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History of

Lodge Dunedin Caritas 1316





Category “C” Listed Building



Historic Scotland Description of Building

(Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.)


George Beattie & Son (Wm Hamilton Beattie in B of S), 1888. Edwardian Baroque hall (now masonic hall) with French pavilion roofs; shops at street. 5-bay, 2-storey and attic; end entrance bays containing stairs to hall at 1st floor; that at E slightly advanced as street turns corner. Rock-faced squared and snecked rubble at 1st with red sandstone ashlar dressings.


Ground floor: shopfronts altered, but retaining cornice and original structural frame; flanked at end bays by entrances to Nos 11 and 23: lugged architraved doorways with stylised scrolls overlapping doors at inner angles; consoled swan-neck pediments above framing plain fanlights.


1st Floor: 3 large mullioned and transomed hall windows at centre, with moulded cill course above rock-faced rubble apron panels. Channelled rusticated pilasters clasping end (stair) bays; mullioned stylised classical bipartites at mezzanine level at end bays, with disc roundels in frieze; small 2-pane sash and case windows at upper part of bipartites only, over rubble apron panels. Elaborate decorative frieze to end bays, with leaded oculus window at centres, framed by festoon swags and sculpted panels above pilasters; wallhead cornice; steeply-pitched French roofs (slated polychrome, with horizontal bandings and diamond detail at end bays); architraved pedimented dormer at centre (finials lost), flanked by pair French roundel dormers; separate pavilion roofs over stair bays. Ridge brattishing lost. End stacks. Plain rear elevations.


Interior: 2 stone staircases in end bays. Principal rooms subdivided except for hall; some heavily moulded plaster cornices survive in subsidiary rooms; Ionic-columned mural panelling at W end of hall presumably introduced by Freemasons; gallery opposite now enclosed, panelled balcony front survives.


Charles J Smith’s “Historic South Edinburgh” Description

(Copyright © Charles J Smith 1978, 1979, 1988, 2000)

(Reproduced with permission of the Licensor through PLSclear)

Morningside Drive, immediately south of Belhaven Terrace and originally named South Morningside Drive, leads to a district with a variety of fine houses. At the beginning of the south side of Morningside Drive is Dunedin Hall, now the well-appointed premises of the Lodge Dunedin. Built soon after the fueing of the Plewlands estate began in 1882, this ornate red sandstone building was originally known as Morningside Hall or simply “The Hall”. In addition to being used for social events in winter, it was also the meeting place of at least two embryonic church congregations. The pioneers of South Morningside Free Church, later built in Braid Road, first met here in 1889, while in 1893 Episcopalians from South of the Suburban Railway, out with the parish bounds of Christ Scottish Episcopalian Church at Holy Corner, held their first meeting here.

The hall later served the social needs of many Morningside organisations. For a period it was the property of the Morningside Unionist Club. In 1926, it was purchased by Lodge Dunedin, which had originally met in a warehouse in Clyde Street and later in the hall of Lodge Abbotsford at Churchhill. What had been known from its establishment as Morningside Hall then came to be known as Dunedin Hall.

Recent developments


In the late 1970s cracks began to appear on the southern wall, due to the partial collapse of the culvert of the Comiston Burn, which passes under the building. As repairs would be too costly for Lodge Dunedin, its members called a meeting of all Lodges in Edinburgh who might be interested in forming a consortium to take over its ownership. As a result the Morningside Masonic Association (formerly the Dunedin Masonic Society) was formed, consisting of six Lodges. The building was saved and modernised. Over the years the bar area has been refurbished and the kitchen has been modernised conforming to Health and Safety standards.


Four Masonic Lodges meet on a regular basis, The Lodge of Edinburgh St Andrew No.48, Lodge Abbotsford No. 937, Lodge Dunedin Caritas No. 1316 and Lodge Royal Thistle - The Royal Scots No 1338. Lodge Dunedin Caritas was formed by the amalgamation of Lodge Dunedin No 1316 and The Watsonian Lodge No 1375. Each Lodge has a separate history sheet available.


In addition to the Lodges, the Morningside School of Dance uses the building on Wednesdays and Saturdays during school terms.

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