Stepping back in time…

Welcome to One Last Dance, the University of Edinburgh’s Library and Special Collections blog showcasing our Festival of Museums events.

During the weekend events (May 16-18, 2014) we will be recreating the feel of life in Edinburgh during the 1940s with a series of events inspired by the history of St Cecilia’s Hall, which was The Excelsior Ballroom at the time.  The events will encompass many of our museum collections and will offer a unique opportunity to engage with the University in a new way.

Join us in some of our exciting events that range from a workshop on the explosion of popular printing during the era to the hair and make-up styles from the 1940s; from a “make-do-and-mend” vintage sale to a “victory kitchen” tea party; hear about advancements in medicine and find out how electrifying instruments changed the course of popular music forever.  Finally, put on your dancing shoes and step back in time at our Saturday evening dance where St Cecilia’s Hall will be returned to the glory of the Excelsior Ballroom for one last dance. 



  1. As a 40’s undergraduate I can tell you that very few students could jive. Most of us had ballroom dance instruction and exercised our talents on a Saturday night at the crowded Union Palais (UP). There was barely room on the dance floor for anything more than a shuffle, and even that could only be undertaken after a visit to the bar.

      1. I did go to a commercial dance hall once or twice, but it was such a dismal experience compared with the UP that it was quite unappealing. Indeed the UP was the high point of the week for many of us and rounded off a Saturday that really started on the rugger field, followed by a session of singing and drinking (beer 10P a pint) before the migration up to the dance floor. Indeed, it was after such a night which involved entertaining the Welsh International rugger team that had lost earlier that day to Scotland that I plugged up enough courage to ask a Ph.D. student called Pam to marry me. We are currently in our 59th year of that marriage.

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