Wednesday, 4 March 2015

According to the Stranger's Assistant and Guide to Bath of 1773

The Public Balls are two in each week during the season, one on Monday, at the New Rooms on the East Side of the Circus, the other on Friday, at Mr. Gyde's Rooms on the Walks, lately kept by Mr. Simpson. The subscription to each is one guinea for the season, for which the subscriber is entitled to three tickets. Each Lady and Gentleman on a ball night to pay six-pence on their admission, which entitles them to tea.

The modern income equivalent of a season's subscription would be about £2000 and ball night admission about £60.

The following Rules were published by the Master of the Ceremonies for the regulation of the balls of Bath:

It being absolutely necessary that a propriety of dress should be observed at so polite an assembly as that of Bath, it is humbly requested of the company to comply with the following regulations:
That Ladies who dance minuets be dressed in a suit of clothes or a full-trimm'd sack, with lappets and dress'd hoops, such are usually worn at St. James's.

It is requested of those Ladies, who do not dance minuets, not to take up the front seats at the balls.
That no Lady dance country dances in a hoop of any kind; and those who chuse [sic] to pull their hoops off, will be assisted by proper servants in an apartment for that purpose.

That no Lady of Precedence has a right to take place in country dances after they have begun.
The places at the top of the room are reserved for Ladies of Precedence, of the rank of Peeress of Great-Britain or Ireland; it being found very-inconvenient to have seats called for, and placed before the company after the ball has been begun.

That Gentlemen who dance minuets do wear a full-trimmed suit of clothes, or French frock, hair or wig dressed with a bag.

Officers in the navy or army in their uniforms, are desired to wear their hair or wig en queue.

Ladies are not to appear with hats, nor Gentlemen with boots, in an evening after the balls are begun for the season; nor the Gentlemen with spurs at the Pump-Room in a morning.

The Subscription Balls will begin as soon as possible after six o'clock, and finish precisely at eleven, even in the middle of a dance.

That no hazard, or unlawful games, will be allowed in these Rooms, on any account whatsoever, and no cards on Sundays.

This relates only to the New Rooms.

That in case any subscriber to the balls should leave Bath before the season is over, such subscriber may, by leaving an order under their hand, transfer his or her tickets for the remaining part of the season.

W. Wade, M. C.

Besides the public balls, before mentioned, there are others of a more private nature, (whose tickets admit only the Subscribers) called Cotillon [sic] balls, which are held twice a week, viz. at Mr. Gyde's on Tuesday, and at the New Rooms on Thursday. The Subscription is half a guinea for the season, or as long as the subscription will hold out, for which tea is allowed.

The New Assembly-Rooms and Mr- Gyde's Room are both open for walking in, and playing at cards, each night in the week, except Sundays, when cards are not allowed, and Fridays, when the New Rooms are shut up. There are likewise two public card nights in the week, viz. on Tuesday at the New Rooms, and on Friday at Mr. Gyde's Room. On Sundays there is a public Tea-drinking at each of the Rooms, to which every person is admitted, on paying six-pence. The subscription for walking in the Rooms for the season is ten shillings to each set of Rooms for the Gentlemen and five shillings for the Ladies. The subscription to Mr. Gyde's Room gives the subscriber admission to the walk by the river side, formerly well known by the name of Simpson's Walk. There are two Concerts each week during the season; one at the New Rooms, and one at Mr. Gyde's. The subscription to which is one guinea for the Gentlemen, and half a guinea for the Ladies. The concert at the New Rooms is on Wednesday evening, and that at Mr. Gyde's on Tuesday; but these sometimes vary. The Theatre is situated in Orchard-Street, and is the property of Mr. John Palmer, the Patentee. The days of performance are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. During the spring and summer seasons a public garden, called Spring-Gardens, belonging to Mr. Purdie, and situated nearly opposite the Grove, across the River Avon, is open for walking in: The subscription is half-a-crown for the season.

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