A new, more open approach to the charity work Freemasons do was celebrated last weekend at Coldstream with the opening of its lodge’s Harmony Lounge.
The first Freemasons’ grand lodge opened in 1717, and 300 years on, the provincial grand lodge of East Lothian and Berwickshire and its 11 lodges are stepping out of the shadows.
To emphasise the change in attitude of a society shrouded in secrecy for three centuries, Lodge St John, No 280, founded at Coldstream in 1819, asked Coldstreamer Jamie Nicolson to officially open its new Harmony Lounge to the public on Friday.
“Society is changing, and we have to adapt, and Freemasonry has to change,” said Stewart Clark, right worshipful master of the Coldstream lodge.
“What we are trying to do is to be more open and more integrated in the community.
“We believe that charity begins at home, and if anyone applies for a donation, it is considered. The committee gave £50 to Presenting Coldstream, which was match-funded by the provincial grand lodge. We will continue to do that.”
The Harmony Lounge in the lodge’s Duke Street premises is open to anyone in the community to use.
“You will be seeing more of us about,” said Stewart, adding that one highly visible project it’ll be doing this year is decorating Coldstream Bridge with poppies.