A Further History - The Third Fifty

Continued from Page 1 . . .

Golf and Freemasonry have one thing in common, they are international and world wide. Caley has made it’s own small contribution to promoting intercontinental Brotherhood as Past Masters Jimmy Renwick and Denis Poole now explain: -

“In 1973 two Canadian Brethern who were on a visit to Scotland had called into Grand Lodge when they were in Edinburgh. As it was 392’s meeting night they were directed to Roseburn Gardens where they witnessed an excellent degree (Isn’t it always?) and were overwhelmed by the hospitality they received (“Caley” mince and tatties)

On returning home they sent a letter to our then Secretary, Jimmy Gray P.M., conveying their sincere thanks. This led to much correspondence between Jimmy and Worshipful Brother Fred Forbes P.M. Q.C. Brother Forbes was keen to bring a group over to Scotland as many of the members of the three Lodges of the City of Moncton, as well as many other Masons in the Province of New Brunswick, could claim Scottish ancestry.

As Brother Forbes held office in many organisations in and around Moncton which promoted Scottish links, he was very confident he would get enough support to make the trip a reality. The staff at Grand Lodge became involved suggesting suitable hotels to accommodate the numbers expected. Once it was confirmed the trip was going ahead, Brother Duncan Lowe, the then Chairman of the Metropolitan District Committee, was most helpful and encouraging. After it was decided that the Canadian Brethren would work an exemplification of the Third Degree, it became obvious that the Lodge room at Roseburn would not be large enough to hold the number of Brethren expected to attend. The premises at 96 George Street were duly arranged and the meeting took place on September 29th 1976.

As Master of the Caledonian Lodge that year, it was my great honour to welcome our Canadian Brethren and invite Worshipful Brother Winston Steeves to take the Chair. The Canadian ritual was greatly admired and well received by all privileged to be present on that occasion. Afterwards, we all returned to Roseburn Gardens where our guests were entertained in true Lodge Caledonian tradition (Mince and tatties again).

As a consequence of that visit, I, along with others, made many friends amongst our Canadian Brethren, and happily accepted an invitation to visit Canada in 1979, where I was warmly welcomed wherever I went. Brother Fred Forbes, who incidentally was a huge Burns scholar and knew just about every Clan tartan by heart, and who was keen to see the links between our respective Lodges maintained, extended an invitation to the members of 392 to visit Moncton.

On returning home I attended a Committee meeting and informed the members of the invitation. Past Master Brother Bobby Clark, who had been deeply involved in organising The Lodge of Light trip to Jamaica in 1977, accepted the job of organising the Canadian adventure. The result was a mixed party of 47 travelling to Canada in 1981, spending 10 days in Moncton and 10 days in Toronto. I think it can be safely said the trip was a resounding success leading to two further visits from the Canadians in 1984 and 1986.

These events took place some 30 years ago and many on both sides of the Pond have passed to the Grand Lodge Above, but memories never die and it was a privilege to have been involved.”
Brother Jim Renwick P.M.

Brother Jim mentions Brother Fred Forbes in his recollections of the Canadian trip, and indeed Fred’s knowledge of Scotland and everything Scottish was quite phenomenal. His love of our National Bard and all things Burns is, in my opinion, on a par with our own Brother Dick Platt. P.M. While we were in Moncton, Fred and Arthur Symington, (Art as he was quickly dubbed by our Canadian Brethren) spent many a session discussing all things Scottish. Art was in his element!!

The Lodge Travel Club gets quite a mention by both Jim Renwick and Denis Poole and I must say it was most enjoyable to be so heavily involved. However, it would be quite wrong to claim all the credit as there was professional help in the person of the late Brother Ian McGregor, a member of Lodge Abbottsford, who earned his living as a travel agent. Ian organised all the travel details for The Lodge of Light when they visited Jamacia in 1977, so it was only natural that he was the first person I called when I was volunteered” for the job of travel convener.

One of the first things Brother McGregor did was to visit Moncton and Toronto to organise hotel accommodation and the various travel arrangements moving a group our size around would require, remembering that the two centres in Canada were 1000 miles apart. I think it is fair to say that, unless you had a specific reason to visit Moncton, you would probably give it a body swerve as a holiday centre. Indeed, I well remember meeting with McGregor on his return from his scouting trip and asking him about the locations, particularly Moncton, which he described as being like “Whitburn on a bad day.” Apologies if you live in Whitburn.

Suffice it to say however, the trip was a huge success, with our stay in Moncton the absolute highlight, thanks to the friendship and hospitality shown to us by our Canadian Brethren and their Good Ladies. Many a tear was shed when we moved on to Toronto.

Brother Denis Poole P.M. writes about The Caledonian Lodge Travel Club: -
“During the year 1977 when I was Junior Warden, my proposer to the Lodge (Tom Grant) was on holiday at his niece’s in Audubon, New Jersey. Unfortunately he had a heart attack whilst there and was not allowed to travel back to Scotland by himself, therefore I flew out and while there decided to have a bit of a holiday at the same time.

His niece, a member of the Eastern Star, arranged for me to attend a Masonic meeting at the Florence Lodge at Woodbury, New Jersey, were I was tested by two of the Brethren, one of whom I continued to correspond with regularly. His name was Chester Hughes and he spent most of his summers at his holiday house at Sand Lake, Ontario, Canada. During one of his visits he joined a local Lodge and was a regular visitor to Harmony Lodge. At around the same time Past Master Brother Jim Renwick used to visit New Brunswick, also visiting the local Lodge.

We at 392 had started a Travel Club and it was decided that we would visit Canada and while there would visit Moncton, New Brunswick. The Travel Club was organised by BrotherBobby Clark P.M. We had 10 days in Moncton and a similar time in Toronto, arranging to have a meeting during one weekend to visit Phillipsville, which had been arranged by Brother Chester Hughes and Brother Joe Raisen P.M. of the Harmony Lodge.

We all went to Harmony Lodge and were very well entertained. Because of the lack of hotel accommodation in the area the Canadian Brethren and their families had invited us to stay overnight in their homes. Being I.P.M. at the time I was the senior P.M. and had to reply to the last toast of the evening after half the Grand Lodge of Canada had had their say. You can imagine they had said everything there was possible to say leaving me very little. I felt as bad at that time as I did when I replied to the toast at my initiation. However the whole evening was a great success and we agreed to invite both Lodges to our 125th celebrations in 1984.

At the Lodge’s 125th anniversary, the Harmony Lodge and the Florence Lodge were present as well as many Scottish Lodges. We started the celebrations by having the Lodge blessed by the minister of the Murrayfield Parish Church. The meeting was held in Grand Lodge, Roseburn Gardens being too small to accommodate the numbers attending.

During the meeting Chester Hughes was made an Honorary Member of The Caledonian Lodge and received the first Honorary Member’s Jewel which we had produced as part of the celebrations. Up until then we had never had a jewel, just the certificate.

It was then the inter Lodge visits began and quite a number took place. I think the most outstanding was during Past Master Bob Aikman’s year, when once again we visited Philipsville where we all stayed at the hotel at Gananoque, the gateway to the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence river. Many of the Brethren went on the boat trip there, also visiting the Lodge where we witnessed an excellent degree performed by The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The next stop was in Toronto where we visited Brother Danny Dockings nephew’s Lodge and also a reconstructed old Commonwealth village called Black Creek. It was made up of old houses, shops, farms, etc., just as a village would have been in the early 19th century. Above the Tinsmith’s shop was the Black Creek Freemasons’ Lodge, where we were all made members. It was a very interesting experience.

From Toronto we then went to New York City by coach across New York State via Niagara and Buffalo. We stayed at the Edison Hotel just off Broadway. We did the usual tourist things there and also visited the Grand Lodge of New York. There, we visited the only Black Lodge in the U.S.A. and were very well entertained with a good degree and at a marvellous harmony afterwards. Most of the members were schoolteachers from the Bahamas. Unfortunately apart from the Canadians visiting us once more this was to be the end of the Travel Club as we found the cost of the trips was becoming too expensive”.
Brother Denis Poole P.M.

The Lodge’s international connections were further enhanced in October 2005 when three Dutch Brethren who had been proposed by Brother Ronnie Ferris, a Scot resident in the Netherlands who had himself affiliated to 392 in 2001, affiliated. A particularly strong friendship between the Dutch Brethren and Past Master Brother Brian Williamson has blossomed and we are delighted to welcome them to Roseburn whenever they travel over.

Such is their pride at being members of Caledonian that Brother Gerlach van der Ent writes :-

My journey to the Caledonian Lodge.
“I was born in 1929 in Neth, East Indies. In 1935 the family returned to The Hague. From 1940-45 Holland was occupied by the Germans. During that time I went to a Jesuit grammar school in The Hague. At that time my father was active in the underground forces. His group raided German controlled centres such as police stations, post offices etc. One day in 1944 he left our house never to return.

He was arrested and, via several prisons in Holland, was eventually taken to a German concentration camp unknown to us, where he died.

In the last year of the war we had not enough food or clothing. I remember meals when we ate tulip bulbs. Some of you might think that the meals served during the Harmony Boards are not quite “haute cuisine” but Brethren; I can assure you that braised tulip bulbs are not to be recommended !

After the war in 1948 I entered the medical faculty of the University of Leyden where I developed an interest in laboratory work. However before pursuing my studies I had first to discharge my military duties, or as you called it in this country, National Service. So for two years I was a member of the Marine Corps of the Royal Dutch Navy from which I retired in 1959 as a First Lieutenant.

On returning to University my work revolved around the study of viruses and radioactivity. It also brought my first contact with Scotland and the warm hospitality of the Scottish people, when I was required to attend a scientific seminar in Dumfries. Several years later I accepted a post which involved working in Edinburgh on occasion, before I eventually retired in 1989.

I became interested in Freemasonry when I learned that it is not a religion but an organisation which unites people rather than gives cause to separate them.

I was initiated as an entered and accepted apprentice Freemason in June 1980 in Lodge “Moed en Volharding” (Courage and Perseverance) in Assen. I was R.W.M. of the Lodge from 1997-99.

My Lodge celebrated it’s 125th Anniversary in 2003, so it is about 20 years younger than Caledonian.

After my beloved wife Henriette died in 2005, I did not expect to have any reason to travel abroad again until I learned that Teun de Bruijn and Olf Bos visited the Caledonian Lodge in Edinburgh every year. They are members of Lodge “De Korenaar” (Ear of Corn), of which I am an affiliate member in the nearby town of Emmen. In 2007 I was accepted as an affiliate member of The Caledonian Lodge. For the last two years Hanno van der Heul, Olf Bos and I have travelled to Scotland together.

Tuen visits Caley at a different time of the year. It is very interesting to be aware of the differences in the Temples between Scotland and Holland as well as the rituals.

Of course one of the reasons is that Freemasonry came to Holland from England via France. It is widely accepted that Freemasonry originated in Scotland, perhaps in or around Edinburgh, giving rise to differences between Scotland and England. Anyway I hope to visit The Caledonian Lodge many times in the future not only to learn more about the differences but also to enjoy the warm hospitality and world-wide togetherness of Freemasonry”.
Brother Gerlach van der Ent P.M.

I am delighted to record that our Dutch contingent now number five.

No history of the past 50 years of 392’s existence would be complete without reference to the alteration and reconstruction of the downstairs harmony hall. This was carried out during the summer of 1975 and was a huge undertaking. Curiously enough, despite the enormity of the task, very little was recorded in the minute book of the time. e.g. from the General Committee minute dated 17th June 1974. “In view of the high cost of the estimates received, Brother R. G. Foulis P.M. volunteered to organise casual labour to erect staircase and toilet facilities at greatly reduced costs. With the backing of the General Committee, and on the motion of Brother J. Renwick W.S.W. seconded by Brother L. Buckner S.D., this was accepted unanimously”.

The General Committee minute dated 7th April 1975.
“Brother A. E. Gavin P.M. gave a report on the hall operations that it was hoped to carry out during the summer recess”.

The General Committee minute dated 18th August 1975.
“Brother A. E. Gavin P.M. gave a report on the hall alterations and suggested we cancel all meetings for September as the alterations would not be completed in time”.

And from the Regular Meeting minute dated 22nd October 1975.
“Brother A. E. Gavin P.M. gave a report on the work done on the Refectory alterations and spoke of the great work done by many members and also for the help he had received from many members of other Lodges, especially the Brethren from The Lodge of Light No. 1656 who had done practically all the electrical work”.

The Lodge was fortunate to have had the services of Brother Arthur Gavin P.M. who, assisted by the late Brother Douglas Martin P.M. 1656, oversaw the entire operation to produce what is now one of the most pleasant harmony rooms in Masonic circles. The Lodge of Light involvement was recognised with Honorary Memberships bestowed on the then Right Worshipful Master, Brother Willie Henderson, and of course Brother Douglas Martin P.M.

On completion of the refectory one Brother decided it required “the finishing touch”. And so “The Caley Murial” was born!

The late Brother Willie Buckner P.M. was a painter and decorator to trade but his hobby was “painting”, sounds Irish but read on, mainly landscapes with plenty of flowers and greenery.

Willie decided that a mural of the Castle would compliment our newly refurbished refectory and chose the North wall for his masterpiece. He tackled the job as if it was just an ordinary day at the office! Armed with a postcard of the Castle he would go to Princes Street at the corner of Hanover Street first thing in the morning to get his mind’s eye focused on the real thing, compared to the postcard, then head off to Roseburn where he would work away until lunch time, have his lunch, which he carried with him, then another couple of hours in the afternoon before heading home.

At the “unveiling” of his work one essential object was missing. At that time Caley had several members who worked in the Taxi trade, so it was only right that a “Black Cab” be included (this was the days before Private Hire). Willie agreed wholeheartedly and duly added a taxi which can be seen at the foot of The Mound near to the notice board which of course advertises Caley’s meeting nights. They broke the mould when they made Willie Buckner!

Willie spent the last few weeks of his life in the Sir James McKay Home in Ravelston, where several of his paintings still grace the walls, and passed to The Grand Lodge Above on 5th April 1993.

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.

Get Flash Player