Scotlands National Bard

Glasgow Masonic
Burns Club

Number 263 Burns Federation

The Glasgow Masonic Burns Club No 263
A Short History

I believe that this club has ceased activities in 2003 but I leave this info on for interest.

Towards the end of the First World War, several well-known Masonic Brethren lamented the fact that there was no Masonic Burns Club in the city of Glasgow as a token to the strong association which our National Bard, Bro. Robert Burns, had enjoyed with the Craft, not only in Tarbolton, Mauchline, and Dumfries, but in many other places in Scotland.

At that time there were already several well-established Burns Clubs within the city and surrounding districts, with whom Masons were associated. Naturally there were some misgivings that such a new venture might not receive the support its sponsors hoped for.

However the idea bore fruit, with the result that on the 31st January, 1919, a number of Brethren from various Lodges met in the Bath Hotel, Glasgow, to consider the proposal. In the absence of Sir John Ure Primrose, Bart., who was the first Honorary President, the Chair was taken by Bro. J. S. Jamieson of Lodge St. John, No. 3bis, who, having outlined the purpose of the meeting, called upon Bro. Charles S. Dougall, M.A., rector of Dollar Academy, to give an address on 'Burns and Freemasonry'.

After the lecture, a resolution was moved to form the Glasgow Masonic Burns Club, and being unanimously adopted seventy-four Brethren appended their signatures as Founder Members. Bro. J. S. Jamieson was elected first President, and a small committee was appointed to draft a constitution, and frame the objects of the Club.

The objects still state that the Club shall meet to commemorate the genius of Robert Burns, to celebrate his birthday, and to cultivate the study of his works, and of Scottish literature and music generally. To further the intellectual and social intercourse of its members by means of essays, debates and such means as may from time to time be agreed upon.

As the name implies, full Club membership is open only to Master Masons, and a hearty welcome is extended to any Craftsman who is an admirer of the works of Robert Burns. However, the Club is first and foremost a Burns Club and is a member of the Glasgow and District Burns Association, and is a member of The Robert Burns World Federation Limited, (previously known as The Burns Federation). Therefore, all visitors, Mason and non-Mason, will be most welcome to attend Club meetings.

Initially the Club met in the Bath Hotel, then in the Royal Restaurant until suitable accommodation was secured in the Burns House Club Ltd., 27 India Street, Glasgow, which was our home from October 1920 until 1964. Owing to rising costs and falling membership the company went into liquidation and the building was sold to the Royal Engineers as a Memorial Club.

The locations in which the Club have met since the closure of the Burns House Club, Ltd., have given us a most nomadic life. Fortunately, we have been settled in our present home, the R. A. F. A. Club, 27, Ashley Street, Glasgow, for several years now. Long may this continue.

In the history of the Club, tribute will always be paid to the enthusiasm of those pioneers who laid the foundation, and no less to the many stalwarts who, in their time have contributed to the fine reputation which the Club has enjoyed in the world of Burns.

For more than fifty years Club members have taken an active role in the affairs of the Glasgow and District Burns Association. Five of them, the late Bro. Thomas Beet, Bro. George Anderson, Bro. Archie McArthur, and Bro. Tom Myles and Bro. Bill Dennisonhave each held the position of President of the Association.

In the wider circle of the international Burns movement, Bro. George Anderson, P.P., the first ever publicity officer to The Burns Federation was elected President of that body in 1982. The sterling work of Bro. Archie McArthur, P.P., was also recognised, and he was appointed Honorary President of The Federation.

The present President of the Club, Bro. Charles W.McCall, P.P., was honoured in 1997 by the Grand Lodge of Scotland when the Honorary Grand Rank of Assistant Secretary was conferred upon him.

It was mainly members of the Glasgow Masonic Bums Club who stepped into tbe breach in 1978, when The Burns Federation requested the Glasgow and District Burns Association to host a Burns Conference at very short notice. Again, when The Burns Federation asked the Glasgow Association to organise two Burns Suppers for the Scottish Clans organisation it was the Club members' enthusiastic response that made these events the success they were. In 1988 The Burns Federation's request for a Burns presence at the Glasgow Garden festival was speedily organised mainly by our members, and resulted in a wonderful weekend being enjoyed by many Burnsians from far and wide.

Members can be proud of the support that the Club has given, and still gives to the Glasgow and District Burns Association, and The Burns Federation. Attendance at the wreath-laying ceremony in George Square in January is second to none. The Club's childrens' verse speaking competition is supported by members, and we are represented at Burns Federation activities. In 1996 when the bi-centenary of Robert Burns' death was being commemorated, a Service of Thanksgiving was held in Glasgow Cathedral. The Club, amongst other organisations, and individuals, donated two pew chairs to the Cathedral to mark the occasion.

Many worthy men have honoured the Club by speaking at our meetings. Presidents and Past Presidents of both the Glasgow and District Burns Association and The Burns Federation, and others too numerous to name have instructed and entertained our members and guests over the years. Yet there is one name that almost eclipses all others. Bro., the Rev. John M. Stewart, Past Provincial Grand Chaplain, Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow, and Past Senior Grand Chaplain, The Grand Lodge of Scotland. Bro. Jack Stewart's guidance and friendship meant a great deal to our members who gladly held their Annual Divine Service in his church. His passing was a sad loss.

It is also with regret we record that over the years many have joined the Club, but for their own reasons we have not had the pleasure of their company. We would welcome them back into the fellowship of the Club. For too many years, a small - and we must say a very small - but devoted band have kept the Club alive. But to survive and prosper we need the support of our Masonic Brethren.

It would be a great pity if the Club slipped into oblivion through lack of support for the genius of a man who gave so much to the world and the Craft - Bro. Robert Burns.

Though we are now small in numbers, it is apparent that the zeal and assiduity of those who have built our proud record have been inherited by our present Office-bearers and Members. As we enter a new era in the Club's history, dedicating ourselves to the memory of Bro. Robert Burns, it is with pride we say, this is a record of our Club's achievements through the work of its members and the reasons for the respect our Club enjoys in the world-wide Burns fraternity!

A history first appeared on the occasion of the Club's 25th Anniversary, and updated for the 50th year celebrations by Bro. Andrew Gordon, P.P. A further update for the Club's 70th year dinner was carried out by Past Presidents Bro. George Anderson and Bro. Charles W. McCall, and for the Club's 75th year by Bro. Archie McArthur, PP. This present brief history is the work of Bros. George Anderson PP., and Charles W McCall P.P.

I believe that this club has ceased activities in 2003 but I leave this info on for interest.

To return to other Clubs within the Association
Glasgow and District Burns Association

Return to the Launch Pad
Where you can then enter
The World of Burns
The Burns Supper
Analysis of Poems
The Stories behind the Songs
Search Page

click here