Britannia Lodge No. 170
celebrates a historic milestone with a drama presentation, “The history of Britannia Lodge and the Seaforth Community” at Northside United Church on May 2, 2015.
54 Goderich Street West (Hwy 8) in the Town of Seaforth beginning at 1:00 pm.
We invite you & your family to share in the celebration of this historic event.
The History of Britannia Lodge
Masonry in Seaforth began in December 1864 when eight Masons from Clinton Lodge #66 requested a new lodge. Five local men (a physician, shoe maker, labourer, miller & merchant) joined in January 1865 and three more were initiated in February. In July, 1865, the Grand Lodge of Canada issued a warrant for Britannia Lodge #170. Alexander Slemmon, a 35-year old Scottish immigrant was installed as the first lodge master.
The members met on the 2nd floor at the corner of Huron Road & Main Street; however, in 1874, Britannia Lodge moved to its present location on Main Street. It was consecrated on March 3, 1875 and the local newspaper described the lodge as ‘beautifully decorated with appropriate pictures and paintings’.
On the 2nd floor are four original oil paintings depicting the four seasons. (It is speculated they were painted by famed landscape artist William Nicholl Cresswell or one of his students). Heritage Places Television plans to feature these treasures in one of its future episodes. Here’s a sneak peek of the episode appropriately named, Art, Architecture, & Masons.
The members regularly hosted public events. January 1893 had ‘wives, sisters, friends, etc.’ welcomed for games and refreshments. At an ‘At Home’ held in February 1903, euchre, crokinole and other such amusements followed an evening of musical recitals attended by ‘a bright and pretty assemblage of young ladies’. Recently, in May 2014, Britannia’s historic meeting rooms were open to the public for the 45th London Free Press Shunpiker Mystery Tour.
Several members served King and Canada during the world wars, some paying the ultimate sacrifice. Bros. Andrew Archibald, Francis Cluff and Frank Welland were killed in the Great War and 21-year old Bro. Frank Casson, a prisoner of war, died in Ceylon in August 1945, one of the last Canadian fatalities of the war.
Over the years, many mayors, reeves, councillors, business and community leaders have been members of Britannia Lodge, including two members of parliament – Thomas McMillan and William Golding. Senator Golding was the sitting member for Huron East when the Clinton airbase opened in 1941. His son, Bro. Frank Golding, was the base commander when it closed in March 1972.
Britannia Masons have helped spearhead fundraising campaigns for the Seaforth arena, hospital and other community projects.
In 2015, the lodge room was relocated to the ground floor; accessible, brighter and compliant. The re-dedication will take place on 2nd May 2015. Other major restoration projects include the lodge’s facade, which will be restored to its original design during the spring of 2015.