Although there are currently 77 Masonic Lodges in the Province of Glasgow, there is only one which is a Lodge of Research. Lodges of Research differ from other Masonic Lodges as they don't initiate Gentlemen into Freemasonry but do accept applications from members of other Lodges to become affiliate members. Their meetings tend to take the form of Lectures delivered on a variety of topics and they offer a very different experience for the Masonic Visitor.
The following short history of Lodge Century was provided by the Lodge Secretary, Brother David Rowe.
Lodge Century No. 1492 was chartered on the 5th of May 1954. Brother James D. Gillespie was the first Master. The Lodge was designed by its founders to be close knit with a self imposed limit to the membership of one hundred members, hence the name Century.
All were to be test fee paying, not life members as was a frequent practice then. The Lodge did experiment with life membership at one time but discontinued them well before Grand Lodge removed the option for Lodges.
At the outset the quality and enthusiasm of its founders and initiates allowed the lodge to enjoy a high reputation for its degree work throughout the Province.
With the passage of time and the inevitable passing of many of the original wave of members to the Grand Lodge above the Lodge found increasing difficulty in attracting candidates in the numbers required to replace the aging membership.
By the session of 1975-76 the remaining members came to the conclusion that things couldn’t continue and that the only course was for them to return the Charter.
The Lodge was only saved by the prompt and decisive action of Brother Brian G. Brown, the then Provincial Grand Master. His plan was two fold. Firstly that he and certain senior members of the craft affiliate to the Lodge to act like a blood transfusion until it could be stabilised and secondly that the Lodge change its format to becoming a Lodge of Research at which papers would be produced, either by members or visitors, with a full discussion of them during a question and answer session at the harmony.
With his backing, the plan finally overcame all obstacles to arrive at fruition.
This generous support during the change to being a Lodge of Research by members of the Provincial Grand Lodge is demonstrated by Lodge Century being in the enviable position of having three of their brethren who served as Master, also having been Provincial Grand Masters of Glasgow.
Namely Brother William Cowell Shepherdson, Master 1978-9, PGM 1984-9, who remains a stalwart supporter of the Lodge and an Office Bearer to the present day.
Also two distinguished brethren who have since passed on to the Grand Lodge above. Brother William Fleming, Master 1987-89 PGM 1980-4 and Brother Henry Jeffrey Master 1985-6 PGM 1989-94.
The change wasn’t welcomed by all the previous members, but a good number remained to make things work. With the passing of time the Lodge only recently lost their last regularly attending natural born Centurion, Brother Alan Leiper, Master in 1980-81, who was the treasurer right up to the time of his final illness.
The Lodge now also present the papers themselves after the formal closure of the Lodge. This enables them to occasionally invite speakers who, though speaking on a subject of Masonic interest, are not themselves members of the craft. Examples of this being the prominent historian of the early speculative craft, Dr David Stevenson and even a member of the Order of Women Freemasons.
Since the adoption of the research format Lodge Century now hold four regular meetings a year, the second Mondays of February, May, September and November, their annual installation.
The Lodge have changed location several times, settling in to their present home 1543 Shettleston Road on the 9th of September 2002.
Wherever they were based they have enjoyed many excellent presentations on a variety of topics, some more controversial than others, either as a presentation from a single speaker or a dialogue from two speakers who took opposing views of the same subject.
All papers are followed by a question and answer session during the Lodge Harmony. Themes of papers vary with the preference of the Master. A constant feature is that the discussion is always stimulating and is good humoured.
Lodge Century are proud of their continuing links with both the other Lodges of the province and others further afield, in particular their sister Lodges of Research. They not only inter visit with them but also invite their members to share their findings with them as well as having their more learned members present papers to them.
The Lodge are very glad to say that several brethren who first attended as a visitor with an interest in a particular topic have enjoyed the meeting enough to attend on a more regular basis or even to fully participate in the Lodge by affiliating or even taking an office