The iconic Masonic Lodge was gutted by a fiery inferno on Wednesday night, 26 April 2023.
While it is unclear how the raging fire began, it was reported shortly after 7 pm with firefighters responding within minutes.
While vagrants have been residing on the property for a number of years, the old Masonic Lodge forms an integral part of Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal’s history.
The Lodge started in 1892 when English Freemasons belonging to Newcastle Lodge decided to build a small hall at the cost of £235, which was raised through a loan from the local Odd Fellows Lodge. This hall formed the rear part of the building opposite the Methodist Church on Harding Street.
During the Boer occupation of Newcastle from 1899 until 1900, there was little evidence of damage to the Lodge. This showcased that Freemasons who participated in the war did so out of duty for their country. Yet, still showed respect and kindness to their enemies.
At times this kindness was strengthened when opposing soldiers found they belonged to the same fraternity.
The Masonic Lodge was eventually passed over to the Scottish Constitution Freemasons, namely, Coronation Lodge. The brotherhood flourished for several years on Harding Street.
However, the Coronation Lodge joined their English Brethren at their current address over 10 years ago, and the building has since fallen into disrepair.
Following the fire engulfing the building on Wednesday night, Quinton Boucher, Master of Coronation Lodge, Scottish Constitution, said, “It is unfortunate that the old Masonic Lodge suffered extensive damage from this fire, as the building truly formed a special part of Newcastle’s rich history. The old building also holds immense memories for a lot of the Freemasons in Newcastle.”
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