The return of the Assembly Rooms

This month sees the eagerly anticipated reopening of the Assembly Rooms. Timed to coincide with this year’s Festival Fringe, the refurbished George Street venue is set to be inundated with visitors from the city and around the world.

The Assembly Rooms, first opened on George Street in January 1787 with a Caledonian Hunt Ball. A Master of Ceremonies was appointed to make sure Edinburgh’s socialites adhered to the regulations. Dress code was strict too, with young gentlemen refused entry if their hair was unpowdered or untied, or if they were wearing boots.

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Today’s Fringe audiences are unlikely to be turned away for their attire, but they’re sure to be equally impressed by the building’s grandeur and entertainment. We’ve put together a collection of images and ephemera from our library archives to celebrate the Assembly Rooms’ history and the reopening of this magnificent Georgian building. We’ve found some wonderfully evocative programmes for music recitals and even a collection of beautifully illustrated ball dance tickets dating from the 1830s and 1840s and they’re all available to view in our special Assembly Rooms exhibition.

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