Since 1964, the Masonic Hall on Skipton Road in Barnoldswick has been home to two Craft Lodges and one Mark Lodge. Faith Hope and Charity No. 4102, West Craven No. 7354, and Gilkirke Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 812. Built in 1845, by the Rev Richard Milner, it was occupied by the Rev Canon Patten, MA, JP, a PM of Craven Lodge No. 810 and who was also the first master of Faith Hope and Charity Lodge No. 4102 for a period until his untimely death in December 1922.
In January 2016 we began to plan for the redevelopment of the site after an open acknowledgement amongst the brethren of both West Craven Lodge and Faith Hope and Charity Lodge that the building was no longer really fit for purpose. We also acknowledged that the old building would be far too expensive to innovate as it had been left to deteriorate beyond repair.
As you can see from the photos of the old building, it really was in a sad state. What the pictures don’t show is the damp on the inside, especially in the walls of the Temple, in the cellar that floods occasionally, and in the dire state of the facilities area including the kitchen, on the ground floor.
Out with the old and in with the new
While we lacked the money to develop the site, what we did have an abundance was land to spare. We set about finding a builder who could build us a brand-new Lodge building, and who would also develop the land for housing. In this way we could not only financed the construction of our new Lodge building, but also provide the Masonic Hall company with a little nest egg.
Much discussion and negotiation ensued amongst the shareholders, and finally after almost two years we came up with a plan that everyone was happy with.
That agreement amongst the brethren of the two lodges owning a building proof to be the easy part.
The planning permit and building regulations stage. Around 18 months later we were ready to go, and then got stuck behind a requirement for a bat survey. We ended up needing two of these in the finish, as the first was apparently done to early in the year, and the bats wouldn’t have been nesting at that time of the first survey. Finally in December 2019, after all of the “I”s were dotted and the “T”s were crossed, we were ready to proceed with engaging the builder and a contract.
It took until the beginning of February 2020 for the contract to be signed by both parties following the usual solicitors delays. Together with the builder and his lads, a small team of brethren from Craft and Mark lodges assembled to carefully remove all fixtures and fittings, Lodge records and memorabilia so that they could be stored safely in a container trailer on a secure site while a new Lodge building was being built.
When the Health and Safety Executive officers spotted the scaffolding going up on the old building ready for demolition, they descended clipboard in hand and proceeded to carry out an asbestos survey. Spores were found in the cellar meaning that the old building was closed to any further demolition work until the regulations relating to asbestos removal were satisfied. In the meantime, the builder and this team commenced the site preparation works for the new building and for the houses on the adjoining land.
In total, some 6500 tonnes of soil were removed from the site during the excavation works, much of it being donated to the Barnoldswick Juniors football club in order to elevate the pitches to prevent future flooding.
The builder and his team have wasted no time in laying the foundations and erecting the new Lodge building. In the 2 months since early February we have seen the rapid rise out of the ground of our new much anticipated Masonic Hall. All regulations relating to the is removal of the asbestos in the old building having been complied with, the builders lost no time in carrying out the demolition. A suitable stone was found for the north-east corner of the new Lodge Temple and will be built into the wall during the interior fitting.
As of the middle of May, all of the exterior cladding is now complete and we are now awaiting the arrival of the framing and roof materials so that the builder can make the building watertight. He can then carry on and lay the underfloor heating and seal it in to the floor.
We held an on-site Masonic Hall Committee meeting with the builder to finalise the internal layout. The builder is completely confident that our new Lodge building will be ready for us to furnish with the Lodge fittings and fixtures around about the middle of August.
Assuming that restrictions on meetings are lifted sometime in September, West Craven Lodge will be the first to hold the meeting in the new Lodge room. Faith Hope and Charity Lodge are currently scheduled to hold their centenary meeting on 13 October, and desperately hope that circumstances allow for this to go ahead. With the current Covid-19 crisis in mind, none of these plans can be guaranteed, yet we are ever hopeful.
All three lodges in Barnoldswick looked very much forward to taking possession of a brand-new Lodge building and celebrating that opening with much fanfare and many many guests, friends, and family.
My first introduction to Freemasonry was being co-opted by my Dad to help clearing up Fitzwilliam Street Masonic Hall after Installations, Cinderella Dances, Ladies Nights & Childrens’ Christmas Parties gradually attending all those events as I grew up. This meant that I became familiar not just with the premises but the many men involved in the Craft with my Dad, Trevor Smith who had joined the Lodge of Truth No 521 in the 1960s whilst I was still in education.
I was educated at Mirfield Grammar School & proudly graduated from Leeds University in 1967 with a BSc Hons in Agriculture. Later that year I started work with an Agricultural Company in Lincolnshire, as a Technical Adviser. Weekdays in Lincolnshire & weekends in Huddersfield was the result.
It was 1969 when I expressed an interest in joining the Lodge so my Dad started the application process. When I reflect on why my interest was aroused I believe that I had seen nothing but good being demonstrated.
On Friday 1st May 1970 I was initiated into the Lodge of Truth, No 521. It was an exciting event, but I know I was anxious. However, I can still clearly remember things that happened that night. My Dad proposed me. Brother Richard Hollas was my seconder & I am delighted to say that we have remained friends throughout the years.
I am immensely proud that on that evening there were 3 generations of Smiths present, my Grandfather, my Dad & myself - a unique occasion in the history of the Lodge, as far as we can trace.
Over the years, I made steady progress through the various offices & on the 1st December 1978, having driven through freezing fog from Lincolnshire, I was honoured to be installed into the Masters’ Chair by the late Worshipful Brother Fred Broadbent. This was followed by many enjoyable years rolling by & eventually I was privileged to be appointed Acting Provincial Grand Standard Bearer. Subsequently I was awarded the rank of Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer.
I can honestly say that I have enjoyed all the time I have been in the Craft, having met countless numbers of people with whom I have enjoyed the best of Fellowship.
Over the years I have seen many changes both within the Craft but also in life in general. I believe that one important principle I always try to practice is that of tolerance & to accept the maxim that ‘Nothing is Forever’.
I am really proud to have reached the landmark of fifty years in Freemasonry & wish to record my sincere thanks to everyone who shared & helped me on my journey, especially Margaret, my wife of 43 years
David Wright, Almoner of Concord Lodge No 4126, which meets at Lindley, Huddersfield sought support from his Masonic friends as he embarked on an online virtual challenge to bike-ride from Lands End to John O' Groats in a sponsored challenge.
A former police officer and for over 20 years a match-day photographer with Huddersfield Town, David turned to pedal power to raise funds for Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield.
David, currently self isolating during the corona virus pandemic, has established an indoor cycling rig system in his garage, using a smart trainer connected via mobile phone apps allowing him to exercise safely.
So, having located the daunting cycling challenge on a website he was delighted to complete the 1,000+miles journey and raise approaching £800 for Kirkwood.
"I was looking for some incentive to undertake this and I know that Kirkwood and other hospices are not able to stage their own fund-raising events because of the virus. Kirkwood cared for my mother in law several years ago prior to her passing and also did late last year for a dear and close Masonic friend," he said.
David completed the 1084 miles online route in 13 days at an average of 84 miles per day. Humbled by the support he has received so far his Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-wright138 remains open should anyone wish to further support the hospice.
Wartime Spirit! Elwyn Hughes, left, with son Richard Hughes, right and PGM David S Pratt
VE Day became VC - Victory over Coronavirus Day for one 96-year-old West Yorkshire Freemason and Connaught Court resident.
Five weeks after being diagnosed with the deadly disease - W Bro Elwyn G Hughes, a member of Linton Lodge which meets in Harrogate – began to rally on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.
Elwyn, who took the Chair for the second time just seven years ago and still plies his trade as a tailor, making waistcoats from the basement of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Fund-run institution in York, was given the all-clear by the home’s main health worker on Friday, May 8.
And a week later he was well enough to be interviewed by radio, TV and newspaper reporters – all keeping to stringent social distancing guidelines.
Elwyn left school in 1938 at the age of 14 and became a tailor. Four years later, he joined the Army and trained as a machine gunner, spending eight months in Orkney.
However, when it was discovered, he was a skilled tailor, he spent the rest of the war travelling around the country, sewing stripes to soldiers’ uniforms. At the end of the war, he resumed his career and continues working to this day.
Elwyn’s son Richard, who followed in his father’s footsteps in his professional and Masonic careers, said: “When my father was diagnosed with Coronavirus, we feared the worst. However, I’m delighted to say this was not to be the case.
“He told me that watching the evening’s television coverage of a period of his life that was very important to him, it made him realise that life is very much still worth living. The words of a piece of Masonic ritual came to his mind, which very much put things into perspective. It certainly brought a tear to my eye.
“He’s a fighter and realised that his time was not yet up as there are other things he still needs to do.”
Richard added: “It goes without saying that I was over the moon when they told me of his recovery, and I can’t wait until I can once again give him a big hug - no matter what Boris says!”
MCF supports Yorkshire, West Riding bringing help to
Bank Holiday Friday saw our Provincial Grand Charity Steward on an exceptional road trip, paying visits to the three specialist children’s hospices in this Province - Martin House at Boston Spa, Bluebell Wood at Rotherham and Forget-Me-Not in Huddersfield.
No one could doubt that his trip counted as essential travel in these challenging times, as he was delivering 50 Samsung electronic tablets, complete with cases and software, for the use of children and families being cared for by these hospices.
The tablets are part of a consignment paid for by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) through its £1m Covid response fund, developed and delivered in conjunction with United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) the 48 Provinces across England and Wales.
Times are challenging for all of us at the moment, but all the more so for those needing the help and support of these highly specialised services.
The tablets will be put to a variety of uses including better communication and contact with children and families still at home but receiving support to enhancing family and visitor contact with those receiving care in the hospices where visiting can be more difficult than normal.
At one hospice, Forget-Me-Not, they will be used to provide remote bereavement support and counselling to those who have lost children in recent weeks and months.
Provincial Grand Charity Steward Mike Holmes is pictured with staff handing over this vital equipment.
Provincial Grand Master David S Pratt said: “Circumstances are difficult enough for those needing the help of these wonderful centres, and the burden is not helped by the restrictions of the current Covid-19 crisis.
We are delighted that these tablets can help to make things just a little bit easier for children and their families at this challenging time and to assist in easing their burden.
“We are deeply grateful to the MCF for helping us to provide this much needed and highly appreciated assistance as part of our on-going support to hospices across Yorkshire, West Riding.”
Brethren your Charity has continued to work on your behalf for those in need within the Province, both Masonic and non-Masonic,
Since our last update [13 April 20] the PGM’s Fund has made grants to the following charities;-
£2500 - The Howarth Foundation, Leeds and Kirklees. The primary activity of this Charity is to prevent or relieve poverty in respect of individuals who are or have recently been homeless.
£3000 - Swinnow Community Centre is a community centre run by volunteers and accommodates various community groups. From the beginning of the pandemic they have been providing hot food and sandwiches to 200 local children and 100 elderly persons every day.
£3000 - Homeless Street Angels, Leeds City Centre. The charity provides support for the homeless with hot food, clean clothes and toiletries.
£2000 - Thorne & Moorlands Community Hub is a food bank assisting families, children and single people in the community. All those involved in its organisation are volunteers. Local families already relied upon the Hub for assistance and support. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on the local community the Hub is having to increase the number of food parcels to help those in dire need.
£2000 - FaithNet is a self funded food bank run by local volunteers who normally cover the areas of Featherstone, Sharlston, Streethouse and Ackton.. However, closure of other food banks within the area due to COVID-19 has increased the need for assistance considerably whilst voluntary donations have diminished.
£1200 - Trinity Mission Food bank Castleford. They are currently providing "survival level" food to those in dire circumstances many of whom have dependent children. The food bank is manned solely by volunteers who gather, pack and distribute to the local community. Trinity Mission also provides broader services to others in need in the area.
As part of our ongoing programme we continue to support other charities. A donation of £2500 has been made to Prostate Cancer UK to help with raising awareness of the disease and hopefully encourage more men to have a test. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. Most cases develop in men aged 50 and above. Be aware – Get checked NOW
PGM’s Fund grants from 1st April now total £53,000
CHOICES continues to provide assistance and support to our Brethren, their Widows, families and dependants who may be in financial distress or have other urgent, immediate or pressing needs.
From 1st April 2020 - 17 Grants have been made to a value of £14,750. 12 of which are Covid-19 related.
The process is quick, simple and extremely efficient. For the fastest response contact your Lodge Almoner. or ring the confidential help line on 03449 020220
CLICK Here for more information on WRMCL and its role.
Our grateful thanks for your continuing generosity.
W.Bro. Peter Worth and.W.Bro. Jack Pigott
on behalf of WRMCL