I’m very fond of Lauderdale House, it has a really homely feel and human scale to it and I can really imagine it as a busy and happy home. That’s probably why many people choose it as their wedding venue and I am sure it is going to be wonderful when the current renovations are complete later this year. I was intrigued to find mention of the house as a great place for young people to meet – in 1884 (Episodes of my Second Life by A Gallenga). What did the mean?
An engraving of Lauderdale House circa 1872
It seems that a rather dry sounding, retired Unitarian minister , Mr. James Yarrow, an ”amiable elderly gentleman, and a rusty old scholar, who had devoted the latter end of his life to the compilation of a work on The Art of Weaving amongst the Ancients, a ponderous work crammed with Greek, Latin and Hebrew quotations,” had a lovely youngish wife who liked to fill the house with fun and laughter. She made herself the centre of a social circle, where she delighted in bringing together the young of both sexes, trusting to the instincts of natural selection, and the power of music, dancing and champagne suppers for results in which she declared she neither ‘marred nor made.’ In spite of all disclaimers, the house at Highgate was immensely popular as a matrimonial mart of the most honourable description.” She sounds like a very sensible woman – dinner, dancing and supper remain a popular route to romance.