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Rose And Thistle Lodge No. 3150

Consecrated 31st March 1906

Meeting at: Witbank - Masonic Hall, 26 Churchill Avenue

Meeting Dates: 2nd Wednesday (1st Sat May) Inst May

Contact 082 875 3775

Lodge History

Rose and Thistle Emblem

Thirty two brethren assembled at a private residence on 23 August 1905 to discuss forming a lodge in Witbank by then a rapidly developing centre of the coal mining industry. It was agreed to go ahead and that W Bro J G Howard (a Past Master of Royal Albert Lodge No 2315) should be the Charter Master. Fifteen of those present were Scottish masons but none had been through the chair, so it was decided to apply for a warrant from the United Grand Lodge of England; and to enable the Scottish brethren to sign the petition they affiliated to Transvaal Lodge No 1747. However, the choice of a name remains as a clear symbol of the involvement of both English and Scottish brethren in the formation of the lodge.

W Bro. James Howard

W Bro John Howard, the manager of the Transvaal and Delagoa Bay Collieries at Witbank earned a place in history through his part in the famous escape of Winston Churchill, in December 1899, from imprisonment in the State Model School in Pretoria. The story has been told many times and need not be repeated here but what is relevant is that John Howard's house was the one Churchill approached for assistance, and those assembled by Howard to work out the next stage in the escape included Dan Dewsnap, the mine engineer, also in due course a founder of the lodge. And history was to repeat itself three months later, when two fellow captives of Churchill made their escape and were also assisted on their way by John Howard. (Note: The story is well told by Randolph Churchill in vol 1, chapter 14, of Winston S Churchill).

The lodge first met in the schoolroom of the Transvaal and Delagoa Investment Company and then in about 1910 moved to a building near the railway station. This sufficed until 1954 when new premises were completed in - appropriately enough - Churchill Avenue; and an agreement has recently been negotiated with the 'local' lodges of our three sister constitutions for their participation in ownership, based on contribution to the cost of recent extensions and improvements to the Lodge premises.

The lodge started strongly, with 22 meetings in the first year, at which 15 candidates were initiated, passed and raised. Its progress has been steadily maintained over the years and has recently been stimulated by its very successful pairing with Kensington Lodge in Johannesburg.

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