Prior Attire Victorian Ball, Bath 06/05/2017

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And what an amazing weekend it was! The ball was a huge success, and we all had a lovely time indeed.

This was our 3rd ball in Bath Assembly room, and the most attended by far – 130 people, with the tickets selling out 4 months before. It is amazing to see an event growing from just a small affair to a full blown ball with fringe activities, with so many people participating. And since many of them are regular ball goers the atmosphere is of friendship ad ease, with lots of lovely folk to chat to and dance with.

But let us start from the beginning.IMG_1063

We arrived on Friday night, unpacked and prepared  our stuff for the following day.

a big wardrobe was needed….

After a light breakfast at a local pattisserie, more organisational stuff was being dealt with, while no doubt  some folks were still furiously stitching ( or so I have heard  that our ladies from the Victoriana group,  who got shared accommodation organised by  very efficient Suzy Hudson, were still stitching relentlessly!)

Then a visit to Eleanor for a light lunch and shopping – as usual, Sherri from the Farthingale Historical Hats came round to the Circus apartment with her wares, so all the guests were browsing and getting last minute purchases sorted – fans,  gloves, bling, parasols etc.

followed by beautifully presented food! yum!

And to burn it all off,   some activity was required – luckily were were about to get to the dance practice,

Stuart Marsden, our charismatic dance maser, guided us through the more complex figures of the evening –  the dances are rather easy to follow, but some familiarity does help to enjoy them much more! about 100 people booked the workshop, and many turned out in lovely Victorian kit already – including me! I have, unexpectedly, finished my ball gown a day early – so decided to do a day bodice to go with the skirt for the dance practice 🙂

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some action….

 

After all that prancing about  we had just enough time for a short nap, snack, coffee and  getting ready.

By the time first guests arrived, I had already   got all the logistic stuff sorted with the staff at the venue, Lucas had his photography corner set up and I was ready to greet out guests.

It was a bit cold standing at the door for an hour, but it was worth it – apart form checking the credentials, it was really good to actually meet people,  match the faces to the names, have a quick chat with the regulars etc. Some guests were very familiar…… like Zack from Pinsent Tailoring🙂

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After the first drinks , photo sessions and generic chat it was time to  start, traditionally ow, with a polonaise. The Ballroom was full-  we were at maximum capacity ( although the specification says 300 people, 130 in  big skirts  is more than enough – we won’t be  changing that for next year, better to have fewer folks but quality, and some space to dance than crowds packed like sardines!

This year, Queen Victoria was in attendance….

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Waltzes, quadrilles, polkas and country dances followed…

with time to drink, pose for photos and chat in between

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The break was a welcome rest – and the food as always , magnificent – provided by amazing Searcy’s

Then it was time for more dancing…and my favourite Waltz Cotillion! The musicians, our amazing Alexis Bennett and the Liberty Belles were, s always , superb!

 

All too soon, it was time to say goodbye –  and indeed the folks enjoyed it so much, it was tricky to get everybody out of the building by midnight – but the  venue staff  were  patient and understanding and gently steered groups of  dashing gents and rosy cheeked ladies  towards the exit…

Below, a few favorites of the portraits taken by Timelight Photographic. I must admit I was, yet again, amazed at the quality of the outfits!

 

I was pretty pleased with my own 1874 frock ( this year’s theme was the First Bustle period)

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It is worth noting that the guests came from not only all over the UK, but also from the USA, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Finland and Poland! very exciting to hear so many different languages 🙂

Having made sure all the guests are safely out and our staff packing, and venue staff happy , securing the venue for the night, we were back to the hotel – for a quick after party…. not a long one – we were all exhausted…

Next day saw us at the usual spot – The Pump Rooms for breakfast. there were about 40 of us all dressed up for a formal breakfast… we needed that breakfast….

and all the ladies above were sporting the dresses I made 🙂 so good to see them living an exciting life!

More photos were taken….

a short cat fight   over Zack…

Breakfast Victorian Style (13)

breakfast over, we were ready for our next adventure. People were going for walks, picnics, carriage rides etc – but we have booked some fun on the river.

So  it was onward to  Bath Boating station for us…

Victorian Boating Trip (2)

WE got ourselves 2 rowing punts and rowed up upstream for a couple of miles, to a pub.

The weather was perfect – sunny, but not too hot, not too cold either!

We had a little picnic at the pub… …lots of laughs…. some wistfulness, some Pimms, some lemonade….

Then it was time to row back – this time ladies rowed too…. both me and Naomi participated – and our clothes survived with just minimum degree of sprinkling….

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On the way back more photos were taken… Bath is full of interesting places so it would have been a crime to pass them by undocumented!

 

Victorian Boating Trip (69)

and back to hotel to pack…. urgh……

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Altogether – an unforgettable weekend.  And apparently not only for me – the tickets for the next ball, April 2018 are already on sale, and already 50% is gone  in the first 2 weeks – i take it as a good sign that others enjoyed the ball too!

 

Next years ball’s theme is  Natural Form ( 1877-1882), so ruffles, big trains and fitted bodices galore. For fringe activities we are planning more picnics, maybe  archery  – and maybe more water fun – boating was amazing!

 

You can find the information here

Thank you to all of the amazing people who traveled from near and far to take part – hopefully see you next year!

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7 thoughts on “Prior Attire Victorian Ball, Bath 06/05/2017

  1. What a glorious assemblage! And I must applaud you for making it a point to limit the number of tickets sold; I’ve been to so many balls in pretty historic buildings (over here in the good old Mid-Atlantic US of A, but there are still some nice ones) that I would have enjoyed a lot more if there was any room to dance! Wish more organizers would learn that a modern fire marshal’s limit doesn’t really apply to ladies in big skirts + room needed to dance. Grumble.

  2. Hi! This is unrelated but your site has been really helpful as I make my own Truly Victorian chemise! I was just wondering how to adjust the chemise pattern to be off the shoulder. I just ran out of eyelet lace and was wondering if you needed the eyelet lace and string to tighten and loosen the top for it to be off the shoulder or if it could be off the shoulder without it? If it can, how? Thank you so much!

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