Scottish Masonic Quadrille Association

Submitted by jill on Sat, 03/13/2021 - 01:17

The Calico Ball held by the Scottish Masonic Quadrille Association on 3rd April 1907 was the final of the Association’s monthly dances and was reported in all the newspapers. Miss Olson, (Nellie), the youngest and only unmarried daughter of my great-grandfather, John Olson, took part dressed as a “Spanish dancer”. I imagine this interestingly named Association was linked to the Lodge of St. John, founded in about 1880 and which was the first Scottish lodge in Hong Kong, despite, in Patricia Lim’s words, “a marked absence of Scotsmen among their ranks.” She writes that the German tavern owner, Louis Kirchmann was elected to the post of director of ceremonies in 1881, while another German tavern owner became a steward. As Kirchmann and Olson (both ex-tavern owners) were such close friends that they bought houses next to each other, it is likely that the Olson family were invited to many of the events from the 1880s onwards. Mr. J.J. Blake,, who was indeed a Scot, was the Secretary and organiser of the ball. The Blakes, Olsons and Warrens appear together in various contexts, but my grandfather, Charles Warren, who married John Olson’s eldest daughter, Hannah, would not, as a Catholic convert, have been eligible to become a freemason. No Warrens are named among the guests. The Scottish Masonic Quadrille Association is an interesting example of a British institution offering entertainment at which a member of an Eurasian, not to say "foreign" family felt welcome in the Hong Kong of that period.