Lodge Kenmuir No 570 on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland

Lodge Kenmuir 570

Lodge Kenmuir No 570 on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland

Lodge Kenmuir No 570 on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland






By and large, the Lodge had thrived up till the Golden Jubilee in 1925, despite some very difficult times in the early days. At this point in history the recession and the Depression were on the horizon, which would force the Lodge to review the way that it conducted its business.
The Lodge had commenced this era, in 1926, with 54 candidates, which by the following year had halved to 27. By the end of this era this figure would creep very close to single figures.
This, coupled with reduced attendances had severe repercussions for the finances of the Lodge. The Lodge had to take drastic measures including instructing Office-Bearers to raise funds, inaugurate a social fund to pay for visitors at Harmony and direct certain collections taken at Lodge Meetings to the General Fund rather than to the Benevolent Fund.

This period marked a downward spiral in the Lodges fortunes from the exuberance of the Golden Jubilee to the low key Diamond Jubilee.


Bro. Hutton was elected as the Master at the AGM held on 28/10/1925 and subsequently Installed.

At this same Meeting it was reported that the Lodge assets had risen to £6614-10-9 ½ , of which £2689 rested in the Benevolent fund---An extremely healthy figure. The Lodge still had plenty of Members too as it was decided to order 1000 copies of the new bye-laws. An interesting figure mentioned in the Meeting of 9/12/1925 is that a Notice of Motion was put forward to purchase an IPM Jewel and Apron for the cost of £10. Today it would cost well in excess of £600.

At the Provincial Visit held on 10/2/1926 it was reported that the Lodge had 54 Initiates in the last year and 1 Affiliate.

A couple of interesting items were recorded in the Minutes of 24/6/1926 with a children’s outing(under 14 only) planned for Springburn Park for the second Saturday in August and a cruise to take place in June. The cruise was later cancelled due to the “uncertain state of affairs in the country”---which probably referred to the 1926 General Strike.

On the sporting front 1926 was a good year with Bros. Sinclair and Baker winning the Captain Speirs Cup at Golf.

The Lodge was obviously aware of the diminishing number of Candidates and the following Notice of Motion was passed by a large majority on 27/10/1926 “That only one Degree to be conferred at all regular Meetings of the Lodge.” At this same meeting Bro. Cording was elected to serve as Master for 1926/27. This Notice of Motion had taken cognisance of the fact that the stream of Intrants (which had once been a raging torrent not that long ago—281 Candidates in 1919) was drying up—only 27 were reported at the PGL Visitation on 9/2/1927 as opposed to 54 the previous year. This would have great repercussions for the General Fund of the Lodge.

The Meeting on 22/6/1927 was an interesting one in that it was the first time that Lodge Springburn No 1198 had carried out a Degree in 570—A Third Degree by Bro. Robert Kinloch PM 1198.

The Brethren of 570 had spread far and wide as the Minutes of 13/7/1927 demonstrate; A donation of £2 had been received from a Brother in “Kenya Colony”, and a Bro. J Watson had requested that Lodge Empire, Vancouver, confer his 2nd and 3rd Degrees.

Bro. D Whyte was Nominated as Master on 26/10/1927 and subsequently elected and Installed. At this time the Test Fee for the Lodge stood at 3/- (in 2001 it stands at £12) and the Life Membership stands at 30/-(in 2001 it stands at £175).

At the Meeting on 14/12/1927 Bro. Carlton Smyth Provincial Grand Organist was thanked for devising the Order of Service for Lodge Degrees ---Which as far as I know is still then same one used today.

At the Provincial Visit on 6/2/1928 it was reported that 30 Initiates had been received during the last year. An interesting discussion took place in the Lodge that night as it was felt that the picture of the old Past Masters (which is probably the one taken with Bro. John Law at Ardrossan in 1922) should be framed and kept on view ”Once the Lodge is in a better financial position”. The Treasurer obviously felt that the Lodge could not even afford a picture frame at this time.

There were a couple of items discussed at the next few Meetings that underlined the concern of the Lodge;

22/2/1928      Attendances at Lodge Meetings were discussed—They were well down. A far cry from the complaint only 9 years ago when the Lodge was too well attended –“The congested state of the Meetings”.

28/3/1928      Low attendance had led to a vote to cancel the Divine Service, which was defeated. A further vote was taken to hold the Service in either the Church or the Lodge rooms—The Church prevailed.


The Meeting on 12/9/1928 was an eventful one . It was reported that Bro. W Munro Denholm DPGM had died and a month of mourning was imposed. The Lodge decided, on a vote, to donate to the Earl Haig Fund for the first time—The sum £1.

By this time Bro. Carlton Smyth had completed 25 years as Provincial Grand Organist, and a letter came from Provincial Grand Secretary requesting a collection of 10/- per Lodge for gift fund.

Bro. R Steele was Nominated as Master and subsequently installed. Unfortunately the Minutes do not contain details of the Secretary and Treasurers Reports.

The Provincial Grand Lodge Visitation of 13/2/1929 recorded that the Lodge had 35 Initiates and 1 affiliate for the previous year.

It was with sadness that the death of Bro. Robert Kirkland JP PM(1899-1901) was reported at the Meeting on 27/2/1929. At this same Meeting it was agreed that Instruction Classes would be held on Friday nights.

The Lodge realised the difficulties that the General Fund was getting into and at the Meeting on 10/4/1929 it was decided that “The Office-Bearers take into early consideration, schemes fior raising money to help the General Fund”. The response was to organise a Theatre night and a concert in Springburn Public Hall. While both of these effected a quick fix it did not address the real problem—A lack of regular income in the form of Initiation Fees for the General Fund.

At the meeting on 11/9/1929 the death of Bro. J Peebles PM(1918) Treasurer was announced. The Master asked the following to be recorded in the Minutes “The Lodge has lost a valuable Member who had been an Office-Bearer for many years”. Another PM, Bro. W Gilmour(1921) had passed away by the next Meeting on 9/10/1929.

2 Candidates were put forward for Master on 23/10/1929—Bro. Mollinson and Bro. C Smyth. Eventually Bro. Mollinson became Master and Bro. C Smyth continued as Director of Music, At the same Meeting Bro. Rev John Duncan (of Cowlairs Church) stepped down as Chaplain and Bro. Rev. John Lindsay (of Wellfield Church) took over as Chaplain.

On a Meeting held on Christmas day 1929 the death of Bro. J Bryan PM (1891) was reported. The Intrants for the year had remained constant at 35.

The Lodge was invited to confer the 3rd Degree at Lodge Old Monklands St James No 177 in Coatbridge and special buses were arranged from the hall at a cost of 2/6 per head. A Deputation of 78 Brethren visited this Lodge. This visit was reciprocated when Lodge Old Monklands St James No 177 visited 570 on 25/6/1930 to confer the Third Degree. The cost of the Harmony was 2/6 for Kenmuir Members to cover the cost of visitors. This must have been quite expensive when you consider that the Test Fee was 3/-.

The Lodge responded to this “problem” of visitors by inaugurating a Social Fund to help pay for harmonies. On the Motion of Bro. G Carruth PM seconded by Bro. Whyte PM a Committee was set up for this purpose comprising Bro. John Howat DM, Bro. J McLeod SW, Bro. A Hutton PM as well as the RWM,Secretary and Treasurer.

The Lodge was also concerned about the state of the General Fund and it was decided that “Only the collection taken at the 1st Degree would go Benevolence, All others except the Mark would go to the General Fund”. This was a major shift in the policy of 570---All collections had previously went to the Benevolent Fund (hence the reason it was so healthy). Previously the General Fund had always been well supported by numerous Initiation fees and revenue from Hall lets but both of these had been drastically reduced to the Depression. This move was therefore necessary to address the financial shortfall on an ongoing basis. 

The AGM for 1930 was held on 22/10/30 and the Office-Bearers emoluments for 1930/31 were detailed.

                        Secretary                   £33-33-0
                        Treasurer                   £15-15-0
                        Tyler                           £12-12-0

And a sum for services rendered in session 1929/30 was also agreed.

                        Almoner                     £6-6-0
                        Director of Music      £6-6-0

3 Candidates were put forward for the Office of Master ;

                        Bro. J Howat
                        Bro. C Smyth
                        Bro. A Phillips

Bro, A Phillips was successful at the Election Meeting on 12/11/1930. At this meeting the Secretary gave his report and made reference to the “hard times” prevalent in that era. 

            Initiates for the year             42                                                      

            21 Regular Meetings           Average         94       Total   1977

              9 Special Meetings            Average         55       Total     491
                                                                                    Grand Total   2468

The Secretary, Bro. Carswell also reported that the Burns Supper had been a great success and would be continued. Bro. A Phillips was duly Installed on 26/11/1930.

An interesting letter was read at the Meeting on 28/1/1931 from Lodge Possilpark seeking support in an appeal to Grand Lodge to reduce the minimum Initiation Fee to £6-6-0. This was supported unanimously.
At this time each Regular Meeting contained a part in the Agenda for Benevolence during which all cases were discussed in detail in open Lodge and a vote taken on how much to award. Occasionally the Master would have to remind the Lodge that these discussions were confidential and were not to be discussed elsewhere.
At the Meeting on 25/3/1931 a letter was read from the Provincial Grand Secretary asking for assistance from Lodges for the New Zealand earthquake—The Lodge duly obliged and donated £2-2-0.

The Meeting on 22/4/1931 contained the sad news that The PGM Bro. J Rankin Andrew had died. At the same Meeting during the Harmony, Bro. Mollinson IPM received a clock, and for his wife he received an electric cut glass lamp. In turn Bro. Mollinson presented Bro. Carswell, Secretary, with two vases to thank him for his help during his year in the chair.

At the meeting on 27/5/1931 a successor for the Office of PGM was nominated—Bro. John Grant.

The Nomination Meeting of 28/10/1931 saw 2 Brethren go forward for the Office of RWM ;
                        Bro. J Howat
                        Bro. A Robinson
with Bro. J Howat being successful at the Election Meeting on 11/11/1931.

The Secretary gave his report at that Meeting and made reference to the “very hard times for the Lodge”. The Hall Fund made a loss of £76---The main reason being that both halls required to be redecorated (at a cost of £78) and obviously this had not been budgeted or planned for.

The total strength of the Lodge was

                        Test Fee Members                 134

                        Life Members                        1328
                                    Total                           1462

While the attendances for the year were

                                                            Initiates for the year             32
            21 Regular Meetings           Average         98       Total   2063
              4 Special Meetings            Average         38       Total     152
                                                                                    Grand Total   2215

It must be said that while the strength of the Lodge was 1462---the average attendance was only 98 which represents only 7% of the Membership. This would seem a very poor attendance.

Bro. Carswell, Secretary, concluded his report by saying, “he was proud to be Secretary of this old Lodge

The Lodge continued in a social vein in 1932 with a dance being arranged for March—Ticket price 2/6.

Comment was passed on the very poor attendance at the Annual Provincial Grand Lodge Visit with the collection only raising 17/6—It was decided to augment this to £2.

The Lodge received an invitation to confer the 3rd Degree on 6th April at Lodge Carron, Larbert No 739 and names were to be passed to the Secretary. By the next Meeting the Secretary had 40 names, which by 23/3/32 had increased to 73. 2 buses were arranged which left the Hall at 6.45 PM—the cost being 2/3 per head.

The Lodge also received a letter from Lodge Springburn No 1198 agreeing to the proposal of 570 to hold a joint Divine Service on 11th September at Wellfield Church. This was obviously in response to the falling attendances.

Bro. John Cumming Howat (Junior) joined the Lodge on 16/8/1932, age 21, Occupation Grocer residing at 159 Morrin Street. His First Degree was conducted by Bro. Morrison IG, his Second Degree was conducted by Bro. J Russel Assistant Chaplain and his Third Degree was conducted by his father Bro. John C Howat (Senior) Master. Bro Jock C Howat (Junior) was a faithful servant of Lodge Kenmuir who in his latter days specialised in a unique Second Degree and everyone who met him will certainly never forget him.

Once again the Nomination Meeting on 26/10/1932 produced two candidates for Master
                        Bro. Dobinson
                        Bro. McLeod

With Bro. Dobinson being elected on 11/11/1932 and duly installed on 23/11/1932—Bro. Dobinson was the last Master to be Nominated, Elected and Installed over the course of 3 Meetings.

The Secretary gave his report at the Meeting on 26/10/1932 stating that only 15 Candidates had joined in the last year, citing the Depression as the cause.
The following Meetings were held

                        21 Regular Meetings           Average         100    Total   2106

There were no Special Meeting held that year due to lack of Candidates.

The Lodge strength was

                        Test Fee Members                 114
                        Life Members                        1334
                                    Total                           1448

A Notice of Motion was put forward at the Meeting on 25/1/1933—The effect being that the Nomination Meeting and the Election Meeting be combined to be held on the 2nd Wednesday in November with the Installation on the 4th Wednesday in November. This was eventually put to the vote and “ the Motion was carried by a large majority”. This would certainly streamline the Election process and also reduce canvassing for votes between the Nomination and Election Meetings.

Lodge Bishopbriggs No 1259 carried out a 3rd Degree by Bro. J Locke PM on 14/5/1933 at 570—The first record of 1259 carrying out a Degree at Kenmuir

As a token of his work for the Lodge Bro. John Howat PM was presented with a Westminster Chimes Clock and a pair of vases at the Meeting on 9/8/1933.

An interesting letter was read from Bro. Rev. McGill (a Member of 570) on 9/8/1933 asking for the Brethren’s support in the re-opening of his church ,Milton Parish , on 2/9/1933.

The Secretary gave his annual Report at the Meeting on 8/11/1933, stating that the Lodge had only 19 Candidates in the preceding year—again due to the Depression. Unusually he also mentioned the Lodge Annuity Fund “which was awarding annual amounts to deserving Lodge Members”. Could this be a coded message or  “Secretaryspeak”—were the grants being given to Members to repay the Lodge to support the General Fund? Or is it just my suspicious nature?

The attendance at Meetings were

                        21 Regular Meetings           Average         87       Total   1834
                          1 Special Meeting              Average         37       Total       37
                                                                                                Grand Total   1871
The strength of the Lodge was

                        Test Fee Members                   97
                        Life Members                        1339

The Secretary also reported that the combination of Nomination and Election Meetings had saved the Lodge £2-10-0 in printing and postage. He concluded his report with “without being unduly optimistic, let us look forward with confidence to the future of the good old Lodge and never forget that we cannot command success, we can at least do what we can to deserve it”.

In the Minutes of the Meeting on 8/11/1933 the Nomination and Election of the Master took place at the same Meeting for the first time.There were 3 Candidates

                        Bro. J McLeod
                        Bro. W Divine
                        Bro. W Shields

Bro. J McLeod became the first Master to have the honour of being elected this way under this new procedure.

13/12/1933 was an interesting date for the Lodge in that  2 Meetings were held that day : A special Meeting at 6.30Pm too confer the 2nd Degree and the Regular Meeting at 7.30Pm to confer a 1st Degree. The reason for this being that the Lodge was bound to the bye-law of one Meeting-One Degree. The solution therefore was to hold 2 Meetings!

The Lodge discussed the possibility of holding Diamond Jubilee events and this was duly referred to the Office-Bearers to consider at the Meeting on 10/1/1934. At this same Meeting a dance was arranged for 30/2/1934—The cost of tickets being Gents 3/- and Ladies 2/6. Obviously a bit of sex discrimination there!
The Office-Bearers quickly responded with recommendations at the next Regular Meeting;

           1.The Lodge hold Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

2.That the celebrations take the form of a special Lodge Meeting to be                                                   held on approx 2nd August, followed by Dinner. Harmony Tickets 5/-

3.Two Representatives from Provincial Grand Lodge and Grand Lodge be invited to attend function.

4.That an amount of credit of the children’s day account be transferred to special Diamond Jubilee account.

The Lodge readily accepted these recommendations. I assume the fourth recommendation was to help defray the costs of the event as the General Fund was certainly struggling by this time.

At the Meeting on 14/2/1934 the Lodge appointed three representatives to attend a meeting in Lodge Bishopbriggs regarding the formation of a Burns Masonic Club.

Two curious events are recorded in the Minutes of 28/3/1934, with the Lodge arranging a “Mystery Motor Run” at a cost of 3/- including tea! The other event was that a 570 Past Masters Jewel was in a sale room , however the Master ruled that purchasing the jewel was “outwith the Lodges jurisdiction”—A strange ruling.

At the Meeting on 12/6/1934 a proposal was put to the Lodge to cancel the next Regular Meeting due to the lack of Candidates. This was put to the vote and it was decided that the meeting should proceed regardless. At this same meeting it was reported that the “Mystery Motor Run” was a great success and a further one was planned for September.

Bro. Briggs gave a donation to the Lodge of £6-7-6, which represented the commission of a loan to Glasgow Corporation. I assume that the Lodge could not do this directly and Bro. Briggs was the nominee.

An interesting visitor attended the Lodge on 10/10/1934—Bro. J Finlay PM Lodge Southern Cross No 1240 EC based in Cordoba, Argentina who conveyed the greetings of his Master Bro. James Mailer a Member of Lodge Kenmuir.

On a maintenance issue the Lodge Members expressed concern about the lighting in the hall and the poor condition of “the lobby and the conveniences

The Lodge were suffering hard times and at the meeting on 14/11/1934 it was decided to reduce emoluments to ;

                        Secretary                   £15     15        0
                        Treasurer                   £10       0        0
                        Tyler                           £8          8        0

The attendances at the meetings were;

                        21 Regular Meetings           1540               73 Average
                          5 Special Meetings              235               47 Average
Total                           1775
The strength of the Lodge at this time was

                        Life Members                        1343
                        Test Fee Members                 105
                                    Total                           1448

However despite the Lodge Membership being 1448 only 61 attended the AGM – A turn out of only 4.2% of the Membership. A very poor attendance for an AGM. Bro. Carswell resigned as Secretary at this Meeting and this Office was taken up by Bro. Morrison

A curious vote was taken at the meeting on 13/2/1935- The Meeting prior to the Provincial Grand Lodge Visitation of that year—It was decided to not award Honorary Membership to the PGL Deputation by a majority of 24 to 17. Perhaps this was done for financial reasons as Honorary Members appeared to be classed as Life Members at this time. It was also decided to invite “our regular Lodges to the PGL Visitation---Lodges Springburn, St Andrew, Bishopbriggs, Possilpark and the 12 oldest Members of the Lodge

At the Meeting on 13/3/1935 it was recorded that Bro. James Nairn, a Member of Kenmuir, had been elected DGJD of Singapore.

30/8/1935 marked the diamond jubilee of Lodge Kenmuir with a special meeting. PGL were represented at that Meeting by Bro James Murray DPGM who read a letter from the Provincial Grand Lodge wishing the Lodge all the best for the future. 90 Brethren attended this relatively low-key meeting and at the harmony the Brethren were treated to a musical performance by Bro. Carlton Smyth whom the Master Bro. Shields thanked for his presentation. The harmony concluded with the Brethren joining hands and singing Old Lang Syne.





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