Lodge Heart of Midlothian – A History

As Edinburgh expanded to the west in the late 19th Century many freemasons who had moved to the new residential areas felt there was enough interest to form a new Masonic lodge in the growing Dalry and Gorgie district. An advert was placed in the Edinburgh Evening News on 6th April 1896 with a view to forming a new Masonic Lodge. 30 brethren responded and attended the first meeting in Haymarket U.P. Church Hall, where the decision was taken to proceed with the proposal.

Early minutes, before the lodge was consecrated, show the idea of a new lodge in the area was greeted with some enthusiasm. It was agreed to petition Grand Lodge for a charter and after some deliberation the name Heart of Midlothian was chosen and application was duly made.

We believe our roots are essentially as a railway lodge. Gorgie/Dalry had a long association with both the LNER and the Caledonian Railway and many of the original petitioners were members of Lodge Waverley No 597, a well known railway Lodge in Edinburgh. Anecdotal evidence passed down through the generations, suggests that the name was taken from a railway shed situated in the Gorgie/Dalry area, where many of the founder members were based or worked. However, although there is evidence of a LNER “named train” called the “Heart of Midlothian” from the 1890s until recent times, we have never been able to establish any substantive evidence to support the Railway Shed story. More info

In addition to the brethren of Lodge Waverley there were also two other founder members, who had a significant influence in the area and on the lodge and would continue to do so for some years into the future. Those were Robert Cox and William C.P. Brown.

Robert Cox was the local M.P. and was a major entrepreneur and dignatory in Edinburgh. At the time he was a member of Holyrood House St. Luke No44 and The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No1. Robert Cox was a major employer, he owned Cox’s Glue Works amongst many other major business ventures and influenced the direction of the lodge in its early years. Robert Cox was invited to become the first RWM of Lodge Heart of Midlothian, however due to his considerable business commitments, he regretfully declined.

William C.P. Brown was a member of Lodge Kirknewton and Ratho No85 and was also a local businessman, However he is probably more famously known for his long term relationship with the Heart of Midlothian Football Club where he served as a director, chairman and vice-chairmen. A relationship which carried on for more than 40 years. Wm C.P. Brown was the second RWM of the Lodge and remained in the chair for three years from 1897 to 1899. Wm C.P. Brown was a great benefactor to the Lodge and recent research into our early history has revealed he was also responsible for much closer ties between the football club and the lodge than any of our modern brethren realised. Wm. C.P. Brown was responsible for introducing many famous early Hearts Footballers into Lodge Heart of Midlothian, including links with the famous McCrae’s Battalion. This will be expanded in a dedicated separate section in the lodge history.

Lodge Heart of Midlothian was now on its way. Unanimous agreement had been reached on the Lodge name and the colours would be Royal Blue. An application was made for Charter to The Grand Lodge of Scotland. Sponsor Lodges were Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No1 and Lodge Cannongate Kilwinning No2. The lodge charter was granted on 6th August 1896 and the lodge consecrated on August 1896. Lodge Heart of Midlothian No 832 had arrived.

Early meetings were held in the Ardmillan Hall, 4 Murieston Road Edinburgh, where the lodge met on a regular basis and were tenants until 1904. After early efforts around 1900 to secure land to build a new Masonic temple in nearby Angle Park Terrace, failed, The lodge eventually purchased premises at 27 Murieston Crescent. The new premises were built on land owned by William C.P. Brown P.M. and a suitable agreement for the purchase of the building and land was reached between Bro. Brown and the Lodge.