The History of Leith

June 10, 2012

The SPENDTHRIFT CLUB

The SPENDTHRIFT CLUB, was so called in ridicule
of the very moderate indulgence of its members,
whose expenses were limited to fourpence-halfpenny
each night, yet all of them were wealthy or
well-to-do citizens, many of whom usually met after
forenoon church at the Royal Exchange for a walk
in the country—their plan being to walk in the
direction from whence the wind blew and thus
avoid the smoke of the city. “In 1824,” says
Chambers, ” in the recollection of the senior members,
some of whom were of fifty years’ standing,
the house (of meeting) was kept by the widow of a
Lieutenant Hamilton of the army, who recollected
having attended the theatre in the Tennis Court at
Holyrood when the play was the ‘ Spanish Friar,’
and many of the members of the Union Parliament
were present in the house.”
The meetings of this club were nightly, till reduced
to four weekly. Whist was played for a
halfpenny. Supper originally cost only twopence,
and half a bottle of strong ale, with a dram, cost
twopence-halfpenny more; a halfpenny to the
servant-maid, was a total of fivepence for a night of
jollity and good fellowship.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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