Early History – This is in the process of being updated and extended.
Although the origin of the Lodge is shrouded in the mists of antiquity it is quite evident that it was in full operation for some years prior to its Warrant being granted by the Grand Lodge of England, on 24th June, 1735 (The Feast Day of St John the Baptist), and it is popularly supposed that Sir Ambrose Crowley (died 1713) who erected the ironworks at Winlaton in 1690 and later at Swalwell, was instrumental in its formation. The original Warrant being lost in those turbulent times, a Charter of Confirmation of the lost Warrant was granted in October 1771, by the then Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England the Duke of Beaufort, and it is this document which constitutes its authority for Masonic purposes. The Charter of Confirmation has been bound into a leather book, which contains many hand painted pages, some with illustrative borders, completed by an eminent artist who was a member of the Lodge Bro Dalziel. The names of all Worshipful Masters of the Lodge from the year 1733 are listed chronologically, and it is now a tradition that immediately on being placed into the Chair of King Solomon, the first act of the new Worshipful Master is to sign his name in this book. This book is always placed on the Worshipful Master’s pedestal before the Lodge is opened and on closing the Lodge he takes it out with him.
Another long held tradition of the Lodge is that only one Brother is addressed with the prefix Worshipful and that is the Master.
The Lodge of Industry is believed to be the only Lodge now in existence under the English constitution which was originally of a purely operative character.
The first recorded minute now in possession of the lodge is of a meeting held on 29th September, 1725 when Matthew Armstrong and Arthur Douglas were registered Entered Apprentices paying “one shilling (1/-) for entranced and 7s/6d when they take their freedom”.
In the year 1734 the Lodge appointed Joseph Laycock as Provincial Grand Master and he being the first PGM of the Province of Durham. The lodge continued to exercise the right of appointing the PGM until the year 1782. (There is a separate section on this.)
It is on record that in the year 1725 the Lodge was held at Winlaton, from 1735 – 1845 at Swalwell and since that date at Gateshead. The Lodge moved to its present building on the 28th April 1986.
The chair formerly used by the Master of the Lodge is now on loan to the Provincial Library and Museum at the Esplanade, Sunderland; it was used by the HRH Augustus Fredrick, Duke of Sussex, Grand Master, when laying the foundation stone of the Library of Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, Westgate Road on the 2nd September 1822.
The Pair of Scagliola marble pillars in the Temple were presented to the Lodge by VW Bro The Rt Hon John George Lambton, 1st Baron Durham, 1st Viscount Lambton and 1st Earl of Durham, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Privy Councillor, Provincial Grand Master of Durham (1814-1840) and Northumberland (1836-1840), Deputy Grand Master (1834-1835) and Pro-Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England (1839-1840) also known by the nick-name “Radical Jack”. It is believed that there is only one other pair in existence in the whole world.
The Lodge Banner of rich silk and gold material was partly worked on in China and completed in Bombay, being presented to the Lodge in 1892 by Bro Jeejeebhoy Nowrojee, a wealthy Parsee who took all of his degrees in the lodge whilst studying in this country.
In the year 1849, the Lodge visited the Lodge St David No.36 Edinburgh, this being the first recorded visit of a lodge under the English constitution to one under the Scottish constitution this was happily commemorated in 1949 (100 years later) by a similar visit to Lodge St David. This Lodge is now known as St David (University Lodge) No.36