It’s a building that gives nothing away on the outside as to its impressive heritage, but Pudsey’s Masonic Hall is a key part of the town’s past - and present.
Freemasonry in Pudsey has a long history, dating back to the early 19th century when members living in the town had to travel to meet in lodges as far as Baildon.
But later that century, a lodge, called St Laurence, was finally set up in Pudsey in the former Park Hotel.
This lodge still remains today, along with its daughter lodge, Perseverance and its granddaughter lodge, Benevolence. All three lodges now meet in the current Masonic Hall, on Church Lane, along with Thoresby Lodge, which was inherited by Pudsey when it was forced to move out of a masonic hall on Great George Street in Leeds.
Michael Schofield, a Pudsey freemason of 50 years and senior member of Benevolence lodge, said: “We have four lodges in Pudsey. We started off with St Laurence, then that became too big so a few masons must have decided to form another lodge, which was Perseverance.
“Then they both grew again and decided to form Benevolence.”
He estimates about there are about 150 freemason members, with about 60 in Benevolence, coming from as far afield as Barwick-in-Elmet and Allerton and Thornton in Bradford.
He said a freemason can be “any honest, upright young man”, from all walks of life. Women also have freemason lodges. Mr Schofield said: “We try to have high moral standards. People think that masons only help other masons but they don’t. We do a lot of charity and community work.”
Pudsey masons have recently given book tokens out in local schools and donated to projects such as refurbishing a church roof and Middleton Railway.
Each lodge meets once a month and each has rituals,a meal and speeches.
Anyone interested in learning more about Pudsey Freemasonry can contact John Howe and Co. on Manor House Street.