NS3880 : Masonic Temple

taken 11 years ago, near to Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 2 images, with title Masonic Temple in this square
Masonic Temple
Masonic Temple
The photo was taken on a Doors Open Day in West Dunbartonshire; the Masonic Temple was one of the buildings I was shown around. On that occasion, I was able to pick up some material about the history of the building, some of which is summarized below (I also had recommended to me, by the hosts, the viewpoint from which I took this photo; for a view in a much wider context, see NS3880 : Smollett Street, Alexandria).

Click on the end-note title for other views of the building and its architectural details.

Its construction began in 1888, and was funded by the industrialist William Ewing Gilmour, who was prominent in the local textiles industry; the architect was J A Campbell.

It was originally built as The Institute for Working Girls, complementing a similar Ewing Gilmour Institute (which was for men) at the other end of the street: NS3880 : Gilmour Institute Alexandria; the street was renamed Gilmour Street, in honour of the benefactor, but it had formerly been called Fountain Street.

The building was presented to the Scots Girls' Friendly Society upon its completion in 1891. That society later disbanded, and, when it became available in 1921, the building was acquired for use as a Masonic Temple.

Above the main entrance, an inscription, flanked by the dates 1826 and 1921, reads:

Lodge Bonhill and Alexandria
St Andrew's Royal Arch
Masonic Temple
No 321

These are obviously later additions, but above them are what must be original features of the building: the Clan Gilmour crest, with their motto "Nil penna sed usus", meaning "not the quill/pen, but its use" compare NS3881 : Woodbank House (detail). For details from that part of the building, see NS3880 : Masonic Temple: detail.

The building also features stained glass windows by J W Guthrie of Glasgow. Interior decorations include paintings by Harrington Mann; the first of these to be completed was "Duties and Industries of Women" (which is clearly linked with the original use of the building). The same artist also painted several cloister panels which illustrate Scottish pastoral ballads.
Masonic Temple
The building, whose construction began in 1888, was funded by William Ewing Gilmour, and was originally The Institute for Working Girls (a counterpart to the Ewing Gilmour Institute, for men, further down the street). On completion in 1891 it was presented to the Scots Girls' Friendly Society. It became available in 1921, and was acquired for use as a Masonic Temple. Listed building details: LinkExternal link (at Historic Environment Scotland).
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Grid Square
NS3880, 88 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 10 September, 2006   (more nearby)
Saturday, 16 January, 2010
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts 
Period (from Tags)
19th Century 
Place (from Tags)
Architect (from Tags)
J A Campbell 
Masonic hall   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3882 8013 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:59.2191N 4:35.1184W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3880 8010
View Direction
North-northeast (about 22 degrees)
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Masonic Temple 

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