Monday, January 7, 2013

Almack's in 1833

Monday, January 7, 2013
Loretta reports:

Devotees of the Regency era all know about Almack’s.  But some may be surprised to learn that it was still a hot spot for the elite in the 1830s.

Among other things, all of us Regency writers learned that nobody, including the Duke of Wellington, could get in after midnight . . . or maybe he could.

One tidbit I picked up in perusing the Court Journal:  Apparently, there was a stretch of time, as this 1833 clipping seems to hint, when entry was permitted after midnight.  I noticed an 1835 edition reporting that the midnight rule was again in force, which indicates that for a time it wasn't.  Another note for the nerdiest among us: Sometimes the day of the assembly was changed, if it conflicted with another significant event that week. This definitely happened in 1835.


The Court Journal, 1833

Please click on illustrations to enlarge.


Regencyresearcher said...

Where does it say that the day of assembly was changed to accommodate another event? I am curious.
I thought wellington was refused entry when he came after 11:00.
I never could understand how the patronnesses wielded such power over so many people. I noticed that the daughters of high ranking peers didn't pay much attention in pre Regency days. On the other hand, Lady Caroline Lamb was ruined despite family and all when Almack's withdrew her voucher in 1816. Of course, her situation might have been so bad because her family and husband also turned away from her.
My interest in almack's is more curiosity as to how it gained such power over the so many.

LorettaChase said...

Regency Researcher, the Court Journal for 1833 and 1835 is online. "Court and Fashionable Life" lists major events each week. This is where I get my information. In 1835 it reports that the first Almack's ball was on a Thursday evening, and previous weeks mention the reason. I don't think there's a rational explanation of the patronesses' power, except that it was a club, and those who got themselves put in charge made the rules. In Beau Brummell, Ian Kelly compares it to the hot night club that everyone wants to get into. The patronesses would be like bouncers, who can be capricious.

Regencyresearcher said...

In the beginning Almack's held assemblies on about four or five Tuesdays or Thursdays during the season. After about 1815, the assemblies were held most Wednesday evenings during the season.
I think it basically remained on Wednesdays for decades. Not surprised that it was sometimes changed because of conflicts with another event. It seems that that patronnesses had power to do anything they wanted.

Regency Romance Author, Donna Hatch said...

I always shake my head when I consider the power the patronesses had. But I'm sure I would have been just as hot to be admitted if I were among the rich and beautiful of London during that time.

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