When Freemasonry was established in South Shields in the late 18th Century there were, of course, no Masonic Buildings and Lodges had to hold their Meetings in taverns, The first Lodge was the St. Bede Lodge founded in1714 and meeting at The King of Prussia Inn in King Street.
This Lodge had a chequered history, removing to Morpeth in 1789, and was erased in 1815. The history 'of this Lodge has been researched by the late W. Bro. Sinclair Bruce in a fascinating paper which is in the Provincial Museum and Library together with the restored wooden coat of arms of the Lodge.
The oldest existing Lodge in South Shields is St. Hilda Lodge No. 240, consecrated in March 1780. The venue of the Consecrations, is not definitely known but is believed to have been 'The Golden Lion Inn, King Street. In any event the Lodge met there until October, 1822- when the Meeting was held at the Freemason's Arms, the house of the then Tyler, Mr. Grieves.
The Lodge returned to The Golden Lion in November 1822 but there was a dispute with the landlord over payment for candles and it was resolved to remove to the Crown and Anchor, Commercial Street, (the property of Bro. James Hall). From December 1822 until December 1826, the Lodge met at the Crown and Anchor except for two occasions on 26th and 27th December 1822 when it returned to the Golden Lion for a meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge and the Annual Festival respectively.
In January 1827 the Lodge returned to the Golden Lion and continued to meet there until May 1861. In May 1861 the Lodge began to hold its Meetings' in the Central Hall, Chapter Row and remained there until the new Freemasonsí Hall in Fowler Street was opened in March 1863.