Zetland Lodge endured a period of relative quiet in the 1880’s. Total membership dropped from fifty-two in 1880 to thirty-nine in 1890. W.Bro. Benjamin Champion served as Worshipful Master from 1879-1886 excepting 1882 when W.Bro. J.L. Dyer presided. Grand Lodge issued a Dispensation on two occasions to permit the Lodge to re-elect Bro. Champion for a third term because the Lodge Bye-Laws permitted the Worshipful Master to serve for only two consecutive years. The Lodge struggled with arrears. At a Regular Communication in May 1880 a motion was approved to enable Brethren in arrears to pay one-half of dues owed and to have the other half remitted by the Lodge. Also Brethren who had been suspended for non-payment of dues would be reinstated upon payment of one-half of dues owing. In September 1885 a motion was adopted “that some Brother either volunteer or be appointed to collect arrears of dues to take no less than one-third of the amount due and to get 20% of the amount collected.” Bro. Champion was appointed to collect.

On December 16, 1880 an Emergent Communication was called to discuss the matter of a supper for St. John’s Night. After several motions it was decided “that it was altogether impossible to get up a supper in this Lodge.” On January 12, 1888 M.W.Bro. John Yeo, Grand Master and R.W.Bro. Neil MacKelvie, Deputy Grand Master, visited the Lodge. The Entered Apprentice Degree was conferred for Hector Currie by a Degree Team led by W.Bro. George Bell, the Worshipful Master.

In his report to Grand Lodge in June 1888, the Deputy Grand Master recommended that the Grand Lecturer visit the Lodge “as often as possible and assist them in acquiring a better knowledge of the work,….” (Proceedings, 1888, p. 16) R.W.Bro. George Wakeford, the Grand Lecturer, offered his services to the Lodge and a visit was arranged in February 1889. The Entered Apprentice Degree was conferred at a Regular Communication after which the Brethren asked many questions of their guest. Bro. Wakeford remained to meet with the Brethren on the following day. The forenoon was devoted to the Entered Apprentice Degree, the afternoon to the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason Degree was the focus for the evening. Each Degree was first worked by Bro. Wakeford and then by the Lodge Officers. Each session was followed with commentary by Bro. Wakeford. (Proceedings, 1889, p.16) The marathon session must have wearied the Brethren because three months elapsed before the next Regular Communication although the Lodge rarely missed Regular Communications during those difficult years. Officers were regularly elected and installed. St. John’s Night socials were held. The Bye-Laws were revised and minor improvements to the Lodge Room were handled promptly. When the Brethren gained ownership of the building in 1888 any concern that the Charter might be lifted was dispelled.