234 years since the first Ball in the Assembly Rooms Edinburgh

11th January 1787, 234 years ago Assembly Rooms on George Street (Edinburgh) opened their doors for its first Ball organised by the Caledonian Hunt Society. “Such an assemblage of beauty, elegance, and taste, perhaps, never appeared in this country” reported Caledonia Mercury on 13th January 1787. The press counted between 321 and 340 participants attending the ball in the newly build and long – awaited Assembly Hall. The Ball started at 8 pm, dancing lasted unit 2 am in the morning, followed by supper. Ladies retired around 4 am in the morning, the rest of the company stayed till half past eight. Because the supper room have not been finished, dancing happened in the tea and billiard rooms which “prevented the regularity and proprietary… No minuet was danced”. Lord Elibank and Laddy Haddo (Charlotte Gorgon, wife of George Gordon, Lord Haddo from Haddo House, Aberdeenshire who was the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland from 1784 to 1786) began the Ball. “The Beauties of Niel Gow: being a selection of the most favorite tunes from his first, second and third collections of strathspeys, reels & jigs…” published 1819 contains a tune dedicated to Laddy Haddo. “Some foreigners who were much pleased with the beauty and the elegance of the ladies and with their manner of dancing. They had seen most of the countries of Europe and gave the preference to the Sottish ladies whose dresses they also admired”.  Ladies wore gowns “in different colored satins, covered in crape and ornamented with flowers. The dress of gentlemen was neat and elegant, but no way remarkable. The sum spent on the dress at local merchants and masters, excluding jewels, was around £10,000” (worth around £800,000 today or 66,666 days of skilled labor according to the National Archive currency converter). The table was laid out in the great room, with cold food, seasonal desert and good wine “in profusion”.