As mentioned earlier, following the closure of the Whitehead Street Hall in 1952, Lord Barnard Lodge No. 2935, Tyne Dock Lodge No. 4218 and Gothic Lodge No. 6749 transferred to the Hedworth Hall. The last Lodge to move to the Hedworth Hall was Wrekendike Lodge No. 6401 which transferred in June 1990. The Lodge Room in the Hedworth Hall is extremely large having a basic seating capacity of 235 which can be substantially increased for special occasions such as the Annual Meetings of Provincial Grand Chapter and Provincial Grand Mark Lodge.
As an example the consecration of St. Lawrence Lodge in June 1945 saw 350 Brethren present - a far cry from the 15 present at the consecration of St. Hilda Lodge in 1780. The Banqueting Hall, immediately below the Lodge Room is of the same size and can cater for equally large numbers at the Festive Board. In January 1996 the Lord Barnard, Westoe, St. Lawrence and Gothic Lodges transferred to Ingham Street. A few months later they were joined by the Lord Barnard Royal Arch Chapter No. 2935.
On Thursday 27th December 2007 the usual Hedworth Christmas meeting was special for a whole host of reasons. The last Masonic meeting at the largest hall in our town began in the usual early and quiet manner, with a short but expert meeting in the temple upstairs. Meanwhile below, guests, visitors, brethren and their families gathered in the lounge to enjoy another special Masonic occasion, swap some stories and mark the passing of a wonderful building. Around 200 attendees enjoyed a fine 3 course meal, served expertly as is the usual custom.
The tables being cleared and everyone having had more than their share, the formal part of the evening began. As is fitting for a lodge steeped in tradition and well established customs the Worshipful Master WBro Fred Fatkin rose and gave a moving welcome to all his visitors. He thanked them all for sharing this special occasion with the members of Hedworth Lodge, and providing such a fitting send off to Hedworth Hall.
In the room that night were many people who had made this particular event at this particular venue a permanent fixture in their social calendar, indeed my own wife insisted we come along to enjoy such a historic event. This hall was made for such nights and it is with great sadness that an era come to an end.
The entertainment seemed fitting, with a stirring performance from Felling band rousing the audience and ensuring a positive end to a wonderful evening. By the time the festivities had ended and the bar closed all in attendance agreed that a special evening marked the passing of a very special building.