A staple of the London social season for centuries, the Royal Caledonian Ball remains a much anticipated gathering of Scots south of the border. The Ball has been held almost annually since the early 1800s, with cancellations only occurring because of events beyond the committee’s control - including two world wars and the death of King Edward VII. It must by now have a good chance of ranking as the oldest charity ball in the world.
From 1930 the ball has been held at Grosvenor House, which has the largest ballroom in London and is capable of dealing with the hundreds of Scots who descend on the capital to reel the night away. Records show that numbers reached around 2000 in previous years; a figure which is unlikely to be repeated due to modern fire regulations! Still, it is not uncommon to find three generations on the dance floor at once, especially since the custom allowing children - accompanied by their nannies - to watch the set reel from the Balcony was revived. It is always a delight to see a row of eager faces watching their parents dancing in the Great Room below.
The Ball will return to Grosvenor House on Friday May 1st, 2020.
“That unique social event, the Royal Caledonian Ball, familiar not only to Scots in London, but to Scots everywhere as a sign and symbol of Scottish tradition…” – the Scotsman, 1950