrew his motion to buy the King Street ground. A few days later Brother ex-baillie Scott withdrew his offer. Nothing more is said in the minutes regarding the location of this ‘other ground’ mentioned by Bro McLaren but the attempt to obtain and build premises in King Street seems to have been a missed opportunity.
The next mention of premises appears in a minute of 3rd May 1899 when Bro Webster moved “That with a view to the raising of funds for the building of a Masonic Hall some time in the fall of 1900 that a preliminary committee be appointed consisting of all office bearers and six or seven brethren in full standing to acquaint sister Lodges of this matter, generally to obtain information, solicit assistance and generally attend to any other preliminary business. This committee to report to the Lodge within 4 months when a fuller and more representative committee be appointed and the work more accurately prosecuted”.
However nothing more is heard about this motion or the prospects of a new hall until 1910, and by this time the brethren were more positive in approaching the matter. A committee was appointed in March 1910 to look for suitable premises, by November the members agreed to acquire the site in Brook Street belonging to Mr Robert Baxter and to erect a hall. the possible cost of which not to exceed £1200. The full motion to proceed was passed by the brethren on 29th December 1910. The full wording was in the following terms -
“That the Lodge now proceed with the erection of a Masonic Hall, with shops, upon Baxter’s site in West Brook Street at an estimated cost of £1430. A committee to be appointed with powers to secure the site, to obtain working plans from Bro. H Thomson, Architect, to issue schedules, and to invite tenders, and therefore to accept offers and report progress to the Lodge.”
The ‘Feu Contract’ was signed with Mr Baxter who kindly offered to pay for the legal fees of the contract. A new purpose built temple for Lodge Broughty Castle was now finally, a reality.
On the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1911 the brethren marched from the Good Templar’s Hall to the site in Brook Street and the memorial stone of the new Masonic Temple for Lodge Broughty Castle No. 486 was laid with full Masonic Honours by the Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Scotland the Earl of Dalhousie.