A Bold Choice, 1903

At Halloween 1903, a huge Fancy Dress Ball was held for Central Scotland’s gentlewomen in St Andrew’s Hall in Glasgow. Amongst the 600 guests and their partners was Miss Scott Nelson of Blantyre Farm.

Now, this was a grand ball, with costumes to “out do” others. Great expense was entered into to ensure the best costumes were paraded. Amongst some of the fine costumes was ‘Night”, a black velvet robe adorned with bright stars. Cleopatra also delighted and the descriptions of others attending described the wonderful satins, silks and complimentary jewellery.

This was a fun evening, a charitable evening for all. Miss Scott Nelson went in an old dress passed down in her family which had been worn by Lily Muirhead of Bredisholm when she married James Hamilton of Blantyreferme in 1697.

The gown attracted attention for it was 206 years old and although beautiful, did not fit well with the trends of 1903 where fashions for young women covered up most exposed skin! This bold young Blantyre lady, breaking with traditions of the day was actually the niece of the great, great, grandson of the original wearer.

Having been passed down for 2 centuries, there is good reason to belief that trend continued, if the material survived. If this dress still exists today stored carefully somewhere by descendants of that family, it would now be 326 years old!

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