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History of West Calder
Chapter XXIV. Free Masons, Free gardeners, Penny Savings Banks, Gas Company, and Co-operative Store

Masonic Lodges.

“When man to man. the world o’er,
Shall brothers be and a’ that. ”

There are two Masonic lodges in West Calder.

I. The old or Thistle Lodge, No. 270, was constituted, 13th March, 1818, and has a prosperous history.

Up to .December, 1877, the Friendly Society and Masonry were conjoint under one management. But to meet the requirements of the Friendly Societies’ Act, the two have been conducted separately. The membership at present on the roll of the Society is 133, with its finances in a prosperous and satisfactory state.

The entrants to the Lodge are over 6OO maembers since the date of constitution. R,W.M,, Bro. William Millar,

II. The new or Star of Addiewell and West Calder Lodge, No. 635, was started some six years ago and continues to prosper. R.W.M., Mr Bruce.

Free Gardeners.

“When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?—Old Quiz.

I have been favoured with an interesting account of the two Lodges of Free Gardeners in West Calder, from which I extract the following particulars:—

I. Olive Lodge Friendly Society. (Brother George Anderson, R.W.M., 1885.)

Founded, May, 1867; Charter granted by Western Grand Lodge, 6th December, 1867. First office-bearers, Robert Russell, R.W.M.; Stewart Gilchrist, S.W.; Philip Docherty, J.W.; Robert Gilloh, secretary; Alexander Beveridge, treasurer; George Hamilton, S.S.; Robert Graham, J.S.; J. L. Brown, S.K.M.; David Wilson, J.K,M.; James Close, S.TJ. ; Robert Jones, J.U.; Alexander Brown, officer.

In April, 1868, when an attempt was made to join the Eastern and the Western Grand Lodges, West Calder voted for the Union thereof, but the marriage never took place as the contracting parties themselves could not agree.

In July, 1868, printed rules were issued for the guidance of members; and registered, according to Act of Parliament, by Carnagie Ritchie Esq., reg. of F.S., Scotland. These rules were amended and re-registered in August, 1882 by J. Balfour Paul Esq., assistant reg.

This Lodge can boast that its oldest member or ‘father,’ Bro. Robert G:llon, was, for two years—May to May 1883-5—M.R.W. Grand Master of the Western Lodge of Free Gardeners, Scotland, of which he is now Dep. Master and Bro James Dick, Senr. Warden.

The funds of Olive Lodge F.S. are upheld by an annual payment of 13s per member; and, the benefits are regulated as follows — 4s per week for first week of illness ; 8s per week for next twelve; 4s for next thirteen ; and 2s per week as long as a member continues unable to work.

Members, 181; accumulated fund, £319 18s 7d.

II. St, Joseph Lodge.
(Bro. James Dick, Ht. W. King, 1885.)

Founded, May 1873 ; and adds to its title the honour of Knights of Gethsemane and Sons of Life.

This lodge has also a Friendly Society, the funds being upheld by an annual payment per member of 6s 6d or just half the amount charged by the Olive Lodge, while the benefit to members in case of illness is correspondingly lower.

Membership, 57 ; accumulated fund, £21.

Penny Savings Banks.

One in West Calder, open every Monday evening from six to seven o’clock in the Public School. Another at Addiewell in the Hall there, open on Mondays from seven to eight p.m. Both are under the National Security Penny Savings Bank, Glasgow. Their last reports were issued, 25th April, 1885, which I regret I have not before me.

Gas Company.

In 1871, gas was introduced to West Calder, which had now begun to assume the dimensions of a town. In the above year, the leading men of the town formed a company registered as “West Calder Gas Coy., Limited.” Capibal, £2,000 in 2,000 shares of £1 each.

This company arranged for the supply of gas from the works of Young’s Coy., Addie-well, the quality of whipji is considered “ fairly good ”; but the price to consumers deemed “somewhat high” being 6s 8d per 1,000 feet.

Still the Gas Coy. had a severe struggle before they were able to pay their own shareholders any dividend, owing chiefly to ..the great outlay for pipes, &c. Now, however, they are paying 3f per cent.—not a bad dividend in these hard times.

Co-operative Store.

West Calder possesses one of these popular Working Men’s Establishments, for the purpose of purchasing provisions arid clothing of all sorts, as well as many other articles in ordinary use, at the lowest possible prices whereby to save the labour and on cost of middlemen.

The importance of the West Calder Cooperative Society, Limited (established, June 1875; and whose operations have been increased and extended at various dates since), can be seen at a glance from the following official figures:—Share capital, £4,588; membership, 696; annual business (1884-5) over £36,000, including small branch at Cobinshaw.

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