(reproduced from the Centenary Souvenir of 2001. Actual copies of associated documents can be seen here)
"Days and moments quickly fly". As brochures of the lodge, produced in 1951 to mark our Jubilee and in 1976 to mark our 75th Anniversary, began in this fashion, there can be no more apt way to begin the brochure to mark the Centenary celebrations of this our Mother Lodge. No such record could ever be considered complete if it did not pay homage to the following brethren:
who met in Robb's Hall, New Stevenston on 9th June 1901. At that meeting the brethren present were unanimous in their desire to extend the influence of Freemasonry to the village and agreed to petition Grand Lodge to grant a charter for the formation of a new lodge. The permission of the then Provincial Grand Master was sought, and obtained to name the lodge "Robert King Stewart". With the support of both "Woodhall St Johns" No 305 and Lodge "Livingstone St Andrew" No 573, Grand Lodge granted the charter on 7th November 1901. The lodge was consecrated on the 25th of February 1902 by Provincial Grand Master Bro. Robert King Stewart who was accompanied on this occasion by Bro. James Hozier, M.P. Grand Master Mason of Scotland.
Not satisfied with what they had achieved, the brethren had in their minds, from the inception of the Lodge, the necessity of acquiring or building a Temple, and to this end, a building Committee was formed and met for the first time on 2nd March 1904. A Bazaar, in aid of the Building Fund, was held on 3rd July 1904 and some indication of the work and effort put in by our early brethren can be gauged from the fact that it raised £405, a considerable amount at that time. It is with some wonder and admiration that previous souvenir brochures of the Lodge have highlighted the fact February 8th,1909 was indeed a red letter day in the history of the Lodge, for on that day the present hall was opened and dedicated, only eight years after the institution of "the Lodge". The Brethren assembled in Robb's Hall, where the Architect for the Contractors presented a golden key to Bro. Robert King Stewart. The Dedication Ceremony was performed by the Provincial Grand Master, assisted by his office bearers and with the customary sprinkling of corn, wine and oil.
Presentations and speeches followed with the brethren of the Lodge being heartily congratulated on this consummation of their efforts since the granting of the Charter.
1914 and War! the Roll of Honour shows that 26 members of the Lodge answered the Call to service and that four Brethren made the Supreme Sacrifice. During the war years the Lodge continued to operate and despite the stress and strain of these difficult times, continued to wield an influence for good in the community. It is typical of the universality of our Order that many brethren, upon their return, spoke of visits made to lodges in foreign parts during their term of service and recalled, with much pleasure, the real Mason's welcome that always awaited them.
Up to 7th January 1920 it had been the custom of the Lodge to hold weekly meetings but on that date it was agreed "that two regular meetings be held per month". It is also interesting to note that the hour of the meeting was changed from 7.30p.m. to 7.00p.m. as a result of a Motion put before the Brethren at the Annual Business Meeting of the Lodge on 7th December, 1921.
The Lodge attained its majority on 9th December 1922 when the Provincial Grand Master, who had opened and consecrated our halls in 1909, was present at a luncheon held to celebrate the occasion. He expressed his deep interest in the Lodge and was pleased that it bore his name. He voiced his good wishes for the future prosperity of the lodge and said he was confident that it would always be one of the best in the Province, words of wisdom which are still being echoed throughout the Middle Ward of Lanarkshire.
Sir Robert King Stewart's death in January 1931 was a great loss to the Craft in general and to the Lodge, which bears his name, in particular. the Lodge marked his passing by a period of mourning, which lasted six months.
September 1939 saw the world again involved in the conflict of war and once again many brethren answered the call. A comforts Fund was instituted in the Lodge and, in this way, the serving brethren were reminded of those Masonic Ties, which stretch over the four quarters of the globe. With the return of peace on 14 August, 1945 a United Thanksgiving Service was held in the Masonic Hall, Motherwell. The service was held under the auspices of Lodge Nos.: 31, 305, 406, 427, 573, 919, 1096 and 1228 and it is reported that this most impressive service lived long in the memories of those who were present.
A most important event took place ion 21st April, 1948 when Bro. Smellie, son of the first Master of the Lodge, presented his father's Past Master's Jewel to the Lodge. Since that time each succeeding Master has worn the gift, which was suitably acknowledged, all being fully conscious of the great servant of the Lodge whose term of office it represents.
In 1951 the Lodge celebrated its Jubilee, and in November of that year, many functions were held which enabled the Brethren, and their families, to take part in the celebrations.
The brochure produced to mark the 75th anniversary of the Lodge records that" during the last 25 years the Lodge has passed through a period of consolidation with nothing of great significance having taken place". This statement could equally be applied to the to the twenty five years that have followed. One important exception is the restoration of the Instruction Class, an informal meeting of Office Bearers and Brethren, in 1958. The Instruction Class has continued to meet with Brethren, from all parts, having cited and spoken on many topics. Much benefit has been derived from these meetings and it is hoped that they will continue and help maintain the high standard of degree work and brotherly love which has become the hallmark of 919.
In 1975 a relationship was established with Lodge Cadder Freestone No 1584, which has survived to this day. Visitations to each other's Lodge have become an annual event, as has the bowls match, which is considered by many to be one of the social highlights of the year.
In November 1915 the Lodge decided that all "Harmonies" should run on the lines of temperance. However, 56 years later in November 1971 the decision was reversed and a license obtained. While not wanting to become embroiled in the correctness of such a decision, the writer would point out that 100 years on we are the proud members of one of the most successful Lodges in the Province, both financially and masonically. Without this financial stability the Lodge could not afford to be a generous as it has been in its charitable donations to both Masonic and non-Masonic deserving causes.
Around this time the "Purple Tie" was introduced, a feature, which has served to get the Brethren of the Lodge, observed and noted wherever they might go. Indeed such was the general interest in it by Brethren of Sister Lodges around the world that it can be said to have travelled further than many, if not all, of the Brethren.
Throughout the 100 years of our existence many Brethren have been better examples of freemasonry than others have and many have proved themselves to be pillars of the Lodge. No history would be complete without some mention of the following Brethren:
Other brethren have served the Lodge for long periods in the capacities of Secretary and Treasurer not forgetting Tyler an office which Bro. Andrew Mackie held for twenty five years and Almoner which Bro, Robert Edmond held for thirty three years. Indeed our current Almoner, Bro George Youngson has held the position for nineteen years.
These names are but a few of the great Brethren the Lodge has produced and it is, therefore, our privilege to pay tribute to all Brethren, past and present, who, throughout the years, have given of their time and talents to keep alive the Spirit of Freemasonry in the New Stevenston area. May their selflessness and service act as a spur to all of us, in the years that lie ahead, to continue in the good work started by those eleven brethren 100 years ago so that, in time, the Brethren of tomorrow may say of us "Well Done Good and Faithful Servant".
Please contact Bro Nicoll Ross P.M. by email with your comments on this web site or for further information about Lodge Robert King Stewart No 919.