Masonic Buildings - Mansfield Masonic Centre
From WBro Damien of Devotion
When I visit a Country Masonic Lodge, I always try to give a report on the building they meet in. Several members of Devotion have been instrumental in saving out own Masonic Centre in Collingwood. It is our strong belief that many younger men joining the Craft have an interest in becoming part of the very historically significant organization. Meeting in historic buildings supports that interest, conveying a sense of continuity and history that meeting in modern office blocks with lodge rooms within does not. This is consistently borne out by conversations, as recently as one of the MAP3 attendees this week at Collingwood being incredibly enthusiastic about the Collingwood Masonic Centre.
It is amazing how little information there is on the web about the Masonic Building at Mansfield. However, we were able to glean some information local Freemasons and from the building itself.
The Mansfield Masonic Centre is situated on Highett Street Mansfield about 500 meters from the town’s main thoroughfare. A marble plaque within the building reads "LOYAL MANSFIELD LODGE M.U.I.O.O.F. The land upon which this hall is built was donated by Bros WM Jas, and Robert P R Smith on July 21 1891 and the hall declared open by Bro Robert PR Smith on Nov 17 1892”.
Local Freemasons tell me the Manchester Unity International Order of Oddfellows’ hall later became an RSL, and then the Freemasons and the RSL swapped the buildings they met in. That’s how Mansfield Lodge came to be in possession of their great building. Again locals tell me a lodge room was constructed within the space which is evident from physical observation. In the front room of the building divided by a brick wall, stud walls were erected and a false ceiling installed to create a lodge room. The void between the lodge room ceiling and roof can be seen particularly in the hallway running beside the lodge room to the South.
Congratulations to the Freemasons of Mansfield on preserving their building on the good condition they keep it in. The Mansfield Masonic Centre can be hired by the public for use.