10 September 2008


More information in:  Past and Present Chap II; Chap XVI

Lodge Blackridge No 1145

Masonic Lodge 'Hope Bridgecastle 827' was named after Grand Master Colonel Thomas Hope of Bridgecastle and was formed in Bucks Inn in West Main Street in 1895.

The Exhibition entitled Banners and Benefits, the colourful history of West Lothian friendly societies toured West Lothian museums in 2008.  It was based on the research of Elizabeth Henderson.  Visitors learned how early friendly societies, based on local trades, experienced difficulties when their membership grew older and made increasing demands on society funds. 

From 1793, the self-help organisations grew and flourished, attaining their greatest popularity by the end of the 1800s. As a result of small weekly sums paid by members, the societies, which were also owned and run by members, paid sickness benefit to needy members and also pensions to widows. 

In 1914, National Insurance changed to central administration and  society membership declined. 

Realising that the NHS would be incapable of total provision, Sir William Beveridge, architect of the Welfare State, tried in vain to encourage members to stay with their societies, but, by the mid-1960s, West Lothian's local friendly societies had disappeared. 


Photo below - centre: Armadale Thistle Lodge banner. 

Photo above: Armadale banner discovered in 2001.


Armadale Works Friendly Society 

The Free Gardeners

Olive Lodge of Free Gardeners*  (2) (3)*

Free Gardeners Friendly Society Lodge 'Thistle', Armadale, no 17 Linlithgow nd. Open: NAS cat ref FS4/1027

Armadale Friendly Society, No 23 Linlithgow nd. Open: NAS cat ref FS4/208


Apron of Armadale Thistle Lodge*

Jessie o' the Dell Lodge of Ancient Shepherds*

Excelsior Tent of the Independent Order of Rechabites Enrolment Certificate 

Hope Bridge Castle Lodge of Freemasons

More here