The Lodge of Hope is recognised to be the oldest Masonic Lodge in Bradford, dating from its first recorded meeting on 7th April 1794, however it is a matter of speculation that Masonry existed in some form in the city prior to then. England’s first authentic date is claimed to be 1705 at York as evidenced by the first Minute Book of the Grand Lodge of all England at York. This book, beginning with a meeting on 7 March 1705 is missing, but is referred to in later minutes and correspondence dated 29 August 1778.
That correspondence detailed the Grand Masters from 1705 commencing with Sir George Tempest, Baronet. The same letter records that a Lodge met in Bradford in 1713, however that was a meeting of the Grand Lodge of all England, who had travelled from York, and it is recorded that “18 Gentlemen of the families of that neighbourhood were made Masons at that Lodge".
It is thus speculated that those 18 held Masonic meetings in the Bradford area from that date, but the first recorded formation of a Lodge in the area was in 1738 when a Lodge was formed meeting in the Talbot Halifax. Subsequently that year a warrant from the Grand Lodge at London was issued to the Lodge of Probity meeting at Halifax, and that Lodge continues to this day with minutes of every meeting since its formation. Amongst the many historic documents in the Lodge archives, we have “The Lodge of Hope manuscript” which has been dated circa 1680, and may shortly be further investigated using more sophisticated dating techniques. This document adds to the speculation of the existence of the Lodge of Hope before the acknowledged start of the Lodge in 1794.
From that date there are many books, documents and records, detailing the history of our Lodge, and particularly our own history of the first 150 years published in 1944, a copy of which is given to all those members joining the Lodge, up to this day.
In that book, is a copy of our famous manuscript, along with the names and occupations of every Worshipful Master of the Lodge from 1794 to 1944. An update of this was published in 1994 to celebrate our Bi-Centenary, at which Lord Farnham was the Principal Guest, representing the Grand Master of the Order, HRH The Duke of Kent. The interested internet surfer will find hundreds of thousands of references simply by “Googling” Lodge of Hope, or Freemasonry. The Masonic Order has intrigued historians for many years, to the extent whereby there is now a Centre for research into Freemasonry at Sheffield University.
After meeting in various rooms during its history, the Lodge moved to a new premises at Spring Bank Place, Manningham, Bradford on 24 March 1926. The rooms had been purchased by the Members of the Lodge, along with members of the Lodge of Pentalpha, and Lodge of Charity, who also met in the building. At different times since then, other Lodges have made Spring Bank Place their headquarters, rising to a total of 8 Craft Lodges, along with one Lodge of Lady Masons.
In 2015 with the closure of Spring Bank Place the Lodge moved to its new home in the Midland Hotel in Bradford. Sharing its new sumptious home with three other Lodges it has quickly settled in.