Regency England's arbiters of taste and fashion ruled at Almack's, London's premier place to see and be seen.
Almack's Assembly Rooms
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
There, for a subscription fee of 10 guineas, the fashionable men and women of London could attend a weekly Wednesday night ball with supper during the 3 months that comprised the London social season ("The Season").
The subscription fee was certainly low enough for those aspiring to be considered amongst the ton, but there were hurdles other than financial for admission to the assembly rooms.
Any prospective member would have to face the Patronesses of Almack's, those doughty ladies whose verdict could make or break the social standing of aspiring debutantes with a single word.
For it was as the curtain raiser for society debutantes that Almack's was famous. Young ladies who would choose among the finest eligible bachelors in London for prospective husbands were nervously presented to the committee of Almack's for acceptance or (horrors!) rejection.
They were not easily swayed by social rank or money, either. The Duke of Wellington was once famously turned away from the doors because he was guilty of the double solecism of arriving 7 minutes late and wearing trousers rather than knee-breeches.
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This Day in British History
06 March, 1340
Birth of John of Gaunt
Gaunt (from Ghent, in modern Belgium) was the 1st Duke of Lancaster, 3rd son of Edward III and regent for the young Richard II