Edinburgh World Heritage

Assembly Rooms - A regular customer

Love can sometimes appear in the most unlikely places.

Whilst training in home economics at Atholl Crescent’s Edinburgh College of Domestic Science, Elisabeth Cormie and a group of her fellow students were asked if they wanted a summer job waitressing at the exclusive Festival Club, then situated in the Music Hall of the Assembly Rooms. Elisabeth explains:

“When I was [at Athol Crescent] the Festival Club was held here [at the Assembly Rooms] and it was a very exclusive sort of thing and you had to be a paid member…perhaps five or six pounds, in the 1950s it was quite a lot of money.”

On her first day on shift, Elisabeth recalls how the manageress explained what regular customers her and her fellow co-workers should expect at her new job. It was stressed that they should be on their best behaviour as the Festival Club was a prestigious organization, attracting the well-to-do of Edinburgh society.

The city architect and the lord provost were just a few of the Festival Club’s customers, another was a young man named Alastair.Elisabeth recalls the manageress explaining that “There is a student called Alastair who always comes and he likes music, but doesn’t have much money so he only orders biscuits and cheese…. Sure enough on the second day the said Alastair showed up and he came every day and eventually he asked me if I wanted to go to a concert and to cut a long story short, I married him.”

After casual chat, Alastair asked Elisabeth out on a date where they went to a classical music concert and fifty years later they are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. So as your waiting for your food and appreciating the magnificent space around you, know that love is always just around the corner.


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