The History of Lodge St Servanus No. 771

The history of Lodge St Servanus No. 771 by Bro. Gordon N.S. Neave

The 1960s

 

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The Sixties

A lack of restraint, a desire for openness and freedom of expression, a wish to move away from curtailing and inhibiting authority, were all characteristics that allowed populist journalists and writers to name this period 'the swinging sixties'. There is no evidence to suggest that the Masters, Office Bearers and Brethren of Lodge St Servanus were other than responsible and worthy masons but we are all influenced by the times `we live in' and in reading the minutes one cannot help feeling that Lodge St. Servanus was very much alive and that a spirit of energy, enthusiasm and single mindedness prevailed in an effort to make our Lodge the best possible in every respect.

Money was spent on improvements to the Lodge's property, this necessitated considerable funds being required and outwith the usual fund raising pursuits, innovative ideas such as car rallies, a joining together with the Eastern Star for joint fund raising efforts (they had the hire of our premises at that time), cabarets and Derby prize draws were organised.

I also understand that a typical sixties `whacky' band led by Brother George Young P.M. was a considerable success and played at venues outwith the Lodge. I am reliably informed that some members of that band (whose antics at that time would surprise you) continue to remain worthy and hard working masons—importantly they raised money, always a primary requirement to further the charitable aspects of Freemasonry.

As has happened in previous chapters, honours to individuals have been mentioned and between 1960 and 1970 several names are minuted. Brother John Dubrowski is particularly remembered for his skill as a tradesman and he gave his services willingly when extensive alterations were carried out.

St. Servanus had a very good bowling team and a County Masonic Trophy played for annually was won on more than one occasion with Past Master Chalmers appearing to be the bowling leader.

A name mentioned frequently in the minutes is that of Brother George Gornall, an Englishman, and not a member of Lodge St. Servanus, although I understand he later became an Honorary Member. He with other worthy brethren was a frequent visitor to our Lodge and as a mark of respect and affection on his attaining the Chair of his Mother Lodge Empire 3257 Liverpool he presented Lodge St. Servanus with two Deacon's aprons.

Our well known and highly respected P.M. Brother Colin Wyse was nominated for Provincial Grand Lodge Office early in 1968 and a few weeks later in the minutes one reads of his election to Provincial Grand Lodge as Provincial Grand Standard Bearer, his first step on the Provincial Ladder of Office Bearers.

Around this time also Brothers A. Wright and T. McGuire both Past Masters received Distinguished Service Members Diplomas, Brother G. Young P.M. on his departure to America received a presentation and Brother J. Jackson P.M. was similarly honoured for "His services given so freely in the painting of the Lodge Room".

A unique happening and one of historic significance took place on the 10th of December 1966 when Brother Robert Beveridge was installed as Right Worshipful Master by his brother James, a Past Master of Lodge St. Servanus. Knowing Bert and his social talents one can imagine the revelry and enjoyment for all after the serious aspects of installation and the celebrating of the Festival of St. John took place.

Money matters are always important and it was disturbing to read that in the early sixties out of 300 Test Fee paying members only 98 had paid. Provincial Grand Lodge, on their annual visit, raising this issue, rightly said "that this is a matter which should exercise the minds of members of the committee since apart from the loss of revenue to the Lodge there is also a loss of contact and interest of those members". Needless to say this matter was followed up with alacrity by the General Committee and it was resolved that each member out of test, be contacted personally by an individual member of the committee.

After a lapse of twenty years a Burns Supper was organised in 1966 and in successive years this has become a popular event in the Lodge's Masonic Calendar. Indeed the Lodge did its own catering for the first time in 1969 for a Burns Supper and it was so successful that it prompted the General Committee to make enquiries as to the cost of purchasing catering equipment.

Annual Dances and the party for the elderly masons and certain pensioners in the Alva area are regular and well established features and continue to be successful social events.

During this period approximately 370 meetings were held. They ranged from regular and special meetings to smaller benevolent committee meetings and similar.

 

The Seventies

 

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