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Coalfields Lodge No. 2653

Consecrated 19th June 1897

Meeting at: Springs - Masonic Centre, Corner First Avenue and Seventh Street

Meeting Dates: 3rd Tuesday Inst Oct

Contact 072 299 0220

Lodge History

Late in the 19th century a colliery centre was established on a farm called 'The Springs', hence the name of the developing township. The early residents included enough masons to start a lodge and although the petition went to Grand Lodge with a reservation about calling the lodge 'Coalfields' the District Grand Master thought it would be confused with 'Gold Fields' - the chosen name was accepted. The founders came from three constitutions, and some faraway places including Australia and Oklahoma.

The Lodge first met in the Great Eastern Collieries Hall, but in 1903 a building fund was established, a stand was purchased in 1904 and the masonic hall was built and first brought into use in June 1905. A serious fire occurred in 1913, badly damaging the building and contents and, inter alia, destroying the original warrant of the Lodge.

There was a three year recess during the South African war and some of the Lodge jewels disappeared and had to be replaced. In the event, the original jewels were returned, thirty years later, by the Grand Lodge of Scotland - having been found in a pawnbroker's shop!

A clash of dates for the Lodge Secretary in 1913 had an amusing outcome. He was the Town Clerk of Springs and the Council decided to meet on the same evening as the Lodge - but the Master spoke to the mayor, and the Council meeting dates were changed!

From 1915 the Lodge successfully operated the first bioscope in Springs for the benefit of Lodge funds but after a few years the venture became more of a liability than an asset and was abandoned.

During the Second World War attendances declined so seriously that the Lodge was almost forced into recess. However stalwarts among the Past Masters saw it through and there was a sharp recovery in activity after the war, with seven emergency meetings in 1948 and a membership of 107 in 1960.

The Lodge has been well served by its Past Masters, and two who have been singled out for higher honours are W Bro Jimmy Druce who received Grand Rank in 1983, and W Bro Harry Caldwell, who was honoured with the District Grand Master's Certificate of Service in 1989. And W Bro Eric Lyttle excelled at fund raising, and made it possible for the Lodge to spend R60,000 on alterations to its premises in 1981/2. In 1993 a scheme was developed for the five tenant lodges to acquire a share in ownership of the masonic hall, with the proceeds to be used for further improvements to what is known as the Springs Masqnic Centre.

Reference: 'A Century of Brotherhood' by A A Cooper & D E G Vieler