The History of Scientific Lodge

Scientific Lodge summonsOur Lodge was not originally a Cambridge Lodge. It met at first in a tavern in Butcher Row, London. Butcher Row was a narrow thoroughfare where now is the north side of the Strand between Temple Bar and St Clement Danes. At the 'Bear and Harrow' tavern in Butcher Row in the eighteenth century a famous convivial debating society used to meet weekly, and was known as the Robin Hood Club; and it was there that in 1754 that Scientific Lodge was founded.

Our Lodge has not always borne its title 'Scientific'. In the eighteenth century Lodges did not have proper names, but were known by the signs of the inns where they met. Consequently every change of habitat meant a change of name; and thus the identification of old Lodges by means of their names is a precarious matter. (Thus in 1769 there was a Lodge which met at the 'Three Tuns', but our Lodge had removed from that inn eight years previously, and was then at the 'King's Head').

What, however, was (more or less) permanent was its number - which was that of its registration in the books of Grand Lodge. This numbering commenced in 1729; and since that year the numbers of all Lodges have been changed seven or eight times. Thus our Lodge number originally was 244; it has since been 182, 110, 106, 131, 105, and 88 - this last alteration dating from 1863. The earliest mention of the name 'Scientific Lodge' occurs in 1792. Although our number is 88, only forty-five Lodges in England can claim seniority to ours.

The lodge has had many members who over the years had taken an active part in civic matters, and at one point had 5 past Mayors of Cambridge as members.

Scientific Lodge met in the Lion Hotel for many years but In the early 60's redevelopment of the area left Cambridge Freemasons looking for a new home. In the early autumn of 1966 Cheshunt College in Bateman Street was advertised for sale. The first meeting to be held in what is now called Freemasons' Hall was that of Isaac Newton Lodge on 6th February 1968, and Scientific Lodge had the next meeting there on 12th February.

In 2004 Scientific Lodge celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a meeting at the Guild Hall in Cambridge (set up as the Lodge room usually is at Bateman Street). Around 188 brethren, including dignitaries from Grand Lodge met for the meeting, at which a short history of the Lodge was presented, followed by the Minutes of the 200th Anniversary Meeting and a presentation by the Grand Chaplain of the United Grand Lodge of England. The Lodge meeting was followed by dinner at the Great Hall in Trinity College.

Notable facts


The interior of Freemasons' Hall, Bateman Street, Cambridge

The main temple at Cambridge Masonic Hall, Bateman Street, Cambridge