Saturday, January 13, 2007

Drag Ball in London, 1879

Under the headline “An extraordinary ball — men dressed as women,” the cutting [from a local East End newspaper of 1879] tells of a dance held in the Zetland Hall in Mansell Street on the evening of Friday 25 April. Three detectives attended the event and witnessed “some sixty or seventy per­sons dancing… Although quite half of the dancers were in female attire, the officers soon discovered that there were not half-a-dozen women in the place, the supposed females being merely men dressed up in women’s clothes.” It continued: “These, how­ever, danced together, kissed each other and behaved in any­thing but an orderly manner.” Needless to say, the dance organiser, Adolph Voizanger, was fined £20 and costs or, in default, threatened with two months’ hard labour. However, the newspaper was keen to point out that the police were sticklers for thor­ough research: “The officers stayed at the hall from about ten pm on the Friday night until four the next morning”

Source: Pink Paper, 6th February 1998

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