Memory Lane: Pub’s handshake with Freemasons’ history

No4 public house Layton
No4 public house Layton
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In 1865, Queen Victoria was on the throne of England, and Freemasonry was in its infancy on the Fylde coast, with only two lodges having been formed.

These were Clifton Lodge (No 703) in Blackpool and Hesketh Lodge (950) in Fleetwood.

In June of that year, the third lodge was formed in St Annes -– Triumph (1061).

Four years later the Lodge of Fidelity (1256) was consecrated at Poulton.

In those early days, the brethren would travel to lodges on horseback, pony and trap, bicycle, or even sometimes on foot.

They were based in very different areas, yet all these four lodges had one thing in common: the name of Samuel Bamber.

He was the most prominent Freemason of that era, being, at some time, Worshipful Master of all four lodges.

A watchmaker by trade, Sam, as he preferred to be known, became landlord of the Number Four public house in Layton, which hit the headlines earlier this month when its doors closed.

While remaining tight-lipped about the reason, bosses at Thwaites, which owns the hostelry, have now recruited a new licensee and the pub has re-opened.

The full title of the pub, at the junction of Layton Road and Newton Drive, is No 4 and Freemasons, and in this photograph from the early 1890s, the masonic symbol of square and compasses can be seen painted on the gable end of the building.

For many years, Clifton, Hesketh and Fidelity Lodges have all displayed framed photographs of Sam Bamber in their respective Masonic Halls, but not the Lodge of Triumph.

However, earlier this month, at the installation meeting when Brian Horrocks became Worshipful Master, Jim Bennett, past Master of Lodge of Fidelity, presented a framed photograph of Sam Bamber to the lodge.

Interestingly, the Lodge of Fidelity still has a connection with the man himself, as Sam Bamber’s great great grandson is a member of that lodge.