The History of Leith

June 10, 2012

The CAPE CLUB

Of the CAPE CLUB, which was established on
the 15th of March, 1733, and of which Fergusson
the poet and Runciman the painter were afterwards
members, an account will be found in Vol. I.,
which, however, omitted to give the origin of the
name of that long-existing and merry fraternity,
.and which was founded on an old, but rather weak,
Edinburgh joke of the period.
Some well-known burgess of the Gallon who was
in the habit of spending the evening hours with
friends in the city, till after the ten o’clock drum
had been beaten and the Netherbow Port was
•shut, to obtain egress was under the necessity of
bribing the porter there, or remaining within the
•walls all night. On leaving the gate he had to
turn acutely to the left to proceed down Leith
Wynd, which this facetious toper termed ” doubling
the Cape.” Eventually it became a standing joke
in the small circle of Edinburgh then, “and the
Cape Club owned a regular institution from 1763,”
says Chambers, but its sixty-fiftrfe anniversary is
announced in the Herald of 1798, for the 15th of
March as given above.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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