A Home for the Lodge
The movement to secure a permanent and suitable lodge room, hall, and other necessary accommodation was initiated at a meeting of the Lodge on 6th August, 1889, when on the motion of Brother Caldwell, R.W.M., seconded by Brother Francis Park, p.m., a committee was appointed to consider and recommend to a future meeting as to the best method of obtaining a hall of their own.
The Bazaar in aid of the hall fund which had been looked forward to with much interest by the brethren and their lady friends, and which had entailed a vast amount of labour, was held in the exchange halls on Thursday, Friday , and Saturday, 15th, 16th, and 17th September, 1892, and was attended with the most gratifying success.
The Bazaar was opened on the Thursday by the Earl of Haddington, Grand Master Mason of Scotland, who was met at the railway station on his arrival with the mid-day train from Edinburgh by the brethren of Lodge st. James and of Lodge St. John, the company headed by the Hawick Saxhorn Band marching in processional order to the Exchange Hall. Brother Dr. Middleton, Stow, P.G.M., occupied the chair, and after the opening ceremony a luncheon was held in the Tower Hotel. On the Friday the Bazaar was re-opened by Brother Sir Charles Dalrymple, Bart., M.P., the chairman being Brother James T.S. Elliot, Jr., of Wolflee, depute P.G.M., and on the Saturday, by Brother Dr. Middleton, General Boswell, Melrose, Substitute P.G.M., presiding. The drawings for the three days amounted to £750, while £150 had previously been subscribed by the brethren.
The memorial stone was laid with full Masonic honours by Brother Dr. Middleton, P.G.M., , on the afternoon of Saturday 25th February, 1893 this event saw one of the largest turn-out of Freemasons ever seen in Hawick. The erection of the premises had been rapidly proceeded with and the first meeting was held in the new lodge room on the evening of Thursday, 17th august, 1893.
James Thomson Memorial
A suitable memorial stone to mark the resting place in Wellogate Cemetery of James Thomson, for many years the esteemed bard of the Lodge, was unveiled on the afternoon of Saturday, 3rd June, 1899, in presence of a considerable gathering of Masonic brethren and friends, by brother Thomas Caldwell, p.m. the memorial, which was designed by Brother J.P. Alison, architect, is of freestone and stands about ten feet in height. It bears the following inscription:--
Erected by the brethren of
Lodge St. James, B.U.RA., no. 424
In appreciative memory of
Brother James Thomson
For many years bard of the lodge and
Author of “Doric lays and lyrics.” A poet,
Some of whose lyric productions have gained
Renown at home and abroad and to whom
This town is indebted for much that is best
And sweetest in its treasury of song.
Born at Bowden, 4th July, 1827;
Died at Hawick, 21st December, 1888.
“sweet are the pleasures that to verse belong,
And doubly sweet a brotherhood in song.”
After the memorial had been unveiled Brother Caldwell in the course of an eloquent oration said: -- “to-day we come not in sorrow to mourn his loss, but with gladness to exalt his memory, to extol his worth and to dedicate a memorial over his mortal remains which will tell for ages yet unborn that here rests the dust of a genuine son of song. . . . He was our bard and brother. Those of us who knew him best can testify how deep was his veneration for our ancient institution, how proud he was of his Mother Lodge, and how glad to be privileged to serve her. Therefore as lovers of song, as lovers of our town and as lovers of our craft we do well to honour his memory, to rejoice in his genius and to rear a memorial to his fame, and as the years roll by and fresh singers shall “pour their mellow music' along another age, we believe that for years to come there will be heard amidst the tuneful measures of later days the sweet notes of James Thomson.”