UNION LODGE No. 247

UNION LODGE No. 247

The Lodge we know as Union most probably had its origin in 1780. Unfortunately, apart from a reference in Mackey’s 1869 Lexicon of Freemasonry and a number of letters in the Lodge records, there is no definitive minute or official correspondence to substantiate this. Early records suggest that the name of this ‘precursor Lodge’ was “Chosen Friends”, which operated under a warrant dated 1801 from the Grand Lodge of the state of New York. There was no number associated with this Lodge. The Grand Lodge of Ancient York masons of London granted on July 29, 1813, the warrant under which the Lodge still operates. The Lodge was assigned the number 358. The Lodge remains on the register of the ‘Ancients’ or Atholl Lodges with this number. At the reconciliation and amalgamation of the ‘Ancients’ and ‘Moderns’ under the ‘United Grand Lodge’, Union Lodge was assigned number 462. This was revised in 1832 to number 308 and again in 1863 to number 247 which remains its number today.

In the early days the Lodge was said to have met in the Union Coffee House, address given as ‘Lots 7 and 8 front of Vlissengen’. Apparently the hotel Victoria subsequently stood on the site. Neither building stands today. Whether the name ‘Union; derived from the meeting place or commemorates the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813 is unclear.

Union had its first building in January 1816. This building stood on the Company Path site now occupied by Freemason’s Hall. The deeds to this property were granted to Union Lodge on May 10, 1827. However, under British rule in 1929, Governor Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisburg gave a free grant number 6804 of 1929, to the Worshipful Master and brethren of Union Lodge and their successors of the current property and fixtures provided the building and land were used for Masonic proposes only.

Because of financial difficulties, there were two management agreements for the building first between Union and Concord administered by “Freemasons Hall Building Committee” and secondly between Union, Concord, Mt. Everest, Rorima and Silent Temple lodges, administered by “Freemasons Management Committee” and then eventually in 1970 District Grand Lodge took over the administration of the building. However, title to the land and buildings still remains with Union Lodge.

Union Lodge went into a period of dormancy from 1833, during the period of emancipation activities, and several epidemics until 1853, when it was revived, and has remained continuously active ever since. On its revival, the original building at Company Path had fallen into disrepair and the Lodge was forced to meet in a building at 125 South Cummingsburg, described and located at the corner of the South end of Parade Ground in Carmichael Street. The efforts of the brethren led to the construction of the first phase of the present Freemason’s Hall building which was completed in July 1862 for the sum of $2,150. The Lodge was extended and improved between July 1874 and January 1873. These improvements resulted in a building of essentially the same form as the present building except that the original imposing tower was removed in 1960 as being too expensive to repair.

Union Lodge has played a prominent role in a number of significant events in the history of the country. Among these was the laying of the foundation stone of St. Phillips Church for which dispensation was obtained to proceed in full regalia to the Church site to perform the ceremony. Similarly, the foundation stone of the Carnegie Library, now the National Library, was laid in 1908 with full Masonic Ceremony.

Union Lodge was involved in the foundation of the first Phoenix Lodge number 1183 in Berbice in November 1867. This was to become dormant, but happily a new Phoenix Lodge was consecrated in 1996. Union Lodge together with Ituni Lodge and Mt. Olive Lodge, were the founding lodges of the District Grand Lodge of British Guiana in 1899. A Past Master of the Lodge R. W. Bro. Thomas Daly was appointed the first District Grand Master with W. Bro. F J Bankart also of Union Lodge as his Deputy.

Please wait...

Subscribe to DGL

Want to be notified when new posts are published? Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know!