Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Tales of the Month

Monthly tales from the city's archives

Jul 26, 2012

This month the extensively refurbished Assembly Rooms in George Street reopened. Now restyled to cater for 21st century entertainments, it is interesting to look back to its use over two centuries ago.

On 29 July 1809 a magnificent banquet was held in the Assembly Rooms to commemorate the birthday of the politician William Pitt the Younger, who had died two years before. He is known as 'the Younger' to distinguish him from his father, William, who had also previously served as Prime Minister.

In 1783, at the age of twenty four, Pitt had become Britain’s youngest ever Prime Minister. Thereafter he led the British government through the period of the French revolutionary wars and for the early part of the Napoleonic wars.  He remained Prime Minister until 1801 and again from 1804 until his death in 1806.

This posthumous celebration of his birthday proved to be very popular. So many guests attended that the large adjoining tea-rooms also had to be used. As a result the Duke of Buccleuch presided in one room and the Duke of Atholl in the other.

Clearly he was a much revered politician. It is hard to imagine such a sell out for any comparable event in this century.

EWH are grateful for permission to use this extract from “The Edinburgh Book of Days” by Michael T.R.B. Turnbull, published by The History Press.
http://bit.ly/nxNKIh (www.thehistorypress.co.uk)

More tales from Edinburgh’s archives will appear in August.

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