For some the establishment of a vibrant, colourful community of Scots in the heart of rural Northamptonshire remains as much a shock today as it was over 80 years aago, when Stewarts and Lloyds built one of the largest fully integrated steel mills in the world in Corby, directly on top of a rich seam of iron ore. Naturally many of the contributors to that enterprise were natives, but a majority were Scots and undoubtedly Corby took on, and retains to this day, a decidedly Scottish tone.
To many of that first generation of Scots, there was at first view little need or opportunity to integrate, as they developed and expanded their ready-made community. Freemasonry in Scotland had its own distinctive flavour and was generally more common among working men, being viewed almost as a rite of passage for the young Protestant man. With a number of the Scots already on the Square it set the scene for the development of a thriving Masonic community in and around Corby, a development that encouraged integration yet allowed the individuality of the community to thrive.
Initially, the new residents found themselves the guests of a number of hospitable Lodges, particularly in neighbouring Kettering, where friendships exist to today and where links remain strong. Thistle and Rose consecrated after the 2nd World War ended gave that community its first opportunity to establish a distinctive Lodge. Consecrated at 4.30 p.m. on 24th June 1948, in the Masonic Hall, Kettering it continued to meet in Kettering for 20 years.
in 1968 the Lodge moved to temporary accommodation in the Lutheran Hall in Corby, where it remained for 9 years until the long planned for Masonic Hall was built in Rockingham Road. Initially the complex comprised of just the Temple. Members have ‘fond’ memories of thos early days in the new complex of freezing in winter, Bert Hardys warm beer in dusty glasses and rolling back the carpet in the temple to eat a festive board fare of fish & chips resplendent in newpaper.
With other Corby based Lodges, the members gave freely of their time in order to convert a piece of spare land into a purpose built Masonic complex becoming operative masons with a variety of skills, from laying foundations to building, wiring and painting. It was an object lesson for4 those who could only watch, a memorial for those who did not live to see that last brick laid and a humbling lesson of what can be achieved from nothing for those who came later.At our peril will we take their achievement for granted.
Many who moved to Corby as children remain active in the Lodge and as the third generation moves through the Lodge, it seems set to loose none of its distinctive Scottish character. Formed as a daughter to Cytringan Lodge in Kettering, the Lodge itself has helped to further establish Masonry in Corby by becoming the mother Lodge of Ferraria, Corbie, Lodge of St. Giles, Heritage and Unity.
Thistle and Rose continues to thrive to this day as the oldest Lodge in Corby.
Based on an article contributed by W. Bro J.R. Wilson PPrGSwdB and published in “The History of the Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Volume 2” published in 1997.