In the 1930s Middlesex Masons who were members of lodges based in Enfield and Edmonton were dissatisfied with the available meeting places i.e. public restaurants and licensed public houses.
Later and shortly before the 2nd World War a commercial venture was started in Enfield which would contain suitably designed accommodation for Freemasons to meet. However due to the start of the 2nd World War the venture was shelved.
The suggestion made to provide a new Masonic Centre for the area was revived after the War was over. As such a number of sites and buildings were inspected by (Freemasons who were associated with the building industry and related professions. The discussions for a number of reasons failed.
It was not until 1962 that the idea was resurrected and on the 30th January 1963 a company called North Middlesex Masonic Centre Limited was formed with the object of finding a suitable venue in the area and discussing the raising of funds.
The late W. Bro Alfred Slinn of Parthenon Lodge was one of the prime movers in the project and was the first Chairman of the Board of Directors. The first President was the late John Beardmore and Bro Frank Bye of King Alfred Lodge was the first Secretary. Strangely enough, although presiding at board meetings for 15 years, Bro Beardmore never became a director. One presumes that this was because he was not a member of a lodge or Chapter which met at Southgate.
The share capital of 2,000 £1.00 shares was in broad terms taken up by 19 Directors (10 each) and the 17 Lodges and Chapters of Middlesex Province in the area took up 100 each. In March 1965 the share capital was increased to 50,000 shares and has been further increased over the years.
Of all of the premises surveyed the Company's professional members considered the Church House in Southgate, High Street to be by far the most suitable, because of its position and considerable accommodation. A sound, fairly modern building, it was close to Southgate Tube Station and to a number of good bus service. The building had been the Church Hall of Christ Church and comprised large and small halls and rooms, a kitchen area and at that time a caretaker flat. It also had room for about 20 cars in the space outside.
After some protracted negotiations the building and freehold were purchased for £43,5000. The purchase was made possible with a private loan from JDK beardmore, until other monies were forthcoming. United Grand Lodge of England had been approached for help but none was forthcoming.
In addition to the original Middlesex Lodge’s interest in meeting at the new Centre, some Hertfordshire Lodges who were meeting in Barnet became interested as did some Lodges from London. The three jurisdictions of Middlesex, London and Hertfordshire were permitted by the United Grand Lodge of England to meet at Southgate without having to change their Provincial status. Of course, there was no Metropolitan Grand Lodge in those days. The Provincial Grand Master of Essex also gave permission for Essex Lodges to meet at the Centre without having to change their Provincial status.
The purchase was completed in January 1968. £7,000 was required immediately in order to carry out essential works so that the building could be used as a Masonic Centre. It was planned to open the Centre in September 1968. At this time in 2018 this would make the Centre 50 years old. In order to help with the funding Craft Lodges were set a target of purchasing a further 1,000 shares and Chapters 500.
The Board of Directors set up a number of targets for the development of the site in two stages. This included, creating a Temple, creating a usable kitchen, creating a Chapter Room and construction of the bar and lounge area in the basement. The third stage was to create a Temple above the dining rooms below.
The work of phase one being completed the first meeting was held on 19th September 1968 for Lodge of Faith & Duty No 6853. This Lodge still meets at the Centre. WBro Eric Sylvester was the Master of the Lodge and he performed a Second Degree to Bro Colin Clark.
The next day King Alfred Royal Arch Chapter No. 2945 held its Installation Meeting where E. Comp. Stan Robinson was invested as First Principal. He later became a Director of the Centre and eventually became President. To all accounts he was a great supporter of the Centre who worked unceasingly for its welfare over many years. This Chapter is no longer in existence.
The following day Gothic Lodge No. 4517 held the first Initiation ceremony. A Bro Edward Liquorice was the candidate. He was flown down from Scotland for the ceremony. He returned afterwards and was never to be seen or heard of again.
These three meetings took place before the consecration of the Wastell Temple which took place on 24th September 1968 were held in very spartan surroundings and as the heating was ineffective at that stage the brethren present took turns to stoke up the antiquated boiler and so it is recorded, even dined in overcoats.
The Consecration ceremony was held under the auspices of Enfield Lodge No. 1237 the oldest Middlesex Lodge meeting at the Centre. The Consecration was performed by the Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex RW Bro Norman Moore MA. The Oration was appropriately given by W. Bro the Reverend F. Merrick who had formerly been the Assistant Curate at Christ Church in Southgate. So many Lodges wished to be represented at this meeting that there had to be an overflow into the large hall as the capacity of the Temple was only 70.
By the end of 1968, 16 Lodges and Chapters were meeting at the new Centre. At an Extraordinary General Meeting held in February 1969 it was agreed that the name of the Company be changed to Southgate Masonic Centre Limited. At the end of 1969 a Consultative Council was formed in order to maintain closer liaison between the members of the Lodge units and the Board of Directors. The Chairman of this Council was W. Bro A.J. Gregory and the Council lasted for about three years.
In 1971 the large hall was converted into 2 dining rooms and the front staircase was re sited. In order to provide additional parking, the rose garden at the front of the building and also the ground at the side of the building was hard surfaced. This was paid for from a donation from a brother from Enfield Grammar School Lodge.
The upstairs Temple was completed in 1971 and by the end of that year 35 lodges, 10 Royal Arch Chapters, 2 Mark Lodges, 1 KT Preceptory and 1 Rose Croix Chapter were all meeting on a regular basis. In 1973 the main share capital was increased to 75,000 shares.
At the end of 1973 the craft Lodges meeting at the Centre has increased to 41. The dedication of the 2nd Temple (Beardmore) took place on the 1st February 1974 and was carried out by the RW Bro The Hon Fiennes Cornwallis OBE, Assistant Grand Master of the UGLE. The ceremony was carried out under the auspices of the Enfield Grammar School Lodge No. 7757. This Lodge still meets at the Centre.
During these early years many members generously donated furniture, Temple fittings, dining room equipment as well as cash to purchase much needed items. At the end of 1977 the number of units meeting at the centre topped 100. InJuly of that year the formation of a Member's Council was approved and WBro Doug Morrison was appointed Chairman. This group was divided into four sub groups dealing with Charity, Publicity, Social activities and Research. Three of these groups were short lived but the Research Group survived for a number of years and was instrumental in the formation of the Museum and Library Collections. The result of this Group's work can be seen in the many showcases around the building.
I believe Halls Caters started providing meals around this time.
In 1986 the Wastell Temple underwent major modernisation with air conditioning and new heating being installed. The Banner Room was set up that same year.
In 1989 Prince Michael of Kent, the Provincial Grand Master of Middlesex, visited the Centre informally. He was accompanied by a retinue of Provincial Grand Officers of Middlesex. He was taken on a tour by our then President Anthony Pursall of Enfield Grammar School Lodge and the Chairman of the Board of Directors Sidney Tuck (Who is our current President 2018)
W. Bro J.O. Jenkins made a considerable donation to the Centre in 1990 in order that the main washroom and toilets could be remodelled. Also, in 1990 both dining rooms were refurbished, and air conditioning was fitted.
The Stanley Clark Temple was refurbished in 1994 for use as another Temple with a donation from a member of the Royal Chase Lodge.
Documents covering the years between 1994 and 2006 seem to have been lost.
In January 2006 concern was being shown in regard to the slowing down of Masonic activity in the Centre. This was fairly general throughout the Country at this time. It was thus that the Directors considered generating more activity from non-masonry.
On the 15th of November 2006 HRH Prince Michael of Kent visited the Centre again.
Tommy Lawford (he became Vice Chair in 2007) and Ivan Kraven both came on to the Board and are both still directors at the time of writing in 2018.
Also, in 2006 report was instigated in relationship to the electrical wiring in the Centre. As a result, work was undertaken to renew most of it at a cost of £15K.
Also, in 2008 Charles Fernandez produced the previous website for the Centre.
in 2009 minutes of meetings suggest that Vodaphone were asking to erect a mobile phone mast onto the building. Unfortunately they failed to get Planning permission
In 2013 The United Synagogue made their first request to use the building for religious services. We are still looking at this possibility in 2019.
In 2014 the centre embarked on a total roof refurbishment at a cost of over £60K. We received a loan from Middlesex Masonic Development Fund which has been paid back.
In recent years Clive Moules has been Chairman of the Board with David Salmon a previous Chairman taking over again in 2018. We owe a significant debt to all of the Directors over the years for the many hours put in at the Centre. Particularly David Salmon & Tommy Lawford in regard to the building where both have spent many hours overseeing work by sub-contractors and indeed doing the work themselves on many occasions
In 2018 we received a donation from Excelsior & Dedication Lodge No. 1155 in order to produce this new website.
In 2017 our caterers, Halls Catering, who had served the Centre for 40 odd years, went out of business. This caused us huge problems in providing meals for meetings using other sources of catering at very short notice. We know that some lodges took issue with the Centre at this time and you need to understand how frustrating it was for the directors at that time who were dealing with a problem outside of their control. We now handle all of our catering in house.
In 2018 WBro Rod Newson took over as Chairman of the Board with WBro Stuart Dixon as Vice Chairman. During this year Harold Ross retired during the year after 16 years of service, He has not been replaced with the office staff and WBro Stuart Dixon seeing to day to day matters and WBro Rod Newson as Company Secretary.
Sidney Tuck retired in 2018 he had been our President for many years.
A list of current directors are on this website.