Richmond Lodge and the Gymnasium of Romance . . .

In 1966, "School Formals" were usually held on school premises and pupils attended "unaccompanied".  Richmond Lodge, now part of Victoria College, had followed the tradition of inviting prefects from other schools in and around Belfast.

Two "sixth formers" met at the Richmond Lodge School Formal which was held in the then newly-built gymnasium on Friday 2 December 1966.  

Elizabeth Crowe was a prefect at Belfast High School.  Arthur Acheson was only eligible because Richmond needed to match up the numbers and invited Campbell to "send us some boys!"

After meeting on the dance floor at around ten o'clock and spending the rest of the evening together, Arthur asked Elizabeth if he could drive her home;  he had recently passed his driving test and had borrowed his mother's "two tone blue" Ford Anglia (now better known as the enchanted car in the Harry Potter stories).  Elizabeth declined as her father was collecting her. Not discouraged, Arthur remembered that he had been asked to a friend's party in Comber the following Saturday;  he was quick to invite Elizabeth and was thrilled when she accepted. They have been together ever since.

Both studied at Queen's University (Elizabeth graduated in English and History and Arthur in Architecture).  The couple married in December 1971 and have enjoyed many happy years together.  They lived in Australia and Canada and returned to Northern Ireland to bring up their three sons.  Elizabeth came back to teach in Richmond Lodge and Victoria College before moving to Glenlola Collegiate in Bangor in 1994.  The boys of course attended..... Campbell College.

On Friday 2 December 2016, exactly fifty years after they met in Richmond Lodge, Elizabeth and Arthur Acheson recreated the School Formal as the theme of a charity evening hosted by their dancing class, the Cassidy School of Dancing.

Elizabeth and Arthur agreed after the evening:

 

"Celebrating fifty years since we met, on exactly the same day and date, in the very same room, in a "School Formal" setting, while being able to raise some money for charity, made for a magical evening. Fifty dancers from the Cassidy Dance School joined in the occasion and we are indebted to the Victoria College Principal, Mrs Slevin, and Head of Estates, Mr Beattie, for the very special way that we were welcomed back after half a century.

 

We are delighted to present the entire amount of the funds raised on the occasion, £660, to Victoria College's nominated charity, Action Cancer."

 

Posted on December 13, 2016 and filed under Charity.