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LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE OF THE NEW MASONIC HALL.

On Tuesday the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the new Masonic Hall, at the corner cf William and

I’ancred streets, was performed by the R.W.D.D. Grand Master Bro. Henry Thomson, assisted by the Grand officers, and a Masonic choir under Bro. H. J. Weeks, organist, M.M.O. The brethren and visiting brethren met in the Town Hall at haif-past 12 o'clock, and, aftersome Masonic business, they marched in procession to the site, where at 2 o’clock the cetemony was commenced by the choir singing the 100th psalm, after the Grand Master and the brethren had assembled round the stone. Prayer followed by the G. Chaplain, and then the stone was raised while the choir sang a Masonic anthem, “Hail, Universal Lord.” Secretary Zander then read an illuminated inscription, detailing thecircumstances under which the hall was built, which was deposited in a bottle along with the newspapers of the district, and the coins of the realm. The inscription ran as follows “ The foundation stone of the Somerset Masonic Hall, in connection with the Somerset. Lodge, No. 1811, was laid this 30th day of December, 1879, by H. Thompson. R. W. D. D. G. M. Contractor—G. Parkin. Architects—Fooka and Son. Officers— Henry Stephenson, W.M.; R. W, Shearman, P. M.; C. Braddell, S. W.*: .Tames* Bradley, J. W.; Harry Friedlander, S. W.; Thomas Underill, J.D.; R. Friedlander, treasurer; Henry Zander, secretary:;-J. b. Savage, J.D ; H, Pickford, tyler ; Rev. E. Paige, chaplain; H. J. Pass, organist ; J. M. Oarubridje, master of ceremonies ; J. Canning, C. Reid, stewards. Trustees—R. W. Shearman, Henry Stephenson, and Hugo Friedlander. This Lodge was established on Bth June, 1877, and now numbers 87. The hall to cost LBOO. ” The usual Masonic ceremonies of plumbingy levelling, and squaring the -.stoip' were then performed by the propvU' officers, and the D. D. G.M. declared the stone laid, and completed the ceremony by scattering corn, pouring wine and oil upon the stone, and invoking the blessing of the bounteous Author of Nature upon the iunabitants of the place, his care and guardianship of the workmen against accident, and a supply of the coni of nourishment, the -wine of refreshment, and the oil. of joy. He then shortly addressed the bx\ thren, as also aid, at his request,the Chaplain, Brotherthe Rev. W. E. Paige, who pointed out the beauties and benefits of Freemasonry. Incidentally the Chaplain mentioned a case in which a boy had been reared, educated, and set up in business by the bounty of the Masonic body, which was ever careful of the welfare of its members, and conservative of the better principles of humanity. Amongst the Lodges represented were : St. Agustine, Canterbury,, and Robert Burns, Christchurch ; Unanimity, Lyttelton ; Southern Cross, Kaiapoi ; Progress, Southbridgo ; Pacific, Hokitika ; Southern Star, Nelson; Waitaki, Winchester; Sb. George, South Canterbury;, and Somerset, Thistle, and St. John’s, Ashburton,

The new hall is situated at the corner of William and Tailored .streets, and occupies an excellent position. The. outside measurement of the building is 72ft. by 29ft.. The front part, over ante and refreshment rooms, has walls 20ft. in height, the main hall walls being 15ft, with coved ceiling, the centre of which is 13ft. high. The hall is 53ft. long, by 2<ift. Gin. broad, and is built in proper masonic position. The two ante rooms are 15ft. by 10ft. each, stairs from one of which lead to a refreshment room, 26ft. Gin. by 15ft., situated upstairs over the ante rooms. Two . circular-headed inullioned windows light the refreshment rooms, and the ante-rooms are lit by two circular-headed windows. A passage, 6ft. wide, divides the ante-rooms, and leadsto the main hall. The front, though simple, is very handsome, and is of red brick with cement facings. The foundations of the building are.of concrete. 2ft. above the surface, from -which- -iSso.’.'■brick- walls, the main walls and but*^;sses'being 14in. and the rest 9in. 11 u h e cost of the edifice will be LBOO, without furniture, and it will be completed by March Ist next. ■ The money has been raised in LI shares, subscribed by Masons. The site was bought by the Somerset. some time since.

Brethren from all the Lodges in the district, and many from a great distance, were present and took part in the procession, which, on re-forming, marched back to the Town Hall for the ceremony of installing the officers of the Somerset Lodge.

Masonic Banquet. — The banquet unj der the auspices of the Somerset Lodge of ' Freemasons, in honor of laying the foundation stone of the new Masonic Hal) and also of the installation of officers for the onsuingyear, was held on Tuesday night, in. the Lodge-room. The purveyor was Bro Shearman, of the Somerset Hotel, and 120 brethren did honor to his good things. Representatives were present from Lodges all over tlie district between Ashley and the Waitaki, and after the cloth had been removed the usual Masonic toasts were duly honored. Amongst these were the D.D.G.W.M., Bro. Thomson, who suitably replied ; and the officers past and present of the Somerset Lodge, to whom high tributes were paid. Brother Thomson, in referring to the charities, of the order, said that during the past year L 40,000 had been paid by the Masonic body in the support of three charities—one for boys, another for girls,—sons and daughtersbf deceased or indigent masons—and a third for old masons who had become reduced in circumstances, and also for the wives and near female relatives ■of such. The evening was spent with the usual conviviality, toast, soiig, and sentiment being the order ,of the night, till half-past eleven, when the .. brethren obeyed the stern summons of respectability and retired to the bosoms of their families.

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LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE OF THE NEW MASONIC HALL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 42, 1 January 1880

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