St. Thomas is the Patron Saint of builders, geometricians and stonemasons, but the belief is that the Lodge was named after St. Thomas’s Church in Kidsgrove.
St. Thomas’s Lodge was formed from St. Martin’s Lodge No. 98, the oldest Lodge in the Province, after a successful petition was presented in December 1880 to form a new Lodge to be based in Kidsgrove. On 15th September, 1881, a meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Staffordshire was convened to consecrate the new Lodge at the National School, Kidsgrove, later known as Kinnersley Memorial C. of E. Junior School, much to the delight of the schoolchildren who were given the afternoon off.
After the meeting, the brethren adjourned to a banquet at the Harecastle Hotel, Kidsgrove which was presided over by the new Worshipful Master, W. Bro. William Saxe Pearson.
|WILLIAM SAXE PEARSON||CHEMIST||KIDSGROVE||451||WM|
|JAMES DAVENPORT||COLLIERY AGENT||KIDSGROVE||451||SW|
|THOMAS E. STOREY||COLLIERY ENGINEER||KIDSGROVE||451||JW|
|FREDERICK G. WARBURTON||COLLIERY AGENT||KIDSGROVE||979||SD|
|THOMAS K. PEDLEY||ACCOUNTANT||KIDSGROVE||98||JD|
|STEPHEN BUSBRIDGE||LICENCED VICTUALLER||KIDSGROVE||979|
|JOHN DAVIES||GAS ENGINEER||KIDSGROVE||979||IG|
|LEWIS H. MOORE||CIGAR MERCHANT||ISLINGTON||1017|
|FRANK RIGBY||COLLIERY AGENT||LAWTON||451|
|ENOCH SHERRATT||CABINET MAKER||BURSLEM||98|
|JOHN E. BROWN||LICENCED VICTUALLER||TUNSTALL||98|
|WILLIAM JOHN P. LAWTON||ESQUIRE||LAWTON HALL||98|
It can be seen from above that there was quite a wide sponsorship:-
5 from St. Martin’s Lodge No. 98, of Burslem
5 from Sutherland Lodge No. 451, of Burslem
5 from Cardinal Virtues Lodge No. 979, of Crewe
1 from MontefioreLodge No. 1017, of London
The meetings for the first eighteen years were held at the Harecastle Hotel where Bro. Stephen Busbridge was the landlord. He was noted for his catering and judging from the programmes of early Installation meetings, detailing seven and eight courses from oysters to a sweet called, “St. Thomas’ Pudding and Sherry Sauce”, the Brethren must have been excellent trenchermen.
The early days of the Lodge were handicapped by a shortage of funds, so much so that not until 1912 were they able to buy their own furniture and had to rely on the loan of chairs and pedestals from St. Martin’s Lodge.
Attendances in those days were small with only ten to twelve present at regular Lodge meetings. In 1881, the By-Laws were changed so that no meetings were to be held in June, July And August, an arrangement that continues today. In 1899, the new Victoria Hall (The Town Hall) had been built and it was hoped that the new premises might attract better attendances and so the Lodge moved from the small room at The Harecastle Hotel to the new hall.The desired results were not forthcoming and in addition to the complication and effort entailed in the setting out of carpet, furniture, etc. before each meeting and their removal and storage afterwards was not worth the small advantage of slightly more space. Accordingly after a very short while, the experiment was abandoned and the Lodge returned to the Harecastle Hotel.
Things started to improve during 1918-19 when five brethren were initiated. The following year saw membership and attendances rising and there was the need for larger premises than the Harecastle Hotel could provide. Funds were scarce and no grant was available, but certain brethren were able to raise enough to plan a new building. A site was aquired next to the Victoria Hall and construction commenced.
Brighter prospects seemed to be ahead and attendances of members and visitors began to increase. At the Installation meeting of 1920, there were 30 members and 39 visitors present, a record up to then.
In 1923, the Masonic Hall, Liverpool Road, Kidsgrove was ready for Dedication and occupation and this happened at the Installation meeting on Wednesday, 24th October at 3pm.
In 1956, a warrant was issued by Grand Lodge for the formation of a Daughter Lodge, to be known as Clough Hall Lodge No. 7481, which of course still meets regularly at the Masonic Hall, Kidsgrove.