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391-393 Church Street - Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge

Manawatu -Kilwinning -Lodge

Building Details

Building name: Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge
Address: 391-393 Church Street
Construction date: 1908
Architect: LG West
Architectural style: Italianate
District Plan Category: 2
Building number: 56
Heritage NZ Category: Nil


The Manawatu-Kilwinning Lodge was established in 1883. The lodge used a number of different venues for meetings in its first 25 years, including, for the first ten years, premises owned and occupied by the United Manawatu Lodge. It was not until 1908 that the Manawatu-Kilwinning Lodge were able to build a lodge room on land they owned. They purchased a site on Church St. The building was designed by LG West, a lodge member and built by the Union Timber Sash and Door Co. The building was opened in May 1908. That building now comprises the middle portion of the present structure. In 1929 the lodge was greatly extended with the building of the refectory.  The present front section, including the street façade, and more than likely the rear, dates from this time.  The buildings were upgraded in 1957 and again in 1983.  On 11 June 1981 the lodge amalgamated with the other Palmerston North lodges, United Manawatu and Huia.  The lodges remain distinct entities but their affairs are administered by the United Kilwinning Trust Board.


The building is designed in an Italianate style, an unusual style for the period.  The street facade and the inner temple of the lodge have Classically inspired detailed, the remainder of the building being unembellished.  The building has three main spaces - the temple, the entrance hall, and the two halls.  Timber panelling and other timber elements in the entrance hall have been re-used from the former Kilwinning building.


Ludolph Georg West (1846-1919) was born in Denmark and arrived in New Zealand in 1868. He quickly went to the North Island and settled in Palmerston North. He married the daughter of a Johnsonville settler called Bannister. His first wife died in 1891 and he remarried in 1894. It was some years before West set up in practice as an architect but, in conjunction with his son Ernst Vilhem, he was responsible for a large number of Palmerston North's buildings. Among those still standing designed by the practice are the Former Club Hotel (1905), the Manawatu-Kilwinning Masonic Lodge (1908), the Old Soldiers Club (1917), the Church of Christ. Scientist (1931), Ward Brothers Building (1935). George West (he Anglicised his name) was Mayor from 1886-87, a borough Councillor and a prominent freemason. His son Ernst was a borough Councillor 1921-25.

Summary of Heritage Values

The building clearly has spiritual values derived from its use and decoration

The building is associated with the Masonic movement, its historical use as a school, its local member and the architects involved with the building.

The building has a simple clear design, and is a successful amalgam of three buildings.  The building is a significant element in the urban design of Church Street.

The building is largely authentic on the interior and exterior, and is a good representation example of the style and building type.

The building has clear functional, educational and social values.

Statement of Significance

While Masonic Lodges are generally private organisations they are also rightly regarded as most important influences in New Zealand social and public life. That influence has waned somewhat but a society such as the Manawatu-Kilwinning Lodge included as members, and undoubtedly still does, a great many Palmerston North's significant commercial and public figures. As such this lodge can be considered one of the city's more important historic buildings. The building clearly contributes to the streetscape of Church Street in its design, scale, and materials, and it is largely authentic.

Biographies Index, ATL
Gorman LW 1977, United Manawatu Lodge Centennial History PN
Plaque on building
Matheson JR 1985, Centennial History 1883-1983, Manawatu-Kilwinning Lodge, PN, NZ