John Walker Gibson


WBro John Walker Gibson

WBro John Walker Gibson

John Walker Gibson was a Freemason and founding member of Lodge Temperance 2557 which at the time the Lodge was formed in 1895, met at the Masonic Hall, Shakespeare Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England.

He was the first Master of Lodge Temperance 2557. The Freemason’s Chronicle of 2nd November 1895 reported on the consecration of the Lodge at the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting held on Wednesday, 30th October 1895, in the Grand Assembly Rooms, Barras Bridge, Newcastle Upon Tyne:-

There was a very large attendance of Brethren from various parts of the county, so large, in fact, that the gallery at the end of the hall was utilised for the accommodation of members of the Craft.

The whole of the Lodges were exceedingly well represented, and probably one great cause of attraction was the desire to welcome the Provincial Grand Master on the high distinction conferred upon him in the councils of the nation, and the other, the fact of the consecration of three new Lodges; the belief being expressed that never before were so many Lodges made at the annual meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge.

The new Lodges consecrated were the Temperance, Delaval and Holmes. The order of ceremony was compiled and arranged by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Bro. Ald. R. H. Holmes, and was of a very impressive character. The Provincial Grand Master installed Bro. John Walker Gibson as Worshipful Master of Temperance, Bro. George Wilson of  Delaval and Bro. S. Hudson of Holmes Lodge.

John was one of several brethren who provided items to the Lodge to ensure it started without debt,  donating a box of Working Tools which are still being used in the Lodge today. In 1897, after his year as Immediate Past Master, he was appointed as the Director of Ceremonies, a position he held continuously until his death in 1908.

He was a subscribing member and Past Master of Percy Lodge 1427 where he was initiated on 17th  December 1878, passed on the 21st January 1879 and raised on the 18th February 1879. Percy Lodge was consecrated in 1873 and still meets in Newcastle today. He received Provincial Honours while there, being appointed to the rank of Provincial Grand Senior Deacon.

He joined Gosforth Lodge No 1664 on the 1st August 1879, and then on 3rd May 1888 was a founding member of Ridley Lodge No 2260, another Lodge which is still going strong today. The records show that on 17th September 1904 he was a founding member of Lord Armstrong Lodge 3074. He was also a companion of the Temperance Chapter No 2557 of the Holy Royal Arch.

John was born in Newcastle on the 13th December 1840, the son of Nicholas Gibson (1811-1878) a county court bailiff and Mary Walker (1814-1882) both from Kendal, Westmorland. They were married on the 2nd May 1827 in Kendal, Westmorland and had at least six children including:

  • Jane Elizabeth (1839-1922)
  • John Walker (1840-1908)
  • Nicholas Amos (1842-1843)
  • Joseph Henry (1844-1906)
  • Eleanor Agnes (1846-1846)
  • Mary Ann (1847-1866)

John was Clerk to the Guardians and Assessment Committee of Newcastle Upon Tyne Union Workhouse and worked out of its Offices on 127, Pilgrim Street. The Union consisted of the parishes of St Andrew, St John, St Nicholas and All Saints, and the Townships of Byker, Elswick, Fenham, Heaton, Jesmond, Westgate and Benwell. The Workhouse was located in Westgate Road, and is now part of Newcastle General Hospital.

The duties of the Clerk was to attend and minute the meetings of the Board of Guardians, to keep, check and examine all accounts, correspondence, contracts, agreements and reports of the Guardians. It was also the Clerk’s responsibility to conduct the annual election of Guardians which in the Newcastle Upon Tyne Union consisted of 34 members representing the eleven parishes and townships. Kelly’s directory of 1894 for Northumberland also shows John as a Registrar of Marriages.

John married Mary Jane Burn in Newcastle Upon Tyne on the 16th August 1865. It was reported in the Newcastle Journal of 17th August 1865:

17 August 1865 – Newcastle Journal – Newcastle-upon-Tyne, At Marlborough Crescent Chapel, the 16th inst Mr John Walker Gibson, Mary Jane, third daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Burn, of this town.

They started their married life in Wesley Street, Sandyford then lived at 4, Landsdowne Terrace, Gosforth for more than 25 years before moving to Monkseaton, Whitley Bay. They had seven children of which five survived childhood:

  • Mary Anne born (b 1866)
  • Joseph Burn (1869-1869)
  • Emma Lizzie (b 1871)
  • Isabella Jane born (b 1872)
  • John Walker (1873-1881)
  • Ethel Gray (b 1878)
  • Mabel Agnes (b 1880)

In 1881 he ran for election as a member of the South Gosforth Local Board which later became Gosforth Urban District Council. There were eleven candidates for four vacancies but John was unsuccessful on that occasion.

The 1911 Census shows Mary Jane as a widow living with two of her unmarried daughters, Isabella Jane and Mabel Agnes in Monkseaton.

John Walker Gibson died at the age of 67 on the 21st February 1908 and is interred in Jesmond Cemetery. He left over £3000 to William Anderson, Engineer, Charles Hamilton Pemberton a collector for a gas company married to John’s daughter Emma Lizzie and Joseph William Skentelbery married to daughter Mary Anne.

The Newcastle Evening Chronicle of 22nd February 1908 reported:

“Gibson,- Kendalville, Holywell Avenue, Monkseaton on 21st Inst., aged 67 years. John Walker beloved husband of Mary J. Gibson. Interment on Monday February 24th, at St. Paul’s, Whitley Bay, 3 p.m. Friends please accept this the only intimation. No flowers by request.”

John’s son-in-law, WBro Charles Hamilton Pemberton, was also a founding member of Lodge Temperance 2557. Fifteen years after John’s death at the Lodge meeting of 19th March 1923, WBro Charles on behalf of Mrs Gibson presented a framed photo of the late WBro. John Walker Gibson PPGD,  first Master of the Lodge. The Master on behalf of the Lodge expressed his pleasure in accepting and thanked Mrs. Gibson and WBro Pemberton. The whereabouts of this framed photo is unknown today.


Information on John’s family kindly provided by Joanna Jane Hawdon his 2x Great Niece.

Photo of John W. Gibson courtesy of Shirley Hare, Granddaughter of co founding member of Guy Hayler.

Page updated 27/11/2015