Staines Masonic Hall – a brief history
Staines Lodge was consecrated on 30th January 1895, with London Stone Chapter being consecrated under Staines` number six years later. At that time they both met at the old Staines Town Hall, which still stands on the edge of Market square today, with their dining at the Pack Horse Hotel in Thames Street which as you all know has been rebuilt under the name of the Thames Lodge.
For many years prior to the outbreak of the First World War the desirability of possessing their own masonic home was in the minds of the brethren of Staines Lodge, and indeed in March 1914 they appointed a committee to consider whether it was possible to build a masonic temple in Staines. With the outbreak of war the idea was not surprisingly put to one side, but in 1927 a favourable opportunity presented itself, and with it the man most capable of dealing with the matter in the person of Harry Fear who, with the co-
The proposed premises had been owned by Messrs M&H Ashby, wine and spirit merchants in Tothill Street, Staines, and it was the Wine Vaults that became the Masonic Centre. By that time the idea had become more feasible as Spelthorne Lodge had been consecrated in April 1923, and the members of the two Lodges and Chapter met accordingly to decide if such a project was viable. With a generous offer of £1500 from Sir Edward Nichol, and with very considerable support from the brethren of the Lodges and Chapter, it was decided to purchase the property and convert it into a masonic hall, and with the further assistance of Ernest Barrett, who was also architect to the old Staines Urban District Council, the work was carried out with great speed – The overall cost of the project was some £5,000 -
It has always been a matter of some pride that the Masonic Centre in Staines was the first in the Province of Middlesex.
During the War years Lodges continued to meet at the Temple, but the Dining room was leased to a firm of insurance brokers, and the brethren adjourned for festive board to a restaurant over Dexter`s bakery shop in High Street Staines.
Various other developments have taken place since the War – In 1958 a new kitchen was built so that Lodges could return to the Hall for dinner after meetings, a new entrance way was completed in 1978 combining new toilets to provide for the then “anticipated increase in numbers”, and a new internal staircase providing access to and from the first floor was also erected in the hope that the first floor would eventually be developed.
Membership did indeed grow and in 1992/3 it was therefore decided that extra facilities were required, and a project to covert the residual loft area into two separate temples was set in motion. This in fact combined a much needed strengthening of the building by the fitting of a steel frame, which is still holding it up today.
Chairman of Trustees